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Category: Irresponsible Rumormongering

Lavoie: Pouliot generating interest, wants long-term deal

Per Renaud Lavoie, winger Benoit Pouliot is looking for a long-term deal and will likely get it. Ten teams have already contacted the winger. One of those teams is obviously the Rangers, as they are looking to keep Pouliot in New York. Pouliot was one of the best bargains in the NHL last year, finding chemistry with Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello to the tune of 13-19-32 in the season’s final 53 games.

Should the Rangers trade negotiating rights of Boyle / Stralman?

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

Based on the comments made by both Brian Boyle and Anton Stralman, it looks like both will be playing in different uniforms next season. Boyle has said he is looking for a bigger role –likely a third line role with less defensive zone starts– and won’t get that in New York. Stralman is looking for “security” for his family, which is code for “money and term.”

We haven’t heard much about the ongoing negotiations with Boyle’s camp, but the Stralman negotiations aren’t going so well. Stralman wants more money and –likely– years than the Rangers are willing to offer. Considering Nikita Nikitin’s absurd deal ($4.5 million for a marginal defenseman is indeed absurd), Stralman is likely getting at least that, and probably more, over a longer term. That’s too expensive for the Rangers.

With the draft just one day away, it makes you wonder if the Rangers should pursue trading their negotiating rights to recoup draft picks.

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Lavoie: Talks with Stralman not going well

Per Renaud Lavoie, talks between the Rangers and UFA defenseman Anton Stralman are not going as planned. The Rangers are allotting $4 million to Stralman, but it definitely seems that Stralman will get north of $4.5 million, probably closer to the $5 million that Andrew MacDonald got from Philadelphia. If AMac’s contract wasn’t enough proof, Nikita Nikitin got $4.5 million from Edmonton after trading for his rights. Nikitin, mind you, is nowhere near a $4.5 million defenseman, but that’s the market.

All signs point to Stralman getting an enormous contract elsewhere.

Dater: Rangers have called about Paul Stastny

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.

Strang: Rangers interested in Dan Boyle

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.

Potential UFA target: Mikhail Grabovski

Mikhail Grabovski is not a #1 center, but he could still help the Rangers

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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Brooks: Rangers allotting $4 million for Stralman

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.

Custance: Rangers trying to keep Pouliot

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.

Joe Thornton and New York an unlikely match

Probably not coming to New York.

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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Brooks: Rangers will use compliance buyout on Brad Richards

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.