Archive for Irresponsible Rumormongering

In the “oh FFS please don’t do this” department, Bob McKenzie has reported that the Rangers are very interested in Toronto Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak. Before I go into why this is makes absolutely zero logical sense, let’s look at Bozak the player, independent of his fit in New York. And let me tell you, it’s not pretty.

Everyone is going to look at his close-to-50-points-but-never-got-to-50-points lines from the last three seasons and think this guy is a steal at that price. Here’s the major problem: He doesn’t produce outside of Phil Kessel. Period. End of story. Don’t believe me? Check this out:

Oh boy is this ugly.

Oh boy is this ugly.

Just a reminder that CF/CA is now SATF/SATA.

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As the trade deadline draws nearer, the rumors are abound about who the New York Rangers will target to improve the team for a playoff run. There are a bunch of them, so here we go.

  • Larry Brooks says that the Rangers might target Mark Letestu of Columbus, Torrey Mitchell of Buffalo, or Curtis Glencross of Calgary.
  • As for Glencross, who requested a trade from Calgary in the midst of a potential playoff push, he has a limited no-trade clause and the Rangers would need to be on that list of teams in which he will accept a trade.
  • Steve Zipay notes that the Rangers may also target James Sheppard of San Jose, Kyle Brodziak of Minnesota, Daniel Winnik of Toronto, Erik Condra of Ottawa, Jan Hejda of Colorado, or Brett Bellmore of Carolina.
  • Zipay also notes that the Rangers will not part ways with their top three prospects: Anthony Duclair, Pavel Buchnevich, or Brady Skjei. Zip says Danny Kristo and others in the AHL are available for the right return. It’s worth noting that Kristo is a UFA after this year, and has minimal value.
  • Non trade related news: Jesper Fast skated in practice today, which is always a good sign. He was in a non-contact jersey.
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*due to the large percentage of the BSB staff who were physically at the Canucks game, Dave’s goal breakdown will be posted this afternoon.

The entirety of the Rangers’ community held their collective breath during the announcement that franchise goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was experiencing continued symptoms from his fluke neck injury. It was a strange coalescence of events that ended in a vascular injury and an uncertain timetable for his return. In his stead, it was a no-brainer to turn to Cam Talbot. What was somewhat surprising was that 20-year old MacKenzie Skapski got the nod to play second string for the big club.

That’s not a knock on Skapski, mind you, who has been playing very solid hockey in his first pro-season in the AHL. After eight games without Lundqvist, Skapski is still yet to start a game (however rumored to be starting tonight in Buffalo). Since Lundqvist’s injury is relatively rare in hockey, his timetable and confidence is his overall health going forward somewhat suspect. All of this begs the question of whether the Rangers would be wise to bring in some additional goaltending depth prior to the deadline. With this in mind, I thought I’d break down some low-cost candidates who could be waived if need be in the event Hank comes back strong and ready to go for the stretch run.

MacKenzie Skapski, New York Rangers:

Let’s start with the obvious. The Rangers could simply give Skapski a try and see if he can handle the speed of the NHL game. I admittedly haven’t seen much of him, but the little I have watched shows a quick, athletic tender, with a tendency to get too busy in his movements and can overplay his positioning. Beniot Allaire is a master at quieting a goaltender’s motions (see Talbot, Cam), so I think this possibility is worth a shot. Better than Skapski riding the bench until Hank returns.

Yann Danis, Hartford Wolfpack:

Alternatively, the Rangers could swap Skapski for career journeyman Yann Danis. The 33-year old Quebec native has seen NHL action for the Habs, Islanders, Devils and Oilers over the course of his career, posting decent numbers in small samples. Something tells me he would make it through waivers on his way back down, and I would much rather see him decorating the bench at MSG and letting Skapski play in Hartford in the Rangers don’t see playing time in MacKenzie’s short-term future.

Anders Lindback, Buffalo Sabres: (1 year/$925k, pending UFA)

Just a couple years back I was a big fan of Lindback. He was a big goalie who had played well in limited time behind Pekka Rinne and looked to break out as a starter with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Instead, Lindback tanked and another massive goalie in Ben Bishop stole the crease in Florida. His large frame has gotten away from him and his mechanics have gotten all out of whack. He is as dispensable as it gets, though, turning UFA after the season.

Scott Clemmensen, Albany Devils: (1 year/$600k, pending UFA)

We’ve all seen plenty of Clemmensen over the years, both with New Jersey and Florida. He is about as vanilla as a backup goalie gets, but we can be confident in his competency for a few games at a time. The bigger question is whether Sather and Lou could get together for a trade even of this microscopic magnitude.

Reto Berra, Colorado Avalanche: (2 years/$2.9m remaining)

Two years and almost $3 million left on his deal. Pass.

Mike McKenna, Arizona Coyotes: (1 year/$550k, pending UFA)

Another career journeyman and pending UFA. McKenna has bounced around with the Lightning, Devils and Blue Jackets before landing in the desert. For what it’s worth, he has better AHL numbers than Danis does, but that’s hardly a conclusive argument for going out and getting him. Plus, it’s not like the ‘Yotes have goalie depth to spare at this point. McKenna is not likely worth the hassle for an incremental upgrade on what the Rangers already have.

Richard Bachman/Viktor Fasth, Edmonton Oilers (1 year/$615k, pending UFA/1 year/$3.4m cap hit remaining)

Bachman is another McKenna-type. Pending UFA on a small deal, but since they are overflowing with mediocre goaltenders in Edmonton, maybe this makes a little more sense. Fasth on the other hand has another year on his deal at a $3.4m cap hit. Yuck.

