Archive for Irresponsible Rumormongering
Aaron Portzline, a beat writer for the Columbus Blue Jackets, tweeted this morning that the Rangers have been calling Columbus about winger Cam Atkinson. Considering the Rangers desperately need a top-six winger, the interest in Atkinson makes sense. He’s a consistent 20-goal scorer, on pace for 25 goals this year. He’s also a shoot-first guy, a type of player the Rangers are desperate for.
Atkinson is small at 5’7 and 180 lbs, but that doesn’t stop him from getting himself into shooting positions. He has taken over 200 shots per season over the last three seasons (91 shots in 35 games three seasons ago), and is on pace to crack 200 again this year. At $3.5 million over the next two seasons, he’s signed to a very reasonable deal as well.
Jonathan Drouin’s public trade request kicked the rumor mill into high gear right out of the holiday break, and the recent success of last night’s opponent is a good indication why.
The parallels between Tyler Seguin and Drouin are evident, and like Seguin, Drouin has the potential to become an elite offensive producer that helps catapult his future team into the upper echelon of the NHL.
Drouin obviously has much to prove, but Lightning GM Steve Yzerman no doubt has Boston’s Seguin disaster dancing through his mind as he sorts through his options.
Per Larry Brooks, the Rangers are interested in Tampa Bay Lightning winger Jonathan Drouin. Drouin requested a trade after what he felt was misuse by the organization. Drouin was initially returned to Juniors after being selected third overall in 2013, then was put in a role playing position on the team when he joined the Lightning.
Drouin is a hugely talented playmaker, with a line of 6-34-40 in 89 NHL games. He’s bounced all over the lineup, spending some time with Steven Stamkos on the top line as well. Drouin isn’t the big scorer the Rangers desperately need, but he’s a 20-year-old top-six winger that would be an instant upgrade on most forwards in the Rangers organization.
The new year has come and gone, and with that comes trade season. It’s rare to see trades in the first few months of the season, as teams are still usually figuring out what they have internally. That feeling out process has concluded, and we should start seeing some action as the trade deadline approaches. The Rangers have a few holes, one of them being a top-six forward, preferably a right wing. Top-six forwards are tough to come by, especially in today’s “everyone is in it until March” NHL. The epic disaster that is the Pacific Division makes finding a forward that fits even more difficult.
For the Rangers, it’s not just a need for a top-six forward, it’s a need for a top-six forward that is a pure shooter. Not one of the current top-six –including the rotation at 2RW– has a shoot-first mentality. Someone who fits this mold keeps Kevin Hayes, Oscar Lindberg, and J.T. Miller on the third line, and moves Jesper Fast back to where he belongs on the fourth line. It rounds out the lineup nicely.
The biggest contributors to the Rangers’ problems are veteran defensemen Marc Staal and Dan Girardi, who have struggled mightily and each have cap hits of at least $5.5 million for the next four years (five for Staal).
Dealing either player will be tricky given their robust contracts and current level of play, but that’s the ideal solution for a club that desperately needs to redistribute icetime and everyday lineup spots along the blueline, and hopes to re-sign Keith Yandle this summer.
Trade rumors are likely to begin flying quickly after the holiday roster freeze is lifted and Staal and Girardi will be at the forefront. But while dumping either for prospects and/or draft picks might be possible, it’s an unlikely course of action for a team that fancies itself a contender. Clearing money from the payroll will become a focal point possibly by the trade deadline and certainly during the offseason, but for now GM Jeff Gorton is still hoping to improve his team for the present.
As the season progresses, trends outside of New York start to get noticed that may present opportunities for the Rangers to improve their team. One such opportunity is with Ryan Murphy of the Carolina Hurricanes. The former 12th overall pick has been yo-yo’d a lot by the Canes, and it appears they could pursue a trade. They have blue line depth in the system, and in what may be a purge at the deadline, a change of scenery for Murphy can help address their forward depth.
The thought of a potential Murphy trade came from a few thoughts going through my head over the past few days, both subjective and objective.
Point 1: Jealousy
Speculation has begun to swirl around San Jose Sharks star Patrick Marleau, after reports came out earlier in the week that he would waive his no trade clause for the LA Kings, the Anaheim Ducks, or our beloved Rangers. Elliotte Friedman noted on TV that there is little evidence to suggest that the Sharks have asked Marleau to waive his NTC, and Bob McKenzie echoed the sentiment on Twitter, saying that it is “more likely that Marleau asked SJ to explore trade possibilities to select teams”. All of this suggests that Marleau is potentially interested in a trade to New York, which might raise some fans’ eyebrows given a few factors.
The first is what it would cost to acquire to speedy winger, who’s registered 30 goals or more in seven different seasons with San Jose. The Rangers don’t exactly have a wealth of draft picks to give up due to past trades, and given that Anthony Duclair was sent to Arizona in the Keith Yandle deal it’s not likely that the Rangers would deal their next best prospect Pavel Bucchnevich. That would mean any player or players going the other way would be roster players, and while I by no means have any inkling of who it would be I would imagine that the price for a player like Marleau would not be cheap.
Earlier this month, Raphael Diaz was waived by the Rangers, as he was lost his 7D spot to Dylan McIlrath out of camp. Diaz, naturally, is not all that pleased with being in the AHL. His agent has requested (per Larry Brooks) that if he is not back with the club in a month, that he be granted a mutual release from his contract. It is likely he would go to EV Zug in Switzerland for the season.
The Rangers, again per Brooks, have said they will revisit the situation at the end of the month, but no promises are being made. I highly doubt that the Rangers want to cut ties with Diaz, who had a strong camp.My guess is that the Rangers are waiting to see how the Klein/McIlrath situation plays out. Injuries also happen. But if everyone is healthy, Diaz is the 8D now.
Per Elliotte Friedman, there are a lot of teams watching the Oscar Lindberg situation with the Rangers very closely. They want to see how he performs and if he makes the team. It is highly unlikely Lindberg clears waivers if he does not make the team, and the Rangers are well aware of this.
Friedman isn’t exactly bringing us shocking news, it’s something we’ve all speculated since the summer. Lindberg is an NHL player, and he will be an NHL player –hopefully for the Rangers– this season. The notion that he’s not going to clear waivers is known.
Over the past two weeks, the Rangers have “been linked” –in quotes for a reason– to a pair of rumors. The first is that they are keen on landing UFA forward Curtis Glencross. Glencross, coming off a four-year deal that paid him $2.55 million per season, is seen as someone who can add forward depth to the Rangers at a discount price. The thing is, the Rangers added their cheap depth forward in Viktor Stalberg, and are content letting Oscar Lindberg take the final spot on the roster. Since Tanner Glass is the 13F, there’s enough depth for 14F and beyond in Hartford that signing Glencross isn’t necessary. He is an upgrade on Glass though.
The other is that the Rangers are inexplicably trying to move Keith Yandle. This made little sense when the Rangers were in cap trouble, and makes even less sense now that the entire team is signed and they still have a shade more than $850,000 cap space. The Rangers didn’t deal a first round pick and their best prospect to keep Yandle for half a season. This one is just silly.
As Josh pointed out, the most likely move for the Rangers is to bring in a guy or two on a PTO. Perhaps Glencross is one of them. Beyond that, the Rangers will go to camp with what they have. The rest of the roster decisions will play out depending on camp performance.