Archive for Irresponsible Rumormongering

Feb
01

Trade target: Cody Franson

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Franson posted 17 power play points two seasons ago

Note: No goal breakdown from last night. Sorry about that.

Today marks one month until the trade deadline and buzz continues to build that the Rangers are seeking help for the right side of their defense. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that the Blueshirts don’t want to part with any of their young forwards in a swap – but they are expected to look for cheaper solutions.

We’ve already discussed Michael Stone and Ryan Murphy, so today we’re taking a look at Cody Franson. Two years ago, Franson was one of the hot commodities at the deadline and he was shipped from Toronto to Nashville with Mike Santorelli in exchange for Olli Jokinen, Brendan Lipsic and a first-round pick.

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jeff gorton

During last night’s broadcast, Bob McKenzie shared his thoughts of the Rangers needs and plans for the trade deadline. He didn’t shed any light on their needs, as they are still targeting a top-four right handed defenseman. The problem is that the rest of the league is looking for the same thing.

McKenzie also provided some insight as to the Rangers’ approach, which is to not sacrifice any of the core they’ve assembled thus far. That is the open-ended statement that can be interpreted many different ways. What defines the Rangers core? What are the Rangers willing to part with from the roster?

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Jan
25

Trade target: Ryan Murphy

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Ryan Murphy was the 12th overall pick in the 2011 draft

Last week we began examining possible trade deadline targets to help the defense with Michael Stone of the Coyotes. This week, we’re turning our attention to another righty D-man – Ryan Murphy – that has been pushed down the depth chart and no longer looks like he has a future with his club.

Murphy was Carolina’s first-round pick in 2011 – three slots before the Blueshirts selected J.T. Miller. He was billed as a future power play quarterback and offensive dynamo, but Murphy has only played 135 NHL games with the Hurricanes and never more than 48 in a single season.

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Jan
18

Trade target: Michael Stone

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Stone put up 36 points (six goals, 30 assists) last season

With the Rangers sputtering, anticipation is quickly building for the March 1 trade deadline. Unlike in past years, New York is set up front, so it’s hard to fathom a deal for another forward. But it’s no secret that the Rangers desperately need help on defense and have been searching for a top-four blueliner for much of the season.

The options are limited, but one name that appears likely to be on the move is Arizona’s Michael Stone. He wouldn’t be the sexy acquisition many crave, but the pending free agent might help fortify the back-end.

Stone, 26, broke out last season with 36 points (six goals, 30 assists) including 14 power play assists. That performance helped him earn a new $4 million contract for this season, but Stone has struggled to match that production.

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AP Photo/Fred Vuich

With the recent news that Marc Staal is going to be out indefinitely with post concussion symptoms, the Rangers find themselves short one of their top-four defensemen. Whether you agree Staal should have been in the top-four is a bit irrelevant at the moment, since he was in the top-four regardless. This is going to force Alain Vigneault and possibly Jeff Gorton to adjust if this team is going to make a run at a Stanley Cup.

In fact, it has already forced AV to make a major change to his defense, taking Dan Girardi off the top pair for Brady Skjei. Adam Clendening was naturally in the lineup, and was put on his off-side with Kevin Klein. Dan Girardi moved down to play with Nick Holden, who moved back to his natural side on the left. I personally did not watch the game, but from what I’ve heard, Clendo and Skjei both had strong games in their roles.

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jeff gorton

During last night’s game against the Flyers, Darren Dreger came on the air and noted that like many teams, the Rangers are actively looking for a top-four defenseman between now and the trade deadline. This isn’t exactly Earth shattering news, as half the league is looking to add a top-four defenseman. After all, doesn’t a top-four defenseman make every team better?

Dreger did note that the Rangers are actively scouting and doing their homework though. It’s worth noting that we’ve heard the Rangers, particularly their front office staff, scouting the Ducks frequently this season. The Rangers likely don’t want a rental. So perhaps there’s a match, but the salary cap makes things tricky.

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Photo: Charles Wenzelberg

For anyone watching the Rangers this season, it’s been clear that they need help on defense. More specifically, they need a true 1RD. No matter where you fall on the spectrum of Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein, it’s clear neither of them are capable of being successful in that role. For the Rangers to be true contenders, an upgrade is needed.

However in the NHL, you need to give to get. If the Rangers are truly going to land a Dougie Hamilton or a Jacob Trouba, they need to give up something of value. A package of a bottom-six forward and a bottom-pairing defenseman is simply a laughable proposal. The Rangers need to give a top line forward in order to land their prized defenseman.

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derek stepan

Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

As the season progresses and the need to both get healthy and upgrade the defense intensifies, attention will go from the current roster to who can be acquired to meet these needs. But part of that process is identifying which players can be moved, be it from the current roster or within the system.

Suffice it to say, moving another first round pick should be a last resort, and certainly not for a rental who is bolting for free agency. Ditto any top prospects. But with those decisions, the Rangers aren’t left with much to move unless they decide to deduct from the current roster. Personally, I think that kind of move is coming. If not by the trade deadline, then by the expansion draft.

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dougie hamilton

It is no secret that the Rangers want to improve defensively. It is not just the bloggers who say it too, as NHL insider Pierre Lebrun yesterday said that the Rangers are doing their due diligence and will likely make a trade for a defenseman this season. I don’t really consider this “insider news” but I am a narcissist and like when the league is talking about the Rangers doing something potentially smart.

There are many factors that go into this small rumor. First and foremost is the Rangers’ ability to value players and defensemen. I’d say that for the most part, supreme leader Jeff Gorton has impressed a good portion of the fan base by revamping the NYR offense and creating a speed team once again.

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cam fowler

Hot off the presses last night, Arthur Staple noted that both Chris Drury and Gordie Clark were in attendance at the Islanders/Ducks game last night. They certainly weren’t scouting the Islanders, and the Rangers and Ducks have been linked together as a possible match for some time. The Rangers need an upgrade on defense and have the cap space, while the Ducks need to dump a defenseman and some cap space.

Usually I write off scouts attending games, but Drury is the Assistant GM and Clark is the Director of Player Personnel. This isn’t just a scout doing his/her job. These are the big whigs who make decisions in attendance. It seems like something is brewing. But who they are targeting is where things get interesting.

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