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.
As expected for some time now, the Rangers have signed Ryan Malone to a one-year, two-way deal expected to be around $700,000, per Larry Brooks. This is a very low-risk signing, since the contract is two-way and will not have any cap implications should Malone need to be sent to the AHL. It also serves as competition for guys like Jesper Fast, J.T. Miller, Oscar Lindberg, Ryan Bourque, and Kevin Hayes.
As we found out last week, Anthony Duclair’s contract does not count towards the 50 contract limit if he is returned to the QMJHL (although it won’t slide and they will burn a year of it), thus the Rangers had room to add Malone.
Some quick notes on this Thursday morning:
- NHL.com released their top-60 prospects, and only one Ranger (Kevin Hayes) cracked the list at #49. That may seem a bit alarming, but it’s on par with what we’ve seen from other rankings. Although, it appears NHL.com’s list is heavy on who is closest to NHL ready, as top-end skill guys like Anthony Duclair and Pavel Buchnevich were noted as receiving votes. Brady Skjei also fell into that category.
- The Hartford Wolf Pack are rounding out their roster adding forward Vinny Saponari and defenseman Steve Spinell to AHL deals. Saponari spent the majority of last season with Cleveland in the AHL, putting up 15-18-33 in 58 games. Spinell spent last year primarily with the South Carolina in the ECHL after four years at Miami of Ohio, putting up 1-8-9 in 58 games. Both will be depth players, and do not count towards the 50 contract limit.
Glen Sather’s offseason list is complete. RFA defenseman John Moore has re-signed on a one-year, $850k deal (his qualifying offer). Moore put up a line of 4-11-15 last season, averaging 15:19 in ice time.
One interesting bit about the contract: This appears to be a “show me” deal for Moore. There are kids knocking at the door, specifically Brady Skjei next season, and he will need to show he can be a consistent third pairing defenseman in a short amount of time.
The Rangers have agreed to terms with RFA forward Ryan Bourque. Bourque broke out last season with the Hartford Wolf Pack, notching his first 20-goal season as a pro (21-16-37). Previously a defensive forward, Bourque plays solid hockey in all three zones, and could be a dark horse to make the NHL club out of camp. Bob Crawford mentioned he made incredible strides offensively last season, to go along with his solid defensively play.
The Hartford Wolf Pack have announced the signing of center Ryan Potulny to an AHL contract. Potulny is a career AHLer, but has 126 games of NHl experience since the 2005-2006 season. Potulny will help the Wolf Pack with their depth up front, which was a serious issue this past season.
Since Potulny is signed to an AHL deal, his contract will not count towards the 50 NHL contract limit.
There are multiple reports that the Rangers have re-signed RFA center Derick Brassard to a five-year deal worth $25 million ($5 million cap hit). The deal will keep their second line center in blue until the age of 31. Brassard found chemistry with linemates Mats Zuccarello and Benoit Pouliot last season, putting up a line of 18-27-45 in 81 games and another 6-6-12 in 23 playoff games. Brassard has decent metrics, driving puck possession, but his WOWY (puck possession of teammates with/without Brass) show that he may have benefited from his linemates more than his linemates benefiting from him.
That said, $5 million is fair market value for Brassard, giving the Rangers a much needed 2C in his twenties. There really isn’t much to complain about on this deal.
Per Elliotte Friedman, RFA center Derick Brassard is requesting $4.95 million in arbitration, while the Rangers have countered with $3.825 million. The gap here is larger than the gap for Chris Kreider’s arbitration numbers, but that isn’t really a barometer. The Rangers have a history of getting their RFAs under contract before arbitration, and this one will hopefully be no different. The middle ground here is $4.5 million, which is right where I ballparked him.
While $4.5 million may seem a bit steep for Brassard, let’s remember that 2C’s are pulling in $5-$6 million lately. It may hurt this year, but the cap is expected to hit $75 million next year and $80 million the year after. When looking at those numbers, $4.5 million is a steal.
The Rangers have re-signed Chris Kreider to a two-year bridge deal, worth $2.35 million in the first year and $2.6 million in the second year ($2.475 million cap hit). Kreider finally had his breakout season, putting up 17-20-37 in 66 games after being called up early in the season by the Rangers. Kreider also put up 5-8-13 in the playoffs after missing the first round and a half with a broken hand.
Kreider has been an interesting prospect. With elite talent, he has as high a ceiling as any forward prospect we’ve seen in New York since Tony Amonte. Problem is that he still hasn’t put it all together yet, which drove his cost down a bit. Last year was a solid year for the kid, but he needs to build on this past season and show he can consistently be a first line contributor to get the big bucks.
Sorry we are late here, but you know, life. Anyway, the Rangers have re-signed Mats Zuccarello to a one-year deal at $3.5 million, a bargain that really helps the cap-strapped Rangers. Zucc was the Rangers leading scorer this year on a one-year, $1.15 million deal, one of the best bargains in the NHL. There is some concern about the fact that this is a one-year deal, but it wouldn’t shock me if this is done in the mold of Henrik Lundqvist’s one-year deal way back when. If you remember, Hank signed a one-year deal at a discount before signing his six-year, $41.25 million deal in January.
The reason for this is that any extension signed in January would kick in for the following year, thus a bit of a loophole in the CBA. It allows the Rangers to have some flexibility with the cap while still giving Zucc a much deserved raise. It also allows Zucc –if I’m right here– to negotiate in January for the deal he would get as a UFA.