Jason LaBarbera, Norfolk Admirals (1 year/$750k, pending UFA)

When I first looked up old friend Jason LaBarbera, I was almost positive he was a free agent. Apparently the Ducks snuck him down to Norfolk, where he has very solid numbers in twenty games. Might be worth a flier, but not much of a huge upgrade to be had here. If he was a UFA, I’d say grab him and let him play a few games to rest Talbot, but he’s not exactly an ideal trade target.

As you can see, the pickings are slim. I don’t suppose you can really seek a meaningful upgrade when Lundqvist will hopefully be back in the next couple weeks, but depth is never a bad thing. Personally, I would soldier on with out internal options, whether that is Danis or Skapski. If I had to go outside the organization, I think Clemmensen is your best bet, but good luck with that. Moral of the story: get well soon, Hank.

Per Darren Dreger, cited on NBCSN, New York Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello is going to look for more than $5 million per year on a five-year deal for his contract extension. Zucc is the next Ranger in line for Glen Sather to lock up, having locked up Marc Staal earlier this year.  Zuccarello is a must-keep for the Rangers, as he is one of their best even strength producing forwards. Zucc’s production on the powerplay is down this year, but that’s mostly because PP2 has been a tire fire. The recent move to PP1 should help him produce more.

It’s important to note two things. First, Dreger isn’t reporting anything, he’s speculating. Second, Dreger is speculating Zucc’s opening offer. These are negotiations, and the opening offer is always higher than what the player will take. Brad Marchand is probably the best comparable for Zucc, since the production and roles are almost identical. Marchand signed his four-year deal at $4.5 million before last season, when the cap was lower ($64.3 million).

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Feb
18

Which kids can be considered trade bait?

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As the NHL trade deadline approaches and Glen Sather adjusts his moving-target-deadline-strategy, the conversation is likely to shift from which roster players can be dealt to which kids can be dealt. As the push for a Stanley Cup in the Henrik Lundqvist era continues (and, frankly as the window closes), the Rangers are going to push and go for it all, meaning they aren’t likely to deal established roster players for immediate help.

This turns the conversation to the farm system, and identifying which prospects may be blocked from making the roster, or may not even be in the long term plans of the organization. This includes kids that have developed nicely, kids that are former first round picks, or kids that seem to have flamed out.

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Per Darren Dreger, the New York Rangers and winger Mats Zuccarello are involved in contract talks to keep the winger with the Rangers long-term. This is great news, as Zucc is one of those guys that you need to keep around (Chris disagrees). Dreger noted that the Rangers love Zucc, and want him here. They also won’t be trading him at the deadline if they can’t reach a deal by the March 2 trade deadline.

Take this news with a grain of salt, as the Rangers can always rethink trading him if there’s a good offer and the two sides are too far apart. But this is good news, as Zucc is a must keep. This also answers part of the Zucc, Carl Hagelin, or Martin St. Louis question.

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Feb
12

Potential trade target: Patrick Wiercioch

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Trade season is upon us. We’ve already seen the first two major pieces fall, as Evander Kane and Tyler Myers were involved in the same trade between Winnipeg and Buffalo. While it’s unlikely we see a trade of that magnitude by the time the deadline passes, we will likely see a number of trades for rentals. The playoff picture is already set in the Eastern Conference, and the Western Conference already has six of the eight teams set. What this means is more clearly defined buyers and sellers.

The New York Rangers have already been linked to Mike Santorelli, which is one low cost option to help up front. They’ve also been linked to Antoine Vermette, who is significantly more expensive, both in trade cost and actual cost.

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Feb
06

Obligatory Evander Kane post

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Disclaimer: This post was written before news broke that Kane is out for 4-6 months after shoulder surgery.

In case you missed it over the past few years, Evander Kane has been on the path towards total ostracization by the Winnipeg Jets and the media. It started with the money phone (pictured above). It continued with a series of articles by Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press, all of which blamed Kane for everything wrong with Winnipeg, falling short of blaming him for the cold winters.

It all came to a head in the last week, where Kane was a healthy scratch for “team reasons.” The reason was later found to be that he wore a track suit to the rink, a violation of team rules that require an actual suit. Chris Johnston of Sportsnet later revealed that Kane skipped the game, following an altercation with Dustin Byfuglien, who threw his track suit in the shower as a message to the 23-year-old kid.

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Feb
04

Identifying New York Rangers trade chips

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New York Rangers trade rumor season is upon us. This morning, Kevin looked at possible trade scenarios with the Arizona Cardinals Coyotes (I make that mistake way too much). Suit looked at the Rangers trade deadline strategy, which is likely about adding depth on the blue line. The Rangers have already been linked to Mike Santorelli and Antoine Vermette as well. Oh happy days.

No matter who the Rangers are linked to, they will need to identify the tradeable assets within the organization. That’s not an easy feat, as the salary cap looms, and the Canadian Dollar, which was supposed to be around .85 USD, is tanking hard to around .60. Acquiring someone with a large cap hit into next season isn’t doable unless salary goes the other way.

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Feb
04

Trade possibilities with Arizona

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Much of the early trade deadline fervor both around the league and in New York has been about what the Arizona Coyotes might do. GM Don Maloney has been screaming “WE ARE SELLERS” at the top of his lungs and Arizona has several attractive pieces, including pending free agent Antoine Vermette. Suit also suggested looking into Yotes defensemen Michael Stone. The Rangers are surely checking on Vermette, but Newsday’s Steve Zipay suggested that another member of the Coyotes, Martin Hanzal, might be a better fit for New York.

On the ice, he might be right. But as always, the financials come into play.

Vermette and Hanzal are very different players. Vermette brings scoring punch, having scored over 20 goals in four seasons. He’s that extra offensive weapon that many past versions of the Rangers would covet.
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