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Category: Irresponsible Rumormongering

Rangers, Pouliot have mutual interest in extension

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.

Identifying the trade deadline sellers (updated)

It's deadline time

It’s deadline time

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.

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Potential trade target: Jaromir Jagr

Photo Credit: Ken Goldfield/NY Daily News

Photo Credit: Ken Goldfield/NY Daily News

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.

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More Callahan contract rumors

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.

The obligatory post addressing the Ryan Kesler rumors

Hooray rumors.

Hooray rumors.

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.

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Potential trade target: Steve Ott

Abelimages/Getty Images North America

Abelimages/Getty Images North America

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.

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Boomer ramps up Callahan trade discussion

Courtesy of NYR Zone

Courtesy of NYR Zone

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.

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Potential trade target: Matt Moulson

Moulson is another rental that could fill a hole.

Moulson is another rental that could fill a hole.

Last week, we spoke how the Rangers might target Mike Cammalleri 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.

Moulson was shipped to Buffalo  by the Islanders in the Thomas Vanek deal. While that deal may have been puzzling to say the least, it doesn’t take away from Moulson’s value as a rental player. The 30-year-old LW has three straight 30-goal seasons under his belt, not including a 30-goal pace last season. He may not hit 30 this season, but his 15 goals would put him in second place tie in New York.

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Potential trade target: Mike Cammalleri

Source: Calgary Herald

Source: Calgary Herald

As the Rangers chug along towards a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, they will likely be buyers at the trade deadline. They’ve already made one significant move, trading Michael Del Zotto to Nashville for Kevin Klein. The move addressed two holes for the Rangers: A right handed shot to solidify the third pair, and a physical presence on the blue line. Since the trade, the Rangers have looked much more stable on defense.

One other hole is a top-six forward, as the top-six so far have been relatively inconsistent. That’s where Mike Cammalleri fits in. Unlikely to re-sign in Calgary, thus likely to be dealt at the deadline, Cammalleri would give the Rangers added secondary scoring, and serve as insurance in case a forward gets injured. When the deadline comes, the Rangers would be able to fit his $6 million cap hit under the cap. His contract expires after this season as well, making him the perfect rental candidate.

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Identifying potential trade targets for Ryan Callahan

Still don't think he's going anywhere

Still don’t think he’s going anywhere

Last night, news broke that TSN’s Bob McKenzie joined the discussion about the possibility of trading Ryan Callahan. While McKenzie did not specifically state Cally would be traded, he alluded to the fact that he will either re-sign or be dealt by the trade deadline. I am sticking to my prediction that Cally re-signs, but when McKenzie says there’s a chance Cally will be traded, you listen.

I again need to be on record: A team that is in the thick of things in the conference –and has a legitimate shot at representing the Eastern Conference this May/June– doesn’t trade their captain. It doesn’t happen. That said, McKenzie’s comments have shifted things, and for the sake of argument, there are 29 teams that could use Cally’s services. So let’s go through these possibilities.

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