Archive for Offseason

Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

When the Rangers dealt Antti Raanta to Arizona in the Derek Stepan deal, a quick survey of the market revealed plenty of useful options to serve as Henrik Lundqvist’s backup.  There was a decent mix of higher upside projects and relatively safe veteran choices.  When it came out that Benoit Allaire had zeroed in on Ondrej Pavelec for the role, many were surprised, myself included.

The 29 year-old Czech native (30 when the season starts) was a 2nd round pick of the Atlanta Thrashers back in 2005.  He had shown tremendous promise in the notoriously offensive environment of the QMJHL before getting his first cup of coffee the year after he was drafted.

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Categories : Goaltending, Offseason
Comments (32)

nick holden

One of the last holes the Rangers need to fill is a top-six center, and with the free agent market bare, a trade is the next best option. As the offseason progresses, it becomes easier to identify trade partners for the Rangers to address this issue. Jeff Gorton also needs to address the logjam on the blue line, possibly leveraging the monster offensive season from Nick Holden.

Looking through the rosters, the St. Louis Blues seem to have the opposite problem. With 15 forwards –14 if you don’t include Klim Kostin, their first rounder this year)– and just five defensemen signed, there’s a potential match with the Rangers.

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Categories : Offseason
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Photo Credit: New York Rangers

Happy Friday, BSB faithful.  Sorry to double down on the “Thoughts” and “Musings” posts this week, but it’s been a very active week in Rangerland.  The last time I wrote, it was the day before the Expansion Draft.  Obviously, quite a lot has happened since then.  So, as you can imagine, I have some thoughts.

1. Since there is a lot to analyze, let’s take this in semi-chronological order. Let’s start with the Girardi buy-out.  It had to be done.  I know it sucks carrying his cap hit for the next few years, but the Rangers really had no choice.  They needed to get younger and more mobile on the blue line and starting to clear the log-jam of overpriced veterans was the first domino.  I wish Dan all the best in Tampa, even if I gagged a little when I saw the contract.  Nice try, Yzerman.

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Jul
05

Mika ZIbanejad files for arbitration

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Mika Zibanejad

Mika Zibanejad has formally filed for salary arbitration, which comes as no surprise. I feel like I write this every year, but this is just a formal step in the process. The Rangers haven’t had a player actually go to arbitration since Nik Zherdev. Sean Avery also went to arbitration in 2007.

Zibanejad and the Rangers will likely hammer out a deal before the arbitration date. With Zibanejad filing for arbitration, the Rangers have a second buyout window open to them in August. They likely won’t use it, but it will be open. This also protects Zibanejad from an offer sheet.

Oddly enough, Jesper Fast also filed for arbitration. I’m assuming he just filed the paper work before the deal was announced. Just a formality.

Categories : Offseason
Comments (23)

kevin shattenkirk

The Rangers landed the biggest prize in the free agent market yesterday, inking Kevin Shattenkirk to a four year deal worth $6.65 million per season. It was the only major move made by the Blueshirts, as it left them with a bit over $8 million in cap space, which meant they were out of the running for Joe Thornton and/or Patrick Marleau. As always, I have some quick thoughts.

  • Shattenkirk wanted to be a Ranger. Larry Brooks said that he came to the Rangers with that offer, which left a significant amount of money on the table. That speaks volumes for how badly he wanted to come here.

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Categories : Offseason
Comments (51)
Jul
01

Free agency open thread

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Free agency has officially opened. Bob McKenzie went on a tweeting storm this morning, confirming who is going where. We will do our best to update this throughout the day, with Rangers moves in bold.

  • The Rangers will sign Ondrej Pavelec as their backup netminder.
  • Dan Girardi is going to Tampa Bay on a multi-year deal that pays him $4+ million. Steve Yzerman is a fantastic GM if you disregard everything he does with former Rangers.
  • Ryan Miller is headed to Anaheim.

