Per Adrian Dater, the Rangers have called about center Paul Stastny, who is set to be a UFA. We covered Stastny and his fit in New York, but the biggest issue here will be money. Some crazy team might give him a truckload of money, and the Rangers don’t really have the space to handle more than $6 million. It’s doable at his current salary of $6.6 million, but it would leave the Rangers with very little wiggle room.
Since this is the first year with the “negotiating” period, expect to see a lot of snippets like this. Glen Sather is doing his homework and his job, but just because he calls about someone doesn’t mean he will sign that guy.
Per Katie Strang, the Rangers are one of multiple teams who have shown interest in defenseman Dan Boyle. Boyle –a right-handed shot– is coming off a 12-goal, 36-point season with the Sharks, where he spent the last six seasons. What we know about Boyle is that he is an offensive defenseman that excels on the powerplay, and could probably serve as a powerplay QB for the Rangers on the short term. What we also know is that he is 38 years old and would be a risk on a multi-year deal. It’s why the Isles passed after acquiring his negotiating rights from San Jose.
Boyle would certainly slot it nicely if Anton Stralman leaves, but the questions around his foot speed and his ability to keep up with faster forwards would need to be addressed. He’s not a tire fire in his own zone or from a possession standpoint, but speed is the game now, and speed is Alain Vigneault’s system. Plus, he might cost a pretty penny.
New York’s top two offseason needs are a No. 1 center and an offensive defenseman. There’s not much denying that, but sometimes there just aren’t players available to fulfill those needs, and sometimes the cost of doing so makes for unwise decisions.
With Andrei Markov now off the market, the lone offensive-minded blueliner of note that’s set to hit free agency next week is Matt Niskanen, who’s sure to be overpaid based on one standout season. There doesn’t seem to be a solution on the trade market either, so the Rangers seem be out of luck.
On the other hand, there is a bevy of top-line centers available, including Paul Stastny, Jason Spezza and Joe Thornton. Unfortunately, only Stastny can be had for money alone, and the contract he’s about to receive will be massive for yet another center that’s best served as a No. 2 (sound familiar Rangers fans?). Stastny is poised to cash in on a monster playoff year, but he’s had injury problems and is coming off his first 60-point season since 2009-2010. He is best served as a secondary option, so the funds and term required to land him would create a Brad Richards problem all over again.
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Per Larry Brooks, the Rangers are looking to lock up Anton Stralman for around $4 million for three or four years. This is up from the three-year, $9 million deal that Stralman supposedly rejected in March. We’ve spent some time determining Stralman’s market value and discussing his market value versus perceived value, but the general consensus is that Stralman will get a lot of money this offseason. He’s one of the better UFA defensemen in the market, and as a right-handed shot, he’s a commodity.
Per Craig Custance, there is a sincere effort by the Rangers to keep winger Benoit Pouliot. Pouliot was a great fit in New York, finding chemistry with Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello after a rough start to the season. Pouliot went just 2-2-4 in the first two months of the season (27 games) before finishing up the year with a line of 13-19-32 in the remaining 53 games. Considering Pouliot signed a one-year, $1.3 million deal, he was one of the best bargains in the NHL.
Probably not coming to New York.
About a week ago, rumors broke that Joe Thornton would waive his no-trade clause if fans in San Jose wanted him out. As soon as that news broke, people instantly began linking him to the Rangers because of past connections with Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis.
It’s the offseason, so we are going to get a lot of “rumors” like this. I put rumors in quotes because right now this is baseless speculation. It’s one reporter saying Thornton might want to go to New York because he has friends from the Olympics there. The problem is that, while Thornton does fill a need for the Rangers, there’s no viable way to get him to New York.
There are really two trade situations for Thornton: A deal that helps the Sharks retool their farm system or a deal that helps them for the immediate future.
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Per Larry Brooks, the Rangers will use their final compliance buyout on center Brad Richards:
It is a fait accompli that Brad Richards has worn the Blueshirt for the final time. It is only a matter of timing as to when management exercises its final amnesty buyout on the team’s de-facto captain, whose tenure over three years added class and a substantial presence to the organization. Richards will leave the Rangers in a far better place than when he joined them. His contract has paid for itself.
This isn’t really surprising news, as it has been widely speculated that the Rangers will use their final compliance buyout on Richards for over a year. It isn’t a matter of performance or leadership, it’s simply risk management. The cap recapture penalty is far too great for the Rangers to risk keeping Richards around. This isn’t confirmed yet, so anything can happen.
Per Pat Leonard, the Rangers and forward Benoit Pouliot have mutual interest in a contract extension that would keep the forward in New York. Signed as a UFA to a one-year, $1.3 million deal, Pouliot has been a pleasant surprise for the Rangers. Clicking on the “third” line with Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello, Pouliot has a line of 15-21-36 in 79 games. That line becomes more impressive when you remember that in the first 27 games (through the end of November) Pouliot was pretty bad, putting up just two goals and two assists while fans tried to figure out what was wrong with him.
Since then, Pouliot has put up a line of 13-19-32 in 52 games, far more impressive. His point total (36) and assist total (21) are both career highs. His 15 goals is 1 shy of his career high. Suffice it to say, Pouliot was worth his weight in gold this season, and was one of the better UFA signings the Rangers have had recently.
It’s deadline time
With the trade deadline approaching fast, the standings around the league have changed, and new sellers at the deadline have emerged. We previously went through this exercise before the Olympics roster freeze, where we identified five sellers (Buffalo, Islanders, Florida, Calgary, Edmonton) and two “likely” sellers (Winnipeg, Nashville). Now, we have more teams that will have a difficult time leapfrogging the necessary teams to make the playoffs.
Using Sports Club Stats, we have a quantifiable number we can use as a cut-off for teams that might make the playoffs. In addition to the seven teams noted above (check out the previous post for details), we have six teams that now fall under the 50% threshold we are using (arbitrary number picked for the sake of the post). These teams –naturally– have less than a 50% chance of making the playoffs, and thus should (note: SHOULD) be sellers at the deadline.
Sellers are likely to deal their UFAs for prospects and/or picks to load up for the draft.
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Photo Credit: Ken Goldfield/NY Daily News
Oh boy I’ve been waiting to write this post. The news that Martin Brodeur has waived his no-trade clause likely means that the Devils are in “sell” mode, and that winger Jaromir Jagr –on a one-year deal worth $2 million– could be moved. Jagr’s history with the Rangers is very well noted, as he and Henrik Lundqvist brought the Rangers back into relevance in the NHL post-lockout.
Jagr is far and away the Devils’ top scorer this season with 19 goals and 52 points. The 42-year-old right winger has shown no signs of slowing down this season, and could likely provide some much-needed scoring to a team in need of adding a punch at the deadline. The best part about Jagr is that he likely comes cheaper than the bigger names (he’s a pure rental), and his salary can easily fit under the cap.
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