Archive for Irresponsible Rumormongering

Feb
02

Trade deadline strategy

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It’s interesting. If you watched the Rangers play, while ignoring the rest of the conference, you might think they are destined for greatness. They’re playing uptempo hockey, bagging 2.92 goals per game. The power play is over 19% for the first time since Leetch was dropping knowledge on the NHL. Most importantly, they can just flat out fly whenever they play their game.

However, despite winning 15 of 18 games at one point, the Rangers sit in 8th place in the Eastern Conference. A playoff berth seems likely, but a chance to win the Cup still remains an elusive goal.

Tampa has our number. Ryan Callahan has dictated that much. The Bruins still manhandle us every time we take a trip up I-95. The Islanders have out scored us 13-4 this season. While we may be built for West Coast trips, handling our own conference is a different story.

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Per Bob McKenzie on NHLN’s NHL Live yesterday (via Nichols on Hockey), the New York Rangers may have interest in Phoenix Arizona Coyotes center Antoine Vermette. Vermette is one of the few offensive bright spots on the ‘Yotes, but the 32 year old center is also a pending UFA primed to get a decent pay raise on his $3.75 million salary this season.

Vermette is a more expensive option –both in salary and price to acquire– than Mike Santorelli, but he has more offensive upside. Vermette is a little below the 0% median in CF% relative (usually within 2% of a 50% CF). But Vermette wins 55.2% of his faceoffs, so people will like that, even if it is a relatively insignificant part of the game.

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Whether you like the extension or not, Marc Staal is signed for the next six years at $5.7 million. The biggest concern across the board, outside of whether you wanted Staal re-signed, is about re-signing the rest of the key free agents: Mats Zuccarello (UFA), Martin St. Louis (UFA), Derek Stepan (RFA), and Carl Hagelin (RFA). They will also need to lock up J.T. Miller and Jesper Fast (both RFAs), and make decisions about Lee Stempniak (UFA), John Moore (RFA), and Matt Hunwick (UFA).

Assuming the recent news that Zucc is meeting with his agents today is true, then it appears the diminutive winger is next up on Glen Sather’s priority list. My manual calculations –RIP Capgeek– has the Rangers at about $55 million dedicated to the players currently signed for next season. If the cap goes from $69 million this season to $73 million next season (based off the CAD value, which fluctuates daily at this point), that leaves the Rangers with just $18 million to get those first six under contract.

*-Worth noting that I’m basing this off Kevin Hayes’ cap hit of $3.67 million. That number includes bonuses, but without Capgeek, I don’t know what the breakdown is, and can’t account for performance vs. signing bonus.

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Per Thomas Drance at The Score, Darren Dreger (via Insider Trading last night) mentioned that the New York Rangers are interested in center Mike Santorelli from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Dreger mentioned that the Rangers tried to get Santorelli this past summer, but due to limited cap space, could not seal the deal.

Santorelli has nine goals and 26 points this year while playing all over the lineup for the Leafs. He is also historically a positive possession player (relative to his teammates), and has solid numbers this year on a dreadful Leafs team. Santorelli has faced solid competition in 40% OZ starts and still manages a CF% rel of 1.9%. His raw CF (46.7%) is more a factor of his bad team than his ability.

Santorelli can play wing or center (47.2% faceoff success), so he would be a solid add for a Rangers team that really needs depth.

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Per Larry Brooks, the New York Rangers and Marc Staal are closing in on a six-year deal between $5.6 and $5.9 million per season. The deal will take Staal through his age-34 season. The Rangers have somewhere around $20 million in cap space for next year, depending on the actual cap number, and Staal’s contract will eat up at least 25% of that space.

With Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello also set to be free agents, Zucc an unrestricted free agent, there will be some tough decisions to make if Staal’s deal is signed.

Staal has been a fixture on the Rangers blue line since the 2007-2008 season after the Rangers traded up to grab him in the first round of the 2005 draft. Injuries marred his 2011-2013 seasons, and we’ve done some analysis on his very odd career arc. Some here think an extension is a bad idea, others a good idea. I’m on the fence, but I don’t like six-year deals for someone who isn’t a guarantee.

Update: Pierre LeBrun has noted the deal will have a full NTC in the first three years, and a partial NTC in the last three years. The deal will also have a full no-move clause, pertaining to waivers.

