Archive for Irresponsible Rumormongering
As the NHL trade deadline approaches and Glen Sather adjusts his moving-target-deadline-strategy, the conversation is likely to shift from which roster players can be dealt to which kids can be dealt. As the push for a Stanley Cup in the Henrik Lundqvist era continues (and, frankly as the window closes), the Rangers are going to push and go for it all, meaning they aren’t likely to deal established roster players for immediate help.
This turns the conversation to the farm system, and identifying which prospects may be blocked from making the roster, or may not even be in the long term plans of the organization. This includes kids that have developed nicely, kids that are former first round picks, or kids that seem to have flamed out.
Per Darren Dreger, the New York Rangers and winger Mats Zuccarello are involved in contract talks to keep the winger with the Rangers long-term. This is great news, as Zucc is one of those guys that you need to keep around (Chris disagrees). Dreger noted that the Rangers love Zucc, and want him here. They also won’t be trading him at the deadline if they can’t reach a deal by the March 2 trade deadline.
Take this news with a grain of salt, as the Rangers can always rethink trading him if there’s a good offer and the two sides are too far apart. But this is good news, as Zucc is a must keep. This also answers part of the Zucc, Carl Hagelin, or Martin St. Louis question.
Trade season is upon us. We’ve already seen the first two major pieces fall, as Evander Kane and Tyler Myers were involved in the same trade between Winnipeg and Buffalo. While it’s unlikely we see a trade of that magnitude by the time the deadline passes, we will likely see a number of trades for rentals. The playoff picture is already set in the Eastern Conference, and the Western Conference already has six of the eight teams set. What this means is more clearly defined buyers and sellers.
The New York Rangers have already been linked to Mike Santorelli, which is one low cost option to help up front. They’ve also been linked to Antoine Vermette, who is significantly more expensive, both in trade cost and actual cost.
Disclaimer: This post was written before news broke that Kane is out for 4-6 months after shoulder surgery.
In case you missed it over the past few years, Evander Kane has been on the path towards total ostracization by the Winnipeg Jets and the media. It started with the money phone (pictured above). It continued with a series of articles by Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press, all of which blamed Kane for everything wrong with Winnipeg, falling short of blaming him for the cold winters.
It all came to a head in the last week, where Kane was a healthy scratch for “team reasons.” The reason was later found to be that he wore a track suit to the rink, a violation of team rules that require an actual suit. Chris Johnston of Sportsnet later revealed that Kane skipped the game, following an altercation with Dustin Byfuglien, who threw his track suit in the shower as a message to the 23-year-old kid.
New York Rangers trade rumor season is upon us. This morning, Kevin looked at possible trade scenarios with the Arizona
Cardinals Coyotes (I make that mistake way too much). Suit looked at the Rangers trade deadline strategy, which is likely about adding depth on the blue line. The Rangers have already been linked to Mike Santorelli and Antoine Vermette as well. Oh happy days.
No matter who the Rangers are linked to, they will need to identify the tradeable assets within the organization. That’s not an easy feat, as the salary cap looms, and the Canadian Dollar, which was supposed to be around .85 USD, is tanking hard to around .60. Acquiring someone with a large cap hit into next season isn’t doable unless salary goes the other way.
Much of the early trade deadline fervor both around the league and in New York has been about what the Arizona Coyotes might do. GM Don Maloney has been screaming “WE ARE SELLERS” at the top of his lungs and Arizona has several attractive pieces, including pending free agent Antoine Vermette. Suit also suggested looking into Yotes defensemen Michael Stone. The Rangers are surely checking on Vermette, but Newsday’s Steve Zipay suggested that another member of the Coyotes, Martin Hanzal, might be a better fit for New York.
On the ice, he might be right. But as always, the financials come into play.
Vermette and Hanzal are very different players. Vermette brings scoring punch, having scored over 20 goals in four seasons. He’s that extra offensive weapon that many past versions of the Rangers would covet.
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.
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.
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.
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.