Archive for Offseason

Only 10 regulars remain from Gorton’s first season running the organization

Jeff Gorton was officially named general manager of the Rangers on July 1, 2015 and though his influence on player personnel decisions began long before then, that date marks a clear crossroads in organizational strategy.

Gorton spent last summer methodically revamping the forward corps and followed that up with a defensive overhaul this offseason. His fingerprints are now all over the roster, with a clear commitment to youth, speed and skill.

While there have been a slew of minor transactions along the way, I’ve focused on Gorton’s more significant moves to gain perspective on his tenure thus far.

June 27, 2015: Traded Carl Hagelin, a 2nd-round pick and a 6th to Anaheim for Emerson Etem and a 2nd (Ryan Gropp)
Though Gorton didn’t technically take office until a few days later, he was assuredly calling the shots here. And while the Blueshirts were in a cap bind and needed to shed salary, the return for Hagelin was a pittance. There’s still a chance that Gropp turns into a serviceable NHLer, but right now it’s hard to view this swap as anything but an unmitigated disaster.
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Can the Rangers find a young center?

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ryan nugent hopkins

With all the work Jeff Gorton has done this summer, the last piece is another forward/center to round out the roster. There were rumblings about Tyler Bozak, who recently put his condo in Toronto up for sale. The Leafs are in a tough cap spot, and moving Bozak’s $4.2 million contract gets them off the hook.

While there’s smoke around Bozak –and perhaps James van Riemsdyk– it may not add up for the Rangers. They are a club that wants to get younger and faster. Bozak is 31 years old. JVR is only 28, but he isn’t a center. That can be fixed by moving JT Miller to center, but that comes with its own challenges.

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James van Riemsdyk scored a career-high 62 points last season

Though there remains the possibility of a trade for a center, the dust has mostly settled on the 2017 offseason.

But what might the future hold? There will likely be significant changes again next offseason, when Rick Nash, Michael Grabner, David Desharnais, Nick Holden and Ondrej Pavelec are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents.

Assuming Mika Zibanejad re-signs, that will leave the Blueshirts around $23 million in cap space. A big portion of that will go towards re-upping RFAs J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes, Jimmy Vesey and Brady Skjei, but there should still be some cash to play with.

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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
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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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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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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
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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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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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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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