Archive for Irresponsible Rumormongering

ryan mcdonagh

Over the next two weeks, we are going to see Ryan McDonagh’s name linked to about every team imaginable. The Oilers could use him. The Coyotes could use him. The Islanders could use him. Basically every team in the league could use him. He’s a 28-year old top-pairing defenseman with a year and a half on his deal at a cheap cap hit ($4.7 million).

The latest string of chatter has him as a target for the Boston Bruins. Not surprising. They are making a run and it appears to be an arms race between them, the Lightning, and the Leafs. All three could use his services. All three have at least in part been linked to him. An in-division bidding war certainly bodes well for the Blueshirts.

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All eyes are on Jeff Gorton. Rick Nash is all but gone, having submitted his no-trade list. There’s considerable interest in both Michael Grabner and (yes) Nick Holden. Ryan McDonagh is already gathering interest from Tampa and other teams. With Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta already in Arizona for Tony DeAngelo and the pick that turned into Lias Andersson, the rebuild isn’t coming, it’s already in motion.

This is the one chance Gorton will get to make the team completely his. He took the reins in 2015, but there was still a sense that the team wasn’t fully his. It wasn’t until the complete remake of the forwards that we got the sense he had full control. But it wasn’t entirely his team. There were still remnants of moves by Glen Sather that Gorton couldn’t shake.

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BSB Round Table – Trade Deadline desires

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It’s trade deadline season, which means a couple of things around Rangerstown, some new and some old. What’s new is that the Rangers, for the first time really in the Henrik Lundqvist era, are set to be major sellers with an eye towards the future (I’m not really counting the Gaborik/Brassard deal because it turned out that Brass and co. were quite the additions). Not so new is what’s fun about this time of year: daydreaming of trades that will likely never come to be and convincing yourself with each passing day that actually they will.

With that in mind, I did a super annoying thing and resurrected an months-old staff email thread on a completely different topic and asked two open-ended questions – who is your dream deadline trade partner, and who do the Rangers end up wrangling away from them? This week we’re doing Ryan McDonagh, but, unless the Rangers steal our thunder by making an actual trade, we’ll hopefully have more for you coming from other angles as well.

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rick nash

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Newsday

Trade deadline season is heating up. Bob McKenzie and Larry Brooks are reporting that the Rangers have asked Rick Nash for his 18 team no trade list, leaving 13 teams he can be traded to. Brooks also mentioned that all Canadian teams are likely to be on his list, so we can rule out any Winnipeg or Toronto rumors.

I can see Nash as a good fit in Nashville, if just for the puns. Nash will get a good amount at the deadline, especially since the Rangers are more than likely to retain 50% of his $7.8 million salary. Nash will likely be the first domino to fall for the Rangers, especially if they are already asking for his list. Nash is just waiting to know, at this point.

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Checking in on the Tampa smoke

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ryan mcdonagh

Over the weekend, Rangers world lit up with news that the Blueshirts were talking to Tampa Bay about a deal, potentially involving Ryan McDonagh. It was a rumor that came from Elliotte Friedman, which had more fuel added to it when it came to light that Chris Drury was in Syracuse scouting Tampa’s AHL team, the Crunch.

Someone else on the broadcast (I’m drawing a blank here, sorry) mentioned that the Bolts might try to dangle Tyler Johnson in this type of deal. That makes little sense for the Rangers, as they already have Mika Zibanejad and Kevin Hayes with solid center roles, and have Filip Chytil and Lias Andersson on the way. Plus, why would the Blueshirts take on Johnson’s six (!!) remaining years at $5 million, with a full no-trade kicking in next season? The kicker is that Johnson is already oft-injured.  No, the Blueshirts would want something totally different from the Bolts.

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Trading Lundqvist is a fool’s errand

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Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

With the possibility of the Rangers selling for the first time in forever coming more acutely possible, the focus from the fan base has understandably turned to hypothetical returns for the teams’ more attractive trade chips.  Naturally, the logical discussions (many of which have been examined in this space) involve Ryan McDonagh, Rick Nash, Michael Grabner and Mats Zuccarello.  One target that a fairly vocal minority of the fan base has consistently brough up has been, oddly enough, Henrik Lundqvist.

Now, the reasons why Hank’s detractors (or trade advocates) feel moving the King would be a prudent move aren’t all that far-fetched.  He takes up a significant amount of cap space.  His overall performance has delayed a (probably necessary) rebuild longer than it should have taken.  The organization clearly wants to win as long as they have a generational talent on the roster, etc., etc.  These are valid opinions.

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There are no half measures in selling

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mats zuccarello

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Newsday

As soon as the rumors hit about the Rangers selling, names started flying. Ryan McDonagh. Mats Zuccarello. Rick Nash. Michael Grabner. Nick Holden. Henrik Lundqvist. Every name on the roster was mentioned, as a full gutting of the team was being envisioned by many.

Let’s be real for a moment. I doubt Hank is getting traded. Which means if the Rangers are truly punting this season, they are going to gear up for next season and the season after as a last ditch effort to get Hank a Cup. In the event of a full tear down, the Rangers likely wouldn’t be ready for a Cup run for 3-4 years, especially if they are content with getting picks and not NHL ready players.

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When the Rangers signed Michael Grabner to a two-year deal two summers ago, it seemed like a deal designed for the expansion draft. Grabner certainly had a unique skill set and some value, but was never going to be relied upon to be the team’s leading goal scorer. However he’s done just that for the Blueshirts. He led the team with 27 goals last year, and is far and away the leading goal scorer this year with 21. He’s on pace for a 30 goal season.

A revitalized career in New York has done wonders for Grabner, who will certainly cash in on his back-to-back 25+ goal seasons. He won’t fetch a McDonagh return, but there is a good case to make that he could bring back a nice haul. After all, teams always need speed and goal scoring, and are willing to pay handsomely at the deadline.

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Where do we go from here?

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jeff gorton

Over the past week, we here at BSB have torn into the Rangers organization. While most of our critiques in the past have included some form of hockey-based analysis to draw our conclusions, be it systems, stats, eye test, whatever, the past week was more subjective than objective. It was a good old fashioned venting session.

The plan for the week didn’t start that way. After all, we did correctly read the Rangers’ moves that they will be sellers. That was written last Sunday and published the following day. But by that time, the events of the week had really settled in. The Kevin Shattenkirk injury and news of how the Rangers handled it was first. Then came the tone deaf Ron Duguay comments. Then came some in-game decisions that were truly baffling. Add that all to a season that has seemed to lack direction, and we all just needed a good ole fashioned venting week.

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The Rangers made a flurry of moves on Friday morning, which came in response to Kevin Shattenkirk’s injury and Michael Grabner’s illness. Tony DeAngelo was called up and will likely be in New York until –at the very least– Shattenkirk returns. Daniel Catenacci will likely only be with the club through the west coast road trip.

There was one other move that flew under the radar. It was the Rangers assigning Lias Andersson to Hartford, following his recovery from a shoulder injury suffered in the World Juniors. Andersson was sent back to Frolunda in Sweden after training camp, so the move, while not surprising at the time, wasn’t expected in October.

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