Archive for Transactions
The dust has settled on the first day of free agency and while some teams went for big splashes the Rangers made some savvy depth moves that may be cause for cautious optimism regarding the front office and their offseason strategy.
While rival GMs were busy handing out 5, 6, or even 7-year deals, the Rangers added Michael Grabner, Nathan Gerbe, Michael Paliotta and Adam Clendening to short term, low cap hit contracts. The Rangers didn’t exactly have the opportunity to make any big moves, given their tight salary cap situation, but it’s still encouraging that they looked to add speed and skill to their bottom six.
The Rangers have made another depth defense signing, inking Michael Paliotta. The 23-year-old was a third round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2011 draft. He played a full four years at Vermont, really upping his scoring in the final two years.
The 6’#, 205 lb defenseman was shipped to Columbus as a part of the Brandon Saad trade, and was declined a qualifying offer by the Blue Jackets this June. He put up a line of 8-15-23 in 68 games with the Springfield Falcons, his first full pro season. It’s expected he will be in the AHL all year.
Adding on to the Michael Grabner signing, the Rangers have inked Nathan Gerbe to a one year deal at $600,000. The very small (5’5) forward finished his stint in Carolina, where he was primarily a bottom six forward, putting up 3-4-7 in his final year.
Gerbe will likely compete for a fourth line spot, and perhaps fill in while Oscar Lindberg is on the shelf with his hip surgeries. He’s not going to light the lamp, but he’s a decent fourth liner and a decent penalty killer.
With Viktor Stalberg headed to Carolina, the Rangers promptly replaced the Swede with another lightning fast skater in Michael Grabner for two years at a $1.6 million cap hit. Grabner got a huge deal from the Isles in 2011, but was traded as he was a healthy scratch regularly. He regained his footing with the Leafs, posting a solid 9-9-18 in 80 games.
Grabner and Stalberg have similar skill sets. They are both fast skaters, good on the penalty kill, and good on the forcheck. He’s not the 20-goal –or even 30-goal– guy he once was, but he’s still a solid depth forward for a team that needs speed. The fact that he’s on a decent contract helps too. The second year means he can be exposed in the expansion draft. That fact shouldn’t be overlooked.
The Rangers have signed defenseman Adam Clendening to a one year, two way deal, per Darren Dreger. Clendening is a right-handed defenseman that is more of a 7th or 8th defenseman. He spent most of last year with the Oilers (20 games), but also was with the Penguins organization for a few months.
The former second round pick has 50 NHL games, with a line of 2-9-11. This is a depth signing, replacing one of the many departed players in Hartford.
The Rangers have acquired defenseman Nick Holden from Colorado in exchange for a 2017 4th round pick. The 6’4″, 210 lb defenseman put up 6-16-22 in 81 games with the Avs this past year while posting pretty solid possession numbers on a bad team. The 29-year-old defenseman has two years remaining on his deal at $1.65 million per season.
The deal is interesting, as it seems to foreshadow a move to come on the left side of the defense. While the Rangers are going to be unable to replace the production of Keith Yandle, Holden is a quality defenseman, if under appreciated in Colorado.
The Rangers and Keith Yandle are officially parting ways, killing the hopes of many fans that this club will actually make moves to revamp the horrible blue line. Yandle’s negotiating rights were dealt to the Florida Panthers for a sixth round draft pick in this year’s draft and a conditional pick (4th in 2017if he re-signs with Florida, if he signs). A sixth round pick.
Yandle was the only defenseman on this club who moved the puck consistently and efficiently. He was also the only one capable of actually exiting the zone properly. But yet he’s gone. The Rangers are left with McDonagh-Klein, Skjei-McIlrath, and Staal-Girardi on the blue line.
Jeff Gorton, you have a lot of work to do. But….a sixth round pick? Thanks.
In a roughly translated article, s/t to HockeyStatMiner for the link, the Hartford Wolf Pack appear to have signed defenseman/winger Ahti Oksanen to a one-year deal. Since this is an AHL deal, Oksanen will not compete for a spot with the Rangers, and this is more of a year-long tryout with the big club. His contract does not count towards the 50 contract limit.
Josh has been all over Oksanen lately, and this appears to be him getting his wish. Oksanen has been linked to the Rangers for a while, and it’s good to see they are giving him a shot.
Oksanen put up 15-21-36 in his senior year at BU, a year after putting up 25-13-38. If he develops, he could be a sleeper for the Rangers and a big win.
The Rangers have re-signed defenseman Chris Summers to a one-year, two-way contract. Summers has been a depth defensemen for the Rangers since being acquired from Arizona in the Keith Yandle deal, playing a total of six games for the Rangers in that season and a half.
Summers carries a cap hit of $600,000 at the NHL level. His salary will be $300,000 at the AHL level.
The Rangers have agreed to terms with Pavel Buchnevich, a third round pick in 2013 (for real this time). Buch is one of the most highly touted prospects in the Rangers system in a while, and has comparable KHL numbers to Evgeny Kuznetsov and Vladimir Tarasenko, although on the lower end of those trio.
Buch is expected to compete for a roster spot next year, likely on the third line. It’s important to note that even though Buch is incredibly skilled and likely to make the NHL, he is still just a kid. Tarasenko had 8 goals (38 games) in his rookie season, Kuznetsov had 11 in 80 games.
With Buchnevich in the fold, the Rangers can turn their attention to more pressing issues, like how to manage their cap situation with important players hitting some form of free agency. But at least they got this one move right.