Per Craig Custance, there is a sincere effort by the Rangers to keep winger Benoit Pouliot. Pouliot was a great fit in New York, finding chemistry with Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello after a rough start to the season. Pouliot went just 2-2-4 in the first two months of the season (27 games) before finishing up the year with a line of 13-19-32 in the remaining 53 games. Considering Pouliot signed a one-year, $1.3 million deal, he was one of the best bargains in the NHL.
Category: Irresponsible Rumormongering
About a week ago, rumors broke that Joe Thornton would waive his no-trade clause if fans in San Jose wanted him out. As soon as that news broke, people instantly began linking him to the Rangers because of past connections with Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis.
It’s the offseason, so we are going to get a lot of “rumors” like this. I put rumors in quotes because right now this is baseless speculation. It’s one reporter saying Thornton might want to go to New York because he has friends from the Olympics there. The problem is that, while Thornton does fill a need for the Rangers, there’s no viable way to get him to New York.
There are really two trade situations for Thornton: A deal that helps the Sharks retool their farm system or a deal that helps them for the immediate future.
It is a fait accompli that Brad Richards has worn the Blueshirt for the final time. It is only a matter of timing as to when management exercises its final amnesty buyout on the team’s de-facto captain, whose tenure over three years added class and a substantial presence to the organization. Richards will leave the Rangers in a far better place than when he joined them. His contract has paid for itself.
This isn’t really surprising news, as it has been widely speculated that the Rangers will use their final compliance buyout on Richards for over a year. It isn’t a matter of performance or leadership, it’s simply risk management. The cap recapture penalty is far too great for the Rangers to risk keeping Richards around. This isn’t confirmed yet, so anything can happen.
Per Pat Leonard, the Rangers and forward Benoit Pouliot have mutual interest in a contract extension that would keep the forward in New York. Signed as a UFA to a one-year, $1.3 million deal, Pouliot has been a pleasant surprise for the Rangers. Clicking on the “third” line with Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello, Pouliot has a line of 15-21-36 in 79 games. That line becomes more impressive when you remember that in the first 27 games (through the end of November) Pouliot was pretty bad, putting up just two goals and two assists while fans tried to figure out what was wrong with him.
Since then, Pouliot has put up a line of 13-19-32 in 52 games, far more impressive. His point total (36) and assist total (21) are both career highs. His 15 goals is 1 shy of his career high. Suffice it to say, Pouliot was worth his weight in gold this season, and was one of the better UFA signings the Rangers have had recently.
With the trade deadline approaching fast, the standings around the league have changed, and new sellers at the deadline have emerged. We previously went through this exercise before the Olympics roster freeze, where we identified five sellers (Buffalo, Islanders, Florida, Calgary, Edmonton) and two “likely” sellers (Winnipeg, Nashville). Now, we have more teams that will have a difficult time leapfrogging the necessary teams to make the playoffs.
Using Sports Club Stats, we have a quantifiable number we can use as a cut-off for teams that might make the playoffs. In addition to the seven teams noted above (check out the previous post for details), we have six teams that now fall under the 50% threshold we are using (arbitrary number picked for the sake of the post). These teams –naturally– have less than a 50% chance of making the playoffs, and thus should (note: SHOULD) be sellers at the deadline.
Sellers are likely to deal their UFAs for prospects and/or picks to load up for the draft.
Oh boy I’ve been waiting to write this post. The news that Martin Brodeur has waived his no-trade clause likely means that the Devils are in “sell” mode, and that winger Jaromir Jagr –on a one-year deal worth $2 million– could be moved. Jagr’s history with the Rangers is very well noted, as he and Henrik Lundqvist brought the Rangers back into relevance in the NHL post-lockout.
Jagr is far and away the Devils’ top scorer this season with 19 goals and 52 points. The 42-year-old right winger has shown no signs of slowing down this season, and could likely provide some much-needed scoring to a team in need of adding a punch at the deadline. The best part about Jagr is that he likely comes cheaper than the bigger names (he’s a pure rental), and his salary can easily fit under the cap.
I hope you’re all ready for a long three days of endless Ryan Callahan rumors. As the trade deadline approaches on Wednesday, we are going to hear endless “Callahan to [insert team here]” rumors, even more “Callahan’s updated demands” rumors, and some ‘Glen Sather ups his offer” rumors. This time around, we have a few new rumors, courtesy of Pierre LeBrun.
LeBrun stated that both sides have moved off their initial demands. The Rangers are holding firm at six years and $36 million, while the Callahan camp has come down to six years and “south of $6.5 million.” I mentioned on Twitter yesterday that the Girardi term (six years) means the Rangers are going to go to six years for Cally. There’s a deal to be made here, whether or not you agree with the term or dollars.
For those that missed it last night, Vancouver center Ryan Kesler has reportedly requested a trade from the Canucks. Within minutes, there was buzz for a Kesler/Ryan Callahan swap. It’s natural, I guess, to assume that a deal could work out between the two sides, but there are way too many road blocks that would prevent a deal from happening.
First and foremost: Ryan Kesler has a no-trade clause, and had a big falling out with Alain Vigneault before AV departed Vancouver. Since AV is the head coach here in New York, it’s unlikely Kesler would waive his NTC to come play under the same coach.
Along the same lines, Cally and John Tortorella –now the head coach in Vancouver– don’t have the same relationship they once did (rumored). It is believed that Cally did not stick up for Torts prior to his surprise firing in May. The Cally/Torts situation is more speculation than anything though.
Over the past few weeks, we spoke how the Rangers might target Mike Cammalleri or Matt Moulson at the trade deadline to fill a need for top-six scoring consistency. It is the only real need for this team since the trade for Kevin Klein, as that trade addressed two needs: toughness on defense, and a right handed shot for the third pairing. With the blue line stabilized, the focus turns to offense.
Ott is a top-six forward for Buffalo, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is actually a top-six forward for the Rangers. What he does add is some of that grit and toughness to a lineup that is lacking in that department, even with healthy versions of Derek Dorsett and Dan Carcillo. But the problem with Ott is that he does not address the need for additional scoring help. He has one 20-goal season, 1 15-goal season, and 3 10-goal seasons in his entire career.
In case you missed it, Boomer Esiason sent Twitter into a craze over the weekend when he posted a series of tweets alluding that Ryan Callahan will be traded before the deadline. What started as a more casual conversation with ambiguous thoughts and ‘gut feelings’ turned in to something much more.
By the time he was done responding to fans he had crossed out potential trade partners as well as specific trade candidates. In other words, he’s claiming to know something. This whole thing was basically positioned as something where both parties already agree upon the framework of a deal. For all of his tweets, click here.
Now I know some of you may ask, how would a former NFL QB get inside scope on the Rangers? It’s a fair question and the answer doesn’t seem obvious, at least not at first.