Per Larry Brooks, the Rangers may target ex-Devils Mark Fayne (27-year-old right-handed defenseman) and Ryan Carter (30-year-old left-handed center). It is assumed that Carter could feasibly replace the minutes played by the soon-to-be-departed Brian Boyle, and Fayne could replace the minutes played by the surely-to-receive-a-ridiculous-contract Anton Stralman.
Looking at Fayne first, compared to Stralman, there’s a noticeable difference in relative CF% and in quality of teammates. Fayne would more or less be a poor-man’s Stralman. The good thing is that Fayne is 6’3″ and 215 lbs, so he’s a big body that the Rangers could really use on the blue line. He can also move pretty well for a guy his size. That said, he’s not a bruiser. Here’s how he compares with Tom Gilbert, another potential poor-man’s Stralman.
As for Carter, we know him well from the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. He did pretty well in a mismatch against the Rangers fourth line. He’s got some speed, some nastiness, and some halfway decent size (6’1″, 200 lbs). He can chip in offensively too. Here’s how he compares to Boyle. For the fun of it, here’s how he compares to Boyle and Dominic Moore.
According to Norweigan reports, RFA winger Mats Zuccarello is more interested in staying with the Rangers and winning than he is with getting top dollar. Per the translated article, Zuccarello is looking for 3-4 years on his contract, but doesn’t want to hamstring the Rangers with his salary. Naturally talk is one thing, but if Zucc follows through and signs a team-friendly deal, then this helps the Rangers retool in an offseason where they will see significant turnover.
Per Darren Dreger, the Rangers will be among five teams that will submit a two-year offer for Dan Boyle. Submitting a multi-year offer for a 35+ player is incredibly risky, especially when it looked like Boyle lost a step this year with San Jose. The Rangers need to get some more physicality into their game, but not at the expense of speed. I’d be wary of this one at even strength, but Boyle can still put up points with the man advantage. He may need sheltered minutes though.
Apologies for the tardiness on this one, it was a gorgeous weekend and we spent it outside after the draft. But, in case you haven’t heard, Larry Brooks is reporting that the Rangers would like to keep Dominic Moore, but don’t want to pay him at his current demands. Moore is currently looking for a three-year deal at somewhere between $1.6 and $1.85 million, per Brooks. That’s Brian Boyle money, and since Boyle will be departing the Rangers for sure, there seems to be no reason why the Rangers wouldn’t keep Moore. He would be the only returning member of one of the best fourth lines in hockey, he is their prime penalty killer, and he can chip in offensively as well.
If this is a cap issue, and there may be a slight one for the Rangers at a $69 million cap, then so be it. It may also be a “kids” issue, as Jesper Fast and Oscar Lindberg appear ready to make the jump. Perhaps J.T. Miller is ready as well (less likely). Whatever the reason, the Rangers are looking at replacing their entire fourth line this offseason.
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.
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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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.
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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