Archive for Irresponsible Rumormongering

Jun
23

Trading Antti Raanta

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New York Post

After months of speculation, debate and general hand-wringing, we now know that it was Oscar Lindberg who ended up being poached off the Rangers’ roster by the Vegas Golden Knights.  Various options had been “sure things” since the off-season began.  Michael Grabner, Jesper Fast and of course Antti Raanta have been speculated to be joining a newest team in the desert.

It’s Raanta I want to discuss this morning.  The 28-year old Finn had a tremendous year as Henrik Lundqvist’s backup and many feel that he is an interesting trade chip, given the low cost options on the market and Benoit Allaire’s seeming ability to turn your average midtown commuter into a quality NHL backup.  Let’s dive a little deeper into market and trade comparables and see if Raanta is worth moving.

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Jun
21

Brooks: Antti Raanta remains a Ranger

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antti raanta henrik lundqvist

Per Larry Brooks, goalie Antti Raanta remains a Ranger for the time being. Brooks tweeted out that Raanta was not Vegas’ selection off the Rangers roster for expansion. It’s also widely believed that the Rangers did not strike a deal with Vegas either.

I believe the Rangers will lose a forward in the expansion draft, and I also firmly believe it will be Oscar Lindberg. However a thought did occur to me. I wonder if a young prospect goalie like Mackenzie Skapski intrigues Vegas. He can develop and take over for Marc-Andre Fleury. Could be a dark horse

But still, my money is on Lindberg (there are rumblings of this already).

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Brendan smith

Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

One of the under publicized storylines of the offseason is what the Rangers plan on doing with Brendan Smith. Smith, acquired at the trade deadline last season, was a solid if unspectacular player for the Rangers down the stretch. He was certainly one of the top three defensemen on the team, and was a rock in the playoffs.

Smith is an interesting player. As a UFA defenseman capable of playing the right side, he’s in high demand. But without a solid scoring line or a reputation as a “shut down defender,” his contributions are tough to measure using traditional methods. What we do know is that Smith is a solid skater who is good in his own end. He has good positioning and doesn’t leave people open in front to deliver a hit. He also doesn’t snow angel often.

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derek stepan

The news came fast yesterday. First came the front office moves. Then came the Matt Puempel extension. Then the Dan Girardi buyout. Then came the next bombshell, as Bob McKenzie noted that Derek Stepan’s name has been “prominent” in trade talks around the league. Now that doesn’t mean Stepan is going to get traded, but McKenzie is not “Rumor Break” or “Hockey Insiderrrrrrrrr” or “NHL Rumors Daily.” When McKenzie says it, it’s legitimate.

With the Girardi buyout, Kevin Klein’s potential retirement, and now the possibility of a Stepan trade, GM Jeff Gorton is making some serious moves to retool this team for a Cup run in Henrik Lundqvist’s window. The Girardi buyout and the Klein retirement save $5.8 million ($2.9 million each) on the cap. As for the Stepan trade, there are several ways Gorton can go, and each option is intriguing.

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Kevin Klein’s retirement would shave $2.9 million from the Rangers’ cap total

Larry Brooks dropped the first of potentially many bombshells yesterday with his report that Kevin Klein is leaning towards retirement from the NHL. Though Brooks cautioned that Klein’s mind is not made up, it sounds like New York might be gifted $2.9 million in cap space at a very opportune time.

Klein only has one year remaining on his pact, but with Rick Nash’s hefty $7.8 million cap hit coming off the books next summer, the Rangers are really only worried about a cap bind in the short term. CapFriendly currently projects New York’s 2017-2018 cap total at $63.8 million, but wiping Klein from the ledger would drop them to $60.9 million of the projected $73 million ceiling.

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kevin klein

Photo: Jim McIsaac (Newsday)

In the Unexpected News Of The Day department, Larry Brooks is reporting that defenseman Kevin Klein may actually be leaning towards retirement. Klein has been somewhat of a marvel in New York since arriving, playing solidly through the beginning of this season, and surpassing career highs in points. He earned a reputation for scoring clutch goals in the two seasons before 2016-2017.