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Categories : Offseason
Comments (10)
Jul
01

Some Free Agency Predictions

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joe thornton

Free agency is upon us, with the big announcements coming later today. Who will end up where remains to be seen for now, so I figured a predictions thread might be in order. For this post I’m going to focus on the big three: Kevin Shattenkirk, Joe Thornton, and Patrick Marleau. I’m doing this for a couple of reasons. First is because those three are the ones I’ve been following closely, and I don’t want to throw out useless conjecture about guys like Jimmy Hayes, for example (although maybe this all is useless conjecture, depending on how you look at it, I don’t know). Second is because it’s a relatively week FA class, so those three names are likely to be the biggest ones you hear about anyways. Third is because those three are most relevant to the Rangers.

So here’s the thing with Shattenkirk: the Rangers would be stupid not to at least make a push, so no matter what Brooksie says I think there’s a possibility. It just makes too much sense – he’s the puck moving defenseman and PP QB they’ve needed for so long, and his defensive ability is actually quite good (7th overall in CA/60 over the past two seasons is not so bd for a guy who can also net you a lot of points and allow Ryan McDonagh to finally reach his potential). Buffalo is apparently out, especially after today’s Scandella deal, which leaves Boston (where he played in college), NJ and our very own Blueshirts, as well as a few other teams. Don Sweeney, the Bruins GM has said that his focus is on left defense, which makes them less likely, and NJ is close to home for Shatty and could throw a boatload of money at him, but according to Bob McKenzie NJ may offer more term but less money. Tampa Bay is also interested and may offer more money but less term, all while Arizona and Colorado remain interested.

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Categories : Offseason
Comments (27)
Jun
30

Replacing Antti Raanta

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(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Since last week when I talked about trading Antti Raanta, he has since, in fact, been traded.  The crew here has covered the return in-depth, so now we need to talk about replacing him.  I’ve spoken at length about Benoit Allaire’s seemingly superhuman ability to help young goaltenders develop into capable NHL starters, but given the current goaltending market, we don’t need Allaire to work miracles.  After perusing the readily available goaltenders who will be looking for jobs on July 1, I thought we could breakdown some of my preferred candidates…

Obviously, the Rangers could swing a trade, a la Antti Raanta, but for our purposes we are just going to look at pending UFA’s that will be available on July 1.

Steve Mason- Philadelphia Flyers

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Categories : Goaltending, Offseason
Comments (27)

justin williams

As we barrel towards July 1, Rangerstown has been ablaze with discussion about how to fill in the vacancy left by the departure of Derek Stepan.  The crop of available centers notoriously thin, headlined by 37-year old Joe Thornton.  Other options include Martin Hanzal, Mike Fisher, Sam Gagner, and old pal Brian Boyle.  While all are solid players in their own right, none of them really move the needle for the Rangers, who are “rebuilding on the fly” but also trying to remain in contention (as evidenced by yesterday’s re-signing of Brendan Smith).

There’s only one name in the free agent crop of forwards that has intrigued me since season’s end: Justin Williams.  I realize that the mere mention of his name is like a dagger to the heart for many of us who still feel the dull pain of the 2014 final lingering, but hear me out.

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Categories : Offseason
Comments (60)
Jun
28

If not Joe Thornton, then who?

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Sam Gagner posted 50 points last season, including 18 on the power play

At the draft GM Jeff Gorton expressed his comfort with having Mika Zibanejad and Kevin Hayes as his one-two punch down the middle – and whether you take that at face value or not, the Rangers have a gaping hole to fill at center in the wake of the Derek Stepan trade.

The most attractive solution is to sign Joe Thornton, the surefire Hall of Famer that has anchored San Jose’s top line for over a decade. Thornton has demonstrated terrific chemistry with Rick Nash in the past and is the one free agent that’s capable of matching, if not exceeding Stepan’s annual production.

But signing Thornton is not without its drawbacks. For one thing, Thornton and the Sharks have a mutual love affair that seems likely to continue. The only thing precluding a new pact between the two parties thus far is Thornton’s desire for a three-year deal, which is a tough ask for a near-38-year-old coming off major knee surgery.

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Categories : Offseason
Comments (85)