Archive for Transactions

ondrej pavelec

Per Bob McKenzie, the Rangers will sign goalie Ondrej Pavelec once the free agency period opens at noon. Pavelec was rumored to be coming to Rangers last night, and McKenzie confirmed it this morning. According to our goalie guru Justin, Pavelec is a solid talent but has inconsistent conditioning and technique. Per friend of the blog Tobias Pettersson, Pavelec’s stats actually aren’t that bad, and he’s a lot better than some other options out there.

Knowing Benoit Allaire, he can likely work with Pavelec to fix his technique. He’s a top goalie coach in the league, and turned Cam Talbot and Antti Raanta into starters with other clubs. If there is anyone who can resurrect Pavelec’s career to his talent level, it’s Allaire.

From past trends, I’d expect this to be a one-year deal. That’s usually what Jeff Gorton does with backups. It’s a one-year show-me deal, then a multi-year deal if it works out.

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brendan smith

The Rangers have re-signed defenseman Brendan Smith to a four-year extension. The deal is worth $17.4 million, which is $4.35 million per year. When I went through our process of gauging his contract last month, I came to five years and $4.1 million. So one less year and an extra $250k per year. I’m going to call that a correct guess by me. I’m 1-for-1. Woohoo.

Smith was by far the best RD for the Rangers during the postseason, and retaining him was critical for the success of the blue line going forward. As of today, Smith will likely land as Ryan McDonagh’s defense partner on the top pair. Suffice it to say, that’s a significant upgrade over Dan Girardi.

Signing Smith was an important step in the offseason process for the Rangers. They now have a legitimate top-four RD on their roster, and for a pretty fair price.

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derek stepan

A blockbuster in New York. The Rangers have sent Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta to Arizona in exchange for 21 year old RHD Anthony DeAngelo and the #7 pick this draft. There was a lot of smoke around Arizona and the Rangers regarding Stepan, and this deal got done.

In DeAngelo, the Rangers got a great talent with some attitude issues. DeAngelo was suspended for abusing an official last season. But he is definitely a talented player. He’s not the 1RD the Rangers need, but he could grow into that role in the future, assuming he can get his head on right.

Raanta will likely be the starter in Arizona. But losing Stepan, without replacing him, will hurt. Drafted in 2008 in the second round, Stepan has been a career Ranger averaging at least 50 points consistently. He will be the sure-fire 1C in Arizona. The trade frees up $6.5 million for the Rangers as well.

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Jun
14

Rangers to buy out Dan Girardi

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dan girardi

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America

The Rangers have made it official. They will buy out the remaining years of Dan Girardi’s contract. Girardi had three years remaining at a $5.5 million cap hit. The buyout will save the Rangers almost $3 million this year and $2 million the next two years. The Rangers will have a $1.1 million cap hit for the three years following.

Girardi was a career Ranger with a great story, going from undrafted free agent to top pairing defenseman on a Stanley Cup Finalist. However his game deteriorated very quickly under Alain Vigneault, and his lack of foot speed was exploited over the past three seasons.

Girardi finishes his Rangers career with a line of 46-185-230 in 788 games, and 6-27-33 in 122 career playoff games.

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Jun
14

Rangers re-sign Matt Puempel

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matt puempel mats zuccarello

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

The Rangers have re-signed forward Matt Puempel, which now makes them compliant with the expansion draft. The terms of Puempel’s deal were not disclosed. The contract is for one year and $725,000.

Puempel was plucked off waivers from Ottawa last season, and put up 6-3-9 in 27 games while playing primarily on the fourth line. It was necessary to re-sign Puempel (or Fast/Lindberg) before the expansion draft, as the Rangers were not compliant until they had him signed.

It’s unlikely Puempel is selected by Vegas. Expect him back next year, serving as a 13/14F.

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jed ortmeyer

The Rangers have announced former players Jed Ortmeyer and Steve Eminger to the front office. They have also added Ben Prentiss as a strength/conditioning coach.

It’s cool to see Ortmeyer back in the fold, he was one of my favorite Rangers post-lockout. Worth noting that Prentiss was the main trainer for most NHLers in the Northeast, including Kevin Shattenkirk.

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Jun
08

Report: Hellberg signs with KHL

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Magnus Hellberg

Interesting bit of news here, as Fan Rag Sports is reporting that goalie Magnus Hellberg has signed with the KHL’s HC Kunlun Red Star. The former second round pick by Nashville was acquired by the Rangers in July of 2015 for a 2017 6th round pick (this year’s pick). Hellberg spent two years with the Rangers organization, serving primarily as a starter in Hartford and playing just three games in New York.

This leaves the Rangers with three goalies in the minors: Mackenzie Skapski, Brandon Halverson, and Chris Nell. Even if the Rangers do trade Antti Raanta, it’s unlikely any of this trio will be a full time backup. Expect the Rangers to sign a free agent AHL goalie to bounce between Hartford and Greenville.

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dawson leedahl regina pats

Jeff Gorton’s raid of undrafted free agents continues. This time, he nabbed Regina Pats leading scorer Dawson Leedahl. The 21-year-old LW finished with a line of 35-54-89 in 71 games this season, almost triple his output from last season. He also put up 11-12-23 in 19 playoff games, with his Pats vying for the WHL Championship. He isn’t just a scorer, as Leedahl succeeded with Everett’s defense first system, becoming caption, before his trade to start the season.

Leedahl is a little bit of everything. He scores, plays in all three zones, hits, and leads by example. A good comparison would be Ryan Callahan, but dialing back the expectations a bit. His style is similar, but the Rangers would be lucky to get a huge contributor like that. Regardless, Leedahl adds much needed scoring and physical punch to a Hartford lineup that desperately needs it.

Leedahl certainly needs a few seasons in the AHL before he has a realistic chance of cracking the Rangers roster.

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neal pionk

Photo: Getty

Per Elliotte Friedman, the Rangers have made a big splash in the undrafted free agent market. They have signed defenseman Neal Pionk of Minnesota-Duluth to en entry level deal, a much sought after UDFA. Josh profiled him last month, and that’s definitely worth the read. For the cliff notes version: Pionk is a right handed puck moving defenseman that put up 34 (7-27-34) points in 42 games as one of the NCAA’s top scoring defensemen. He was also a second team All Star.

Pionk, at 6’0 and 190 lbs, plays with a bit of a mean streak as well. While his joy for laying people out with open ice hits can cause him to be out of position from time to time, Pionk is a three-zone defenseman who piqued the interest of most of the league. He will need some seasoning, having just completed his sophomore season, but this is a big time win for the Rangers in landing him.

I’m going to open up a can of worms here, but between Alexei Bereglazov, Radim Simek, and now Pionk, there’s some change coming to the Rangers’ blue line.

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Apr
07

Rangers recall forward Taylor Beck

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taylor beck

The Rangers have recalled forward Taylor Beck from the Hartford Wolf Pack. Beck has a line of 19-44-63 in 54 AHL games with Hartford and the Bakersfield Condors this season. The Rangers acquired Beck from Edmonton in exchange for Justin Fontaine at the trade deadline. He’s been close to a point-per-game with the Pack (6-7-13) since his acquisition.

The call up of Beck means the Rangers are likely resting more players this weekend. He’s also likely the first of many to be called up to serve as the “taxi squad” during the playoffs.

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