Category: Irresponsible Rumormongering

Dreger: Stepan “unlikely” to be in lineup opening day

Per Darren Dreger, grain of salt required, the Rangers and holdout center Derek Stepan are just $500k per year (over a two-year bridge deal) apart on contract negotiations. New York is taking a hardball approach,  sticking to $3 million per year over the two-year deal. Stepan wants $3.5 million. I believe $3.5 million is closer to market value, since Nazem Kadri and his one full year of NHL experience landed $2.9 million. That said, the Rangers are near the cap, and while they likely won’t exceed the $64.3 million cap, every little bit of room helps at the deadline.

Again, this should be taken with a grain of salt. Reports of dollar amounts demanded/offered are usually off.

Never-ending Staal to Carolina talk continues to make no sense

Marc has never said a word about joining his brothers in Carolina

Ever since Jordan Staal turned down a 10-year, $60 million contract extension from Pittsburgh last June, leading to a blockbuster draft day trade to the Hurricanes, Rangers fans have been panicked about Marc Staal’s desire to join his three brothers in Carolina.

Marc himself has never given us any reason to believe he’s anything but thrilled to be playing in New York, but it’s of course not a giant leap to think the four Staal brothers have discussed playing together.

With Marc set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2015, many nervous Rangers fans have suggested that GM Glen Sather phone Carolina GM Jim Rutherford and see what he can get for Marc now, well in advance of the end of Marc’s contract, before his trade value depreciates.

There are a couple of problems with this:

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Draft day rumors and notes

Happy Draft Day. The Rangers have five picks this year: three in the third round , a fourth rounder, and a sixth rounder. Gordie Clark discussed what the Rangers will be looking to draft on the Rangers website, and noted that the Rangers are likely to make picks to fill an organizational need, as opposed to taking the best player available. Clark elaborated a bit further and said that they are likely to focus on defense, since outside of Dylan McIlrath, Brady Skjei, and Calle Andersson, they are thin there.

In the rumor department, a lot of names are rumored to be in play. Tyler Seguin was reportedly available, as are Brayden Coburn, Corey Schneider, Cal Clutterbuck, Alex Edler, and Michael Del Zotto. Names like Nathan Horton, David Clarkson, and Pierre-Marc Bouchard are expected to hit free agency.

Kevin will have you covered for the draft itself, which begins at 3pm. Be sure to catch up on our draft coverage for all your draft needs.

McKenzie: Rangers, Lundqvist commence extension talks

Per Bob McKenzie, the Rangers and representatives for Henrik Lundqvist will meet today in New York to discuss a contract extension for the Swedish netminder. Lundqvist his entering the final year of his 6 year, $41.25 million contract, and the Rangers will look to extend him to keep him in New York for the remainder of his career. At just 31 years old, Lundqvist could be looking at another six year contract, likely in the $7 million to $8 million range.

BSB off-season plan contest

Make the big guy proud...

Make the big guy proud…

I’ve seen this concept done by other sports blogs, but never applied to the NHL.  Also, when you work on this, it looks suspiciously like you are being incredibly productive sitting at your desk.  Just sayin’.

While the offseason has some interesting highlights (the draft, free agency, etc.), generally we are all waiting around for hockey to start again.  To help pass the time (and since everyone loves a good “arm-chair” GM session) BSB is having an off-season plan contest.  The idea is to take the Rangers as they currently stand, within their existing limitations/circumstances, and articulate a plan to get them from point A (here) to point B (Stanley Cup contention). Read more »

Lundqvist: I didn’t have Torts fired

Per Larry Brooks, Henrik Lundqvist made his first public comments since his “Comments heard ’round the world” that set all of New York into a panic. Per Brooks, Lundqvist denied having any say in the decision to fire John Tortorella:

“I know there is some speculation regarding Torts being fired, but let’s be clear on one thing,” Lundqvist said via an e-mail on Wednesday that contained his first comments on the matter. “It’s not my call who the coach should be for the New York Rangers.

“I would never put pressure on the management on decisions like that. I’m just a player. My focus is to play the game and do the best I can on the ice. Whatever [happens] off the ice, I leave to our great staff we have working for this club.”

Lundqvist elaborated on his comments a little more, and it’s definitely a good read on the whole Hank situation.

Brooks: Sullivan, Schoenfeld out as assistants; Allaire to remain

Larry Brooks is reporting that the Rangers are expected to officially name Alain Vigneault as the head coach of the Rangers this week, and the announcement will coincide with the dismissals of Mike Sullivan and Jim Schoenfeld as assistant coaches. Benoit Allaire will remain as the goaltenders coach, and Schoenfeld will still be with the team as assistant General Manager. Sullivan will be let go from the organization.

This shouldn’t be much of a surprise, as Vigneault wants his own assistants. Allaire is also one of the best goaltending coaches in the game, so it makes sense to keep him on board.

Rumor: Slats considering stepping down as GM

Earlier this morning, myself and Kevin were discussing this article by Jim Murphy at ESPN Boston where Murphy dropped a bombshell. Current President and General Manager Glen Sather is considering stepping down as GM of the Rangers. Murphy, who is not a noted irresponsible rumormongerer (he is not an Eklund type), noted that Slats would retain his role as President of the club.

Murphy continues, saying that Jim Schoenfeld or Doug Risebrough (former Minnesota Wild GM) could be next in line. However, he does not mention Jeff Gorton, who took the reigns when Slats had surgery for prostate cancer, as a potential replacement.

During his press conference following the firing of John Tortorella, Sather insisted that he would remain in his current role next season, so perhaps this transition will be a slow one.

More news on this will come in the following weeks, but this is something to keep an eye on. Slats is almost 70 years old, and we knew this day was coming.

The Rangers should avoid veterans like Ribeiro

(Winslow Townson/Associated Press)

(Winslow Townson/Associated Press)

This week Dave has already touched on Mike Ribeiro as a free agent possibility. He certainly makes for an appealing candidate who has had a productive career. I’m going to discuss why the Rangers should stay well clear of players like Ribeiro.

Once again the Rangers will likely have a hole in the middle of their line-up this offseason. If speculation is true and Brad Richards is to be bought out this summer, the Rangers will have plenty of cap space to play with. While they have to address their own roster first (McDonagh, Stepan, Zuccarello, maybe Clowe, etc) there should be some money with which to enter the free agent market. This is where it gets dicey.

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Messier/Gretzky interested in coaching the Rangers

If you missed it yesterday, the whole Twitter/blog-o-sphere was talking about how Mark Messier was interested in coaching the Rangers, and was on Glen Sather’s short list of potential candidates. About two minutes after that was reported, Wayne Gretzky’s name was thrown out there as well. It was, well, interesting to see those names mentioned, because neither really make sense for the Rangers given their current state.

The Rangers are a team that is right in their window to win. They have the best goalie in the world, they have a young core that is entering their prime, and they have a game breaker in Rick Nash. This is a team that is constructed to win a Cup in the next few years, and they need the proper coach to do that. The proper coach does not mean someone who didn’t have success previously (Gretzky) or has not coached at any level in his career (Messier).

This is no slight to the greatest player ever and the greatest captain ever, it’s just in the professional world you need to be qualified for the job. Gretzky is more qualified than Messier, but Gretzky didn’t really do much with a Phoenix team that saw great improvements under Dave Tippet. The best players don’t necessarily make the best coaches, and it’s something that should be kept in mind as the Rangers look for a coach that will take them to a Cup.