The lone item remaining on the Rangers to-do list this summer is getting RFA defenseman John Moore under contract for the season. Jeff Gorton, via USA Today, said he is “pretty sure” the Rangers will get him under contract before the season starts:
“We like John a lot, just trying to get him signed,” Gorton said. “I’m pretty sure we’ll get him signed, and get him ready to go. He’s a good player for us; he’s been a good fit for us, he’s a great kid, and we like his upside.”
Moore, 23, is coming off the best season of his young professional career, putting up 4-11-15 while playing half the year on his weak side with Michael Del Zotto. There was a noticeable improvement in his play when he moved back to the left side after the Del Zotto/Kevin Klein swap, but Moore has a long way to go. The club likely wants to get him on a bridge deal, and we have him pegged around $1.2 million.
Yesterday, Howard Bloom noted that the NHL was looking to expand to four cities: Las Vegas, Seattle, Quebec City, and Toronto (second team). This was not the NHL looking to move a franchise or two, but full-blown expansion to 34 teams by 2017. Las Vegas was actually confirmed by multiple sources, and it makes sense if you read between the lines of recent NHL moves (award ceremony). However, Renaud Lavoie quickly refuted that, citing Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. But what else is Daly supposed to say?
Adding four teams is a bit much, but I’ve been of the belief that expansion is coming sooner rather than later. If the NHL is really looking at these four cities, then it would make sense to move a struggling franchise or two (Florida comes to mind) and expanding to 32 teams instead of 34. No professional league has 34 teams, and while expansion would create a lot of jobs, it would severely water down the talent pool.
These are just rumors and conflicting reports for now, but we are going to see a change in the landscape relatively soon. Nothing is done yet, but where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
In case you missed it, the Rangers blog-o-sphere picked up a story from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune saying the Rangers had been speaking to Ryan Malone. Usually this is something we would post here, but the problem is that the article is from August 21, one day after the Rangers landed Kevin Hayes. The article also explicitly talks in the past tense:
Malone looked good and with his legal issues soon behind him from Tampa, one would think somebody signs him (Rangers have talked to him) or he attends a training camp on a tryout.
All it says is that they’ve spoken to him at some point, likely as a backup if they couldn’t land Hayes. The Rangers now have no use for Malone, especially with Hayes and Lee Stempniak under contract. Plus, Hayes puts them at 50 contracts, so even on a PTO, the club would need to make a trade in order to sign him. I’ll chalk this to outdated
Photo by Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images
Per Danny Picard, the Rangers got their man, signing BC forward Kevin Hayes to a two-year entry-level contract. Hayes, Chicago’s first round pick in 2010, chose not to sign with Chicago by the August 15 deadline, making him a free agent. Hayes cited that he wanted a chance to play immediately, and it was something Chicago could not offer due to a stacked roster.
The sweepstakes was rumored to be down to five teams on Monday, with the Rangers are among the five finalists for Kevin Hayes, via Picard of WEEI and Mark Divver of The Providence Journal. The Avs, Bruins, Predators, and Panthers were the other rumored teams. After three long days, Hayes chose New York.
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At midnight last night, forward Kevin Hayes –Chicago’s first round pick (#24) in 2010– officially became a free agent. Hayes cited Chicago’s depth at forward as the reason why he chose free agency. He wants to play right away, and Chicago appears to be set at forward this year. The Rangers have been linked to Hayes, as they love targeting NCAA graduates without homes. Hayes would be a solid addition to a bottom-of-the-league prospect pool, injecting the Rangers with another high-end skill player who put up 27 goals and 65 points last season with BC.
The problem is that the Rangers are at 49 contracts (including John Moore, not including Ryan Graves). The max number of contracts is 50, and signing Hayes would severely limit the Rangers in trade flexibility during the year. Of course there are ways around this (trading a contract), but it’s easier said than done.
The one major concern I have with Hayes is that he shot 20% this year, his final year with BC, while on a line with Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau put up 36-44-80 (!) in just 40 games last year, and seemed to be the catalyst on that line. Hayes’ previous career high before this year was 7-21-28. There’s also this whole “pooping in the stairwell” thing, but he was a drunk college kid, kids do stupid things. It happens.
Hayes could land in New York, and since he’s on an ELC, he is affordable and can fit under the cap. Landing him would be awesome, but I don’t think he comes to New York.
Photo: Edmonton Journal
Per Elliotte Friedman, the Rangers may have been a catalyst to the Flyers sending Shea Weber that now infamous offer sheet in 2012. The Nashville Predators were at a stand still with their star defenseman, and the Flyers swooped in and sent him an offer sheet for $110 million over 14 years. The interesting tidbit here is that Friedman states that Weber, who visited New York during his “super secret” tour of potential suitors, may have been Broadway bound via a trade. That news is what prompted the stunning offer from the Flyers.
All that is well in the past, but it’s August and there isn’t much to write about. So I had a little fun and started to piece together what the Rangers could have sent to Nashville in exchange for Weber. The deal from Philly came on July 19, 2012. The deal for Rick Nash came on July 24, 2012, so this predates the Nash trade. New York would make room for Weber’s cap hit (likely not in the $7.85 million range, but let’s say $7 million).
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Per Elliotte Friedman, there is a $600k gap for the Rangers on a new Chris Kreider contract. Kreider’s initial ask was $2.8 million per year, with the Rangers opening at $1.9 million (since upped to $2.2 million). I initially ballparked Kreider at two-years, $2 million +/- $250k. At this point I’d assume he gets a deal similar to Carl Hagelin ($2.25 million over two years).
Kreider is set to have his arbitration meeting on Wednesday. Per CBA guidelines, both sides must submit their contract terms 48 hours prior to the meeting.
Per Larry Brooks, the Rangers are targeting 2010 first round pick Kevin Hayes out of Boston College. Hayes may become a UFA if Chicago does not reach an agreement with the forward by August 15. Hayes is a big kid at 6’3″ and 205 lbs, and put up 27-38-65 in his final year with the Eagles, a whopping 40 point increase from his totals a year prior. In 2012, HP had this to say about Hayes:
The Good: Hayes is a pretty toolsy player. Aside from being 6’3”, he’s an above-average skater with notably above-average possession skills—he’s a very coordinated puck-handler with impressive vision. When he’s on his game, Hayes simply makes plays. For a player his size, Hayes’ offensive skills make him a very intriguing prospect.
The Bad: Hayes’ main concern is his consistency. His game to game effort wavers and he doesn’t play with a high level of energy. He could be a little more physical as well.
It’s worth noting that the Hawks might try to trade Hayes’ negotiating rights, much in the way Calgary traded Tim Erixon to the Rangers a few years back. Since Chicago would get a 2nd round pick as compensation for not signing Hayes, that is the minimum asking price in a trade.
Per Ryan Rishaug, the Rangers had interest in center Mike Ribeiro before he signed in Nashville yesterday. The Rangers are lacking center depth and Ribeiro likely would have slotted in at the 2C position. Per Rishaug, no state tax in Tennessee helped sway Ribeiro, who signed for $1.05 million for one year.
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.