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Per a transcribed interview with Elliotte Freidman on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 this morning, the Rangers are interested in Carolina defenseman Andrej Sekera. Friedman notes that cap space is a problem, and that the Rangers are looking at this season as an “all-in” season. This confirms what Friedman said in November regarding the Rangers’ interest in Sekera.

Sekera would be a boost to the Rangers third pairing in place of John Moore/Matt Hunwick. He carries a $2.75 million cap hit this season, and the Rangers should be able to get him under the cap at the prorated amount ($1.375 million, since they would only be taking him for half the season. That number goes down as the calendar year moves on). Of course, the Rangers could move one of Moore/Hunwick to make room for Sekera, which opens up more cap space.

Sekera could also replace Marc Staal on the second pairing if Staal and the Rangers can’t agree to terms before the trade deadline.

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Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix NHL Arizona Coyotes are not making the playoffs this year. That much is all but guaranteed. What waits to be seen is when they start shipping off players that are not in their future plans, and who they ship out. Rob Klinkhammer was already sent to Pittsburgh for prospect Philip Samuelsson. With seven players headed towards unrestricted free agency, GM Don Maloney will probably be busy.

There are a few players that may interest the Rangers, specifically defenseman Keith Yandle, if Arizona decides to trade him. Yandle isn’t a pending UFA, but the ‘Yotes have Samuelsson and Brandon Gormley vying for NHL spots in the near future. There is a need to open up spots on the blue line for these kids, and Yandle, a 28-year-old on a $5.25 million cap hit, would probably bring back the biggest return.

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Dec
18

The obligatory Taylor Hall post

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Photo: Edmonton Journal

Photo: Edmonton Journal

After the Edmonton Oilers fired Dallas Eakins, club GM Craig MacTavish said that no one is untouchable on the Oilers. Immediately, rumors started to fly that Taylor Hall was on the block, as the return he could net would bring in many valuable assets that would fill multiple holes. In Hall, the acquiring team would be getting an All Star winger and a game breaker. Of course, Ranger fans started with their own trade scenarios.

Before we get into what it would cost the Rangers to land Hall, it’s important to know what kind of player the Rangers would be getting. In 272 games thus far, Hall has put up 100-143-243, close to a point per game. Of those 243 points, 143 of them are at even strength, including 55 goals. Hall produces at all strengths, and doesn’t just rely on gaudy powerplay numbers. But for Hall, it goes beyond the numbers.

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Petry and Marincin (Photo: Windsor Star)

Petry and Marincin (Photo: Windsor Star)

The Edmonton Oilers are reportedly listening to offers for anyone on the roster. The Oilers are very heavy on the wing and defensive prospects, but thin at center and NHL defensemen, Theoretically, they are looking for an NHL ready center, and are willing to deal anyone on the roster.

Martin Marincin (22 years old) and Jeff Petry have been brought up a few times in trade rumblings a few times, but it was more speculation than anything substantial. The reasoning is that the Oilers are heavily invested in Justin Schultz, Andrew Ference, Nikita Nikitin, and Mark Fayne beyond this year. They have Darnell Nurse (OHL), Oscar Klefbom (AHL), and David Musil (AHL) knocking at the door as well. Guys like Petry (UFA, high salary) and Marincin (RFA, squeezed out by younger, better kids) could be used to address their needs.

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Nov
11

Potential trade target: Riley Nash

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Nash, of the Riley variety.

Nash, of the Riley variety.

In my daily perusing of pending free agents on bad teams, I came across Riley Nash of the Carolina Hurricanes. The 25-year-old center is in the final year of his second contract, one that pays him at a $575,000 cap hit. Basically peanuts. This year is, for all intents and purposes, Nash’s second full pro season. On paper, Nash is a 52% faceoff guy who put up 10-14-24 in 73 games last year. He has 4-6-10 in 13 games this year.

A few things jump out at me about Nash. He’s a right-handed shot (hooray!) who is putting up solid numbers thus far on an awful Hurricanes squad (and he wins faceoffs). His 18% shooting rate won’t last, but he’s been an 11% shooter over his NHL career. That’s actually pretty good. The uptick in goals this year is a combination of the unsustainable SH% and his willingness to shoot the puck more. Regression is expected (he’s not going to be a 75 point guy), but he will certainly eclipse his career highs this year.

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