Klein has been dealing with some major back issues though, which caused him to miss a good chunk of this season. He was also a healthy scratch through most of the playoffs. It’s unclear if the back issue severely slowed him down, but it was evident that he could not keep up his play and was a liability on the ice. His decline was sharp in the second half of last season, all the way through this full season.

Brooks noted that Klein may continue his career in Europe if he does retire. It’s worth noting that Klein does have a year and $2.75 million ($2.9 million cap hit) left on his deal. Retiring means forfeiting that money. No decision has been made (again per Brooks), but retiring certainly helps the Rangers out.

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Jun
13

Attempting to predict a bribe for Vegas

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jt miller nick holden

AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

The deadline to request players waive their no-move clause for purposes of the expansion draft came and went yesterday. The Rangers did not ask Marc Staal or Dan Girardi to waive their respective clauses, meaning they will be automatically protected in the coming draft. To me, that comes as little surprise. There were no other defensemen to protect, as both Kevin Klein and Nick Holden are certainly not worth protection spots. So why ruin a relationship with a guy that has given his heart and soul to the team?

Don’t get me wrong, I am still of the belief that Girardi will be bought out. But at least that gives him the ability to choose his next destination. As for Staal, he still has some power to choose his, if the Rangers decide to part ways with him as well. But with this move, we know that both Holden and Klein will be exposed. And that gives us a little bit more predictive power on any potential bribe with Vegas.

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dan girardi marc staal

With the deadline to ask players to waive no move clauses coming up at 5pm tomorrow, and the expansion draft coming just one week later, the rumors are coming in from every direction. Some have a lot of information, others do not. Let’s see if we can summarize some of the tidbits flying around.

  • Per Elliotte Friedman, Scott Arniel interviewed with Buffalo and Florida. I’m assuming it was for their head coaching gigs. Doesn’t look like he got the job at either team though.
  • Also per Friedman, there’s a lot of smoke/connections between Lindy Ruff and New York. Apparently he was contacted to join Alain Vigneault’s staff, presumably as an assistant, and not as a future replacement. Just what the Rangers need – another coach who refused to adapt to the changing NHL.

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Jun
08

Potential trade partner: Minnesota Wild

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matt dumba jared spurgeon

Pioneer Press: John Autey

As the expansion draft nears, we are going to begin hearing rumors of trades with Vegas to protect players and/or bribe Vegas into taking a contract. We’ve seen one such rumor publicized already, and it’s likely we will see more. But we will also begin seeing trades made by clubs who are in a bad position with protected players. Anaheim is one such team, covered already last week. Another team in a precarious situation: Minnesota.

Minnesota is a little stuck right now with no-move clauses. Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, and Jason Pominville all have no moves up front, with Ryan Suter having a no move on the back end. If you assume that the Wild will go the 7-3-1 route, then they have a serious problem.

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May
26

Potential trade partner: Anaheim Ducks

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sami vatanen josh manson

Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG

Update: The injuries to Vatanen/Lindholm have minimal impact on the expansion draft. They will still need to be protected by Anaheim, and Vegas would still jump at the opportunity to get either of them. It may impact Vatanen’s trade value. albeit minimally because he is only 25.

The biggest task of the offseason for Jeff Gorton is to retool the Rangers’ blue line. While we’ve covered the futures of Dan Girardi and Marc Staal extensively, there is still a giant hold at 1RD. It’s a position Girardi has filled for the past decade, but simply cannot do so going forward. While Kevin Shattenkirk is certainly intriguing, the price tag may make him unrealistic. In that regard, Gorton must turn to the trade market.

Identifying trade partners takes an unusual twist this summer, as teams are going to look to make trades to position themselves favorably for the expansion draft. For some teams, that may mean trading a defenseman that may be lost during the draft. That is exactly the case in Anaheim.

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