Archive for Offseason
The first two days of free agency are over, and the Rangers –to everyone’s expectations at this point– stayed relatively quiet. Many, including most of us here at BSB, expected the Rangers to make a big trade at the draft. When that didn’t happen, a quiet July 1 was all but assured. The Rangers did just that, stayed quiet. July 1 is a nice tradition of GMs spending way too much money, so let’s jump into some thoughts following the first two days.
1 – First and foremost, the Rangers did the right thing by staying out of the madness. The dollar amount on most of the contracts wasn’t bad, and it can be argued that a lot of players received fair market value. However term was insane. Seven years for Andrew Ladd? Six for David Backes? The Rangers already have two terrible contracts that are already in “regret” years. Be happy they didn’t add another.
Ah, the first day of free agency. That magical time of year when GM’s completely lose their minds and spent huge amounts of precious cap space on mediocre players. Unlike most other sports, NHL free agency is like a shotgun blast followed by several hours of “musical cap space”. It’s like a bizarre version Supermarket Sweep (note my dated reference) where everyone throws their items into their cart without looking at prices and runs to the checkout. It makes no sense.
In fairness, players want to sign quickly. No one wants to see teams use up all their cap space and be left without that lucrative contract that will set up generations of your family (hopefully). It had gotten so bad that the NHL has decided that a window for teams to meet/woo free agents prior to the formal offer window was necessary. This seems to make for an awkward courting period/possible tampering fest going on between the Draft and July 1.
With the decision to let Keith Yandle go and the Rangers in position to dump more salary this week, it suddenly looks like New York may be a player in free agency once again. With Friday’s frenzy nearly upon us, here’s who the Rangers should look to add and who to steer away from.
Who they should target
Viktor Stalberg – If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Stalberg was inconsistent to start last season, but fit like a glove on the third line in the second half of the year. He didn’t produce enough to warrant a huge increase in salary, so the Rangers should be smart and bring Stalberg back for another go.
Brandon Pirri – I was extremely frustrated when the Blueshirts didn’t top Anaheim’s deal of a sixth-round pick for Pirri at the trade deadline, but sure enough the Ducks weren’t even high enough on Pirri to extend a just-over $1 million qualifying offer. Maybe I’m way off base with this one, but a 25-year-old former 20-goal scorer is definitely worth that money in my book. As a third-line scorer, Pirri would come much cheaper than Thomas Vanek and still has room to grow.
The Rangers have officially extended qualifying offers to eight of their RFAs.
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) June 27, 2016
These eight were expected to receive qualifying offers. Qualifying offers, for the amounts below, secure their rights, and guarantee compensation if one signs an offer sheet with another team.
Much to the dismay of about half of Rangers fandom, the Keith Yandle era is over in New York. After dealing his rights to the Florida Panthers for a sixth and conditional fourth round pick on Monday, the Cats came to terms with Yandle on a seven-year/$44.45m contract yesterday. His deal includes a no movement clause for the first six (!) years of the deal, with a modified no-trade clause in year seven.
We all knew going into his big contract that Yandle would not come cheap. We also knew that his gross misuse over the past season would likely lead to his exit. The cap hit for the deal is a pretty representative $6.35m, but it was the term that really knocked me over. I certainly did not expect Yandle to get max term, but in a barren waste land of free agency and Alex Goligoski already off the board, I feel like the Panthers did what they had to do. Read More→
Jeff Gorton is entering his first full offseason as the GM of the New York Rangers, and he couldn’t be tasked with a more difficult offseason. The Rangers have toxic contracts, a system that doesn’t fit some of the players, and the worst of them all, a combination of the two. But with rumors abound that they are taking offers on pretty much everyone, the big concern is making splashes for splashes sake.
It’s pretty clear where the issues are on this team. For those that need a refresher, it’s summed up in one tweet:
1st in shooting%
7th in goals
14th in PP
21st in scoring chances against (5v5)
25th in high-danger scoring chances against (5v5)
26th in PK
— HockeyStatMiner (@HockeyStatMiner) June 12, 2016
With the Sharks 4-2 win last night in game 5, the 2015-2016 season lasts just a little bit longer. Once Lord Stanley has found his summer home, we move on proper to the business of improving the New York Rangers. Much digital ink has been spilled, including some stellar pieces around these parts, about who should stay or go, cap math and statistical analysis. This morning, I want to talk about some subtle distinctions.
I was having a beer with a buddy of mine yesterday afternoon. I grew up playing with this guy, and we been friends and Rangers fans for over 20 years. We started talking about the team; who we liked, who was overpaid, who should be shipped out and replaced in an effort to re-tool the roster back to a legitimate contender. It occurred to me during this conversation, partly because of our dynamic, that it kind of sounded like those old school scouting conversations. He isn’t much of an advanced stats guy, so we were talking like it was the 90’s. Read More→
For those who follow me on Twitter, I’ve been ranting about two players for a long, long time. Mostly because it is starting to look like an absolute necessity to add them to our system, as there is a huge issue on the right side of the blue line. This extends from the NHL through the system. With the club allowing Ryan Mantha to re-enter the draft ,you have to think they will be looking to add a body or two soon.
The first player is Jerret Smith, a 6’2, 207 lbs defenseman. He attended the Rangers training camp and is the captain of fellow Rangers’ prospect Ryan Gropp’s team (Seattle Thunderbirds). He discussed in October how much he enjoyed the training camp, and this season worked on improving his skating, something the Rangers asked him to do.
Ever since the ball dropped that the Rangers are fielding offers on everyone not named Brady Skjei, Pavel Buchnevich, or Henrik Lundqvist, the focus has been on trading names like Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, and Ryan McDonagh (Marc Staal/Dan Girardi notwithstanding). But when it comes to Stepan, very few bring up Derick Brassard, who may actually be the best chip for the Rangers.
When comparing Stepan to Brassard, most Rangers fans think this is either a toss up or lean Brassard. It’s a valid argument, as Brassard is putting up comparable offensive numbers to Stepan and is on a cheaper deal. With the Rangers crunched for cap space, trading Stepan seems like the way to lean if they decide to trade one of their top two centers.
But is that truly the smartest approach?
Though the Stanley Cup finals are in full swing, it’s felt like ages since we have had some hockey in New York. Naturally, as the withdrawal sets in, fans cling to pieces of news frequently to play psychic about the future of the team.
This is what Rangers fans have been guilty of for the past 1-2 weeks, particularly with the Brooks article. The following tweet has ruffled a lot of Rangers Twitter feathers as well late last week:
McKenzie: Outside of Lundqvist, maybe McDonagh, I’ve got to believe Gorton ‘talking to a lot of teams about a lot of players.’ #NYR
— Chris Nichols (@NicholsOnHockey) June 3, 2016