Archive for Transactions
Starting tomorrow, the Rangers will be allowed to sign Mats Zuccarello to a contract extension in accordance with a clause in the CBA that prevents teams from re-signing their players until January 1 after they agreed a one-year pact during the summer.
Zuccarello inked a one-year, $3.5 million deal in July despite interest by both sides in a longer term commitment, but the team had precious little cap space, so there was a general understanding that they would revisit a multi-year deal once the new year hit. The Blueshirts were in a similar situation with Henrik Lundqvist back in 2007-2008, and they worked out a six-year, $41.25 million contract by mid-February.
The decision on Zuccarello’s future is more difficult than it was with The King. The all-time leading scorer amongst Norwegian-born players has admitted that his contract is weighing on his mind, but the Rangers might not be in a hurry to ease those concerns.
Though Zuccarello is a fan favorite and a creative player with outstanding vision, he’s occupying one of the key top-six wing spots that are suddenly very crowded. Rick Nash is a lock for one of those positions going forward, and Chris Kreider will also be given more time to round out his game. Talented youngsters J.T. Miller, Anthony Duclair and Pavel Buchnevich all also figure to be in the mix for permanent jobs going forward. The one wild card is Martin St. Louis.
The 39-year-old winger is still very productive and has made it clear he wants to finish his career in New York, but he’s also set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer. One would think the Rangers and St. Louis have an understanding that they’ll reach a series of short deals to keep him on Broadway as long as it’s beneficial for both sides, a la Teemu Selanne in Anaheim over the last several seasons. But St. Louis’ status could have a direct impact on Zuccarello.
Obviously it’s easy to see parallels between the two, starting with their size and extending to their similar roles as playmakers and power play specialists. Zuccarello has the huge advantage of being 12 years St. Louis’ junior, but St. Louis comes with a championship pedigree that is invaluable, especially when you consider the relative youth of the aforementioned wingers that figure to be his teammates moving forward.
Sather could deal Zuccarello before the trade deadline, but the return for an expiring contract isn’t going to be great, especially since Zuccarello figures to be interested in seeing what he could command on the open market if he doesn’t remain in New York. Plus, though some of those young wingers figure to make an impact over the next few seasons, none of them are would match Zuccarello’s contributions for this year’s playoff run.
Sather will likely stew on this decision for the next few weeks before deciding whether to dive into negotiations or pursue a Plan B, but eventually, something has to give.
What do you think the Rangers should do with Zuccarello?
Per Seth Rothman, the New York Rangers have signed backup goalie Cam Talbot to a one-year contract extension worth $1.45 million for next season. Talbot was set to be an unrestricted free agent next season after making $562,000 this season. Talbot took over the backup job after Thomas Hertl deked Martin Biron into retirement, and the 28-year-old has posted a 14-9-2 record with a 1.81 GAA, .936 SV%, and 5 shutouts.
As noted at Blueshirts United, the New York Rangers have agreed to terms with 15-year-old defenseman Chris Falzone on a one-day contract. Diagnosed with cancer during his freshman year of high school, Falzone was told he would never play hockey again after needing a full hip replacement. His treatment options changed, and he was placed in a semi-body cast in Philadelphia to heal. Falzone has healed completely and has since rejoined his hockey team, with tryouts for his high school team coming.
Per Larry Brooks, the New York Rangers are going to recall forward J.T. Miller for tomorrow’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Chris Kreider will be unavailable due to the death of his grandfather. This likely means Miller for Kreider will be the only lineup change after today’s blanking of the Flyers.
Our hearts and prayers are with the Kreider family.
The Hartford Wolf Pack have officially signed defenseman Tomas Kaberle to a professional tryout. It was reported yesterday that Kaberle reported to the Pack to play in a few games this weekend. The PTO is a formality that allows that to happen. Kaberle is not signed to an NHL deal yet.
The New York Rangers have placed defenseman Mike Kostka on waivers, as Dan Boyle is set to replace him in the lineup. Kostka’s stint in the lineup, first game and pair of epic turnovers aside, wasn’t terrible. He was a sub-50% possession player in 57% OZ starts, but he’s the 8D on the depth chart, so expectations are a part of why I say “wasn’t terrible.”
I doubt he gets claimed, so he’s likely Hartford bound.
The New York Rangers have assigned forward Ryan Malone and defenseman Conor Allen to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL. The club also recalled forward Jesper Fast, who put up 1-8-9 in 11 games with Hartford since his demotion last month.
Malone was waived earlier this month, cleared, but hung around with the club for a few days before this demotion. Allen didn’t look out of place, but the returning John Moore meant it was between him and Matt Hunwick. That move I don’t necessarily agree with, there was no harm in seeing what else Allen had. He had been better than both Hunwick and Mike Kostka. But hey, I’m a blogger.
For all intents and purposes, the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers swapped star wingers over two trades in the span of a year. The Rangers sent a package of players for Rick Nash in the summer of 2012. Eight months later, the Jackets sent a package of players to the Rangers for Marian Gaborik. It was rather comical, since it basically wound up being a Nash for Gaborik swap, but the other pieces turned out to be important as well.
July 24, 2012: Rangers send Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon, and a 2013 1st round pick to CBJ for Rick Nash, Steven Delisle, and a 2013 3rd round pick.
Starting with what the Rangers acquired, Nash has been a sore spot for people, and I don’t really see why. After putting up 21-21-42 in 44 games during the lockout shortened season, Nash suffered a pair of concussions in 2013-2014, limiting him to 65 games and a line of 26-13-39. The concussions affected his play on the ice, but Nash still managed to produce close to his career average in goals and SH%, he just did it from the perimeter instead of attacking the net. However, those issues appear to be behind him, as he has 10 goals in 12 games this year already.
The New York Rangers have assigned center Chris Mueller to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL. Mueller has filled in somewhat nicely as an injury replacement as the 4C on the club, notching a goal and an assist in seven games this year.
Mueller’s demotion means that Derek Stepan is likely good to go for Saturday’s game, which is fantastic news.
The New York Rangers have assigned defenseman Dylan McIlrath to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL. McIlrath was called up following injuries to Kevin Klein and Ryan McDonagh over the weekend. McIlrath filled a hole while Klein was out, but Klein is back and expected to play tonight, so McIlrath is headed back to Hartford. McIlrath had 9 PIMs on Monday.
Since Klein is coming back, the logical move was to send McIlrath to Hartford. I don’t think this was indicative of his play.