Archive for Irresponsible Rumormongering


Dissecting the Jim Dolan interview

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henrik lundqvist

In case you missed it, Larry Brooks got a few good quotes from Rangers owner Jim Dolan last week. It took a little while to digest, or at least to not react and jump to uninformed conclusions. It’s certainly worth the read if you have the time.

First things first, Henrik Lundqvist was given the chance to leave and not see the rebuild through. He did not, want to leave, and Dolan had glowing praise for his franchise goaltender. There’s not much to dissect here, except that Dolan said Hank helps them contend for the playoffs next year. So….in a rebuild year, that’s something to keep an eye on.

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Yesterday, a rumor floated that the Rangers were one of five teams that contacted Slava Voynov in regards to a potential return to the NHL. If you recall, Voynov was banned by the NHL for beating his wife near death a few years ago. As usual, I have some thoughts.

1. First things first, Larry Brooks shot this down almost immediately. Arthur Staple shot it down for the Isles after that. Let’s call this what it is: Not a rumor. Not real.

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Tyler Seguin will be just 27 when he’s scheduled to become a UFA next July (Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

It’s nearly impossible to figure out what the roster might look like in August, let alone a year down the road. But for the first time in a while the Blueshirts have plenty of cap space and a world of possibilities in front of them.

A chunk of that pool might already be earmarked for Ilya Kovalchuk and it’s possible GM Jeff Gorton chases other big fish this summer. He also has a group of RFAs that will either get substantial raises or be shipped out of town.

Regardless – there’s flexibility. And that’s particularly interesting if you look ahead to next year’s crop of potential free agents.

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Rumor: Rangers to sign Ilya Kovalchuk

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ilya kovalchuk

Per Igor Eronko, the Rangers are set to sign Ilya Kovalchuk to a 2-3 year deal. This comes a little out of left field, as there was always chatter but nothing concrete regarding Kovalchuk and the Rangers. The soon-to-be 35 year old winger has played the last five years in the KHL after finding a way out of his disastrous contract in New Jersey.

Before going to the KHL, Kovalchuk was a legit sniper in the NHL, averaging a point a game with one of the more lethal wrist shots we’ve seen. He was a prime talent. At 35 he’s unlikely going to be that dominant, but there’s a chance he will still be useful. I hate the idea of a multi-year deal for a 35 year old though.

Also, what’s the point of this in a rebuild? If the Blueshirts were looking for a fast turnaround, then trading Ryan McDonagh was silly. The Rangers are trying to pull a Yankees, and that probably won’t go as well as it did in the Bronx. Unless the plan is to spin him at next year’s deadline, I’m not a fan.

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The calm before the storm

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Here we are, just six days from the trade deadline. The Rangers haven’t made any moves yet, but the rumors are abound. All signs point to Alain Vigneault being dismissed at some point between now and the draft. Ryan McDonagh resubmitted his list of teams he will accept a trade to. Rick Nash submitted his a while ago as well. Michael Grabner keeps scoring, and we keep going cha-ching. Nick Holden will even fetch something.

But for now, we wait. The Rangers are in no rush to make a move yet. The offers are coming in. Nash and Grabner keep scoring. Value keeps going up. Other trades –like the Kempny to Washington trade– are setting the market for others. Jeff Gorton, is (hopefully) surveying the lay of the land and not rushing to trades.

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rick nash

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Newsday

As the trade deadline approaches, the suitors for Rick Nash are going to grow. While that list grows, one team seems to be far ahead in their quest, and that is the Nashville Predators, at least according to Elliotte Friedman. The Preds are “all-in” on Nash, but as Friedman points out, they will need to be willing to part with even more young pieces –they’ve already dealt Sam Girard, Vladislav Kamenev, and a 2nd for Kyle Turris– to facilitate such a trade. They’ve benefited from strong drafts and development, so there is still a match here.

Nash is still a force on the ice, no matter what his detractors say. He consistently drives scoring opportunities and shot attempts on a team that otherwise can’t seem to generate anything consistently on offense. He plays in all three situations, and is one of the top penalty killing forwards out there. He’s a heady player who drives to the net and puts himself in positions to score. The two-way aspect of his game is just gravy at this point. He’s going to get a solid haul, especially if the Rangers retain salary (they will).

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filip chytil

When exploring the trade deadline possibilities, the Rangers should naturally be looking for the best deals available. In division trades shouldn’t matter too much if a team in the Metro can give the best package for a rental. But one thing that is potentially getting overlooked here is the looming expansion draft in 2020.

Seattle has officially begun the expansion process, submitting their bid to the NHL to be the 32nd, and hopefully final, NHL team. If/When that bid is accepted, the club will fork over $640 in expansion fees to the league’s 31 owners –something that won’t be shared with the players, which is just on them for terrible negotiating skills– and then the expansion draft process will begin. All signs point to the same process as with Vegas.

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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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