Looks like Erik Christensen has won the battle for the final roster spot. Sean Avery will be waived by the New York Rangers. Avery was a healthy scratch for the last two preseason games, and many, including myself, thought it was so that cocah John Tortorella could get a longer look at what they had in Christensen. It turns out that they liked what they had in Christensen, even if his blown defensive coverage led to the decisive goal during yesterday’s game.
Avery will be waived and can be sent to the CT Whale. His days in New York were numbered, but I don’t think anyone expected them to be over before the season even started.
Update 11:30am: While I am not a fan of Christensen (he is way too inconsistent and seems complacent in his own end), I can see his value in the shootout. Avery did nothing to earn a spot on the team. Avery’s cap hit made him the easier cut, and Christensen is the lesser of two dead-weight evils.
For a complete breakdown of the pros and cons of Sean Avery’s departure, click here.
The Rangers weathered the proverbial storm in the first period against HC Slovan, and came out on top of the Slovakian team 4-1 in Bratislava. Let’s get to the bullet points.
- Mats Zuccarello had another strong game. He already solidified his roster spot, but he may be a dark horse to wind up on the top line if Wojtek Wolski falters.
- Stu Bickel looked pretty good, despite his penalty. I am going to call him Pickle at least once per game this year though.
- What a play by Brandon Prust on Artem Anisimov’s short handed tally. Prust knocked down a Slovan behind the net, took the puck, and dished it to Artie in front of the net, who pretty much had ten seconds to bury it. The goal was Artie’s, but the work was done by Prust.
- The first powerplay unit of Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, and Michael Del Zotto looked pretty good. Richards had a nice play to get the puck to Zuc for his goal.
- The second unit had some fancy passing too, and was a pretty nice surprise. Dan Girardi made a nice pass to Brian Boyle in front of the net for his chip in goal.
- Despite the win, the Rangers looked very sloppy in the first period. They were getting out skated, out shot, and out performed in every aspect of the game. They were lucky to only be down 1-0 after the first.
- This is the second straight game where the Rangers took way too many penalties against inferior opponents. That needs to stop.
- There is one more preseason game in Switzerland before the Rangers open their season in Sweden.
Also, Dale Weise
was placed on waivers today, which confirms that he was not on waivers yesterday. It’s still unknown why the Rangers waited a day to waive him. I’ll assume they were trying to trade him, but couldn’t find any takers.
In a bit of surprising yet unsurprising news, no claims were put in for any of the players placed on waivers over the weekend. That means Pavel Valentenko cleared waivers and can be assigned to the CT Whale. I said that if anyone were to be claimed on waivers, it would be Tenk, but it’s good to see he is still with the organization.
Also clearing was Wade Redden, but that was expected.
To explain waivers a little bit at a high level: it was implemented to prevent teams from trapping players in their minor leagues. When a player is waived, the 29 remaining teams have the ability to put in a claim for the player before he is sent to the AHL. Waiver priority is based on record (worst record gets top priority), and if none of the 29 teams put in a claim, the player goes to the AHL. This is how the Rangers acquired Erik Christensen.
Waiver eligibility is defined on a series of parameters, but centers around the year and age that a player signs their entry level contract (ELC), and the number of NHL games played up through that point. If a player crosses a certain games played or years since ELC threshold (which ever comes first), then he is no longer exempt from waivers. Games played can be met in the middle of the season. Note that two-way contracts have absolutely nothing to do with waivers, as two-way contracts only dictate financial terms.
The breakdown is below:
- ELC signed at 18 years old: first of 5 years since signing the deal or 160 NHL games played.
- ELC signed at 19 years old: first of 4 years since signing the deal or 160 NHL games played.
- ELC signed at 20 years old: first of 3 years since signing the deal or 160 NHL games played.
- ELC signed at 21 years old: first of 3 years since signing the deal or 80 NHL games played.
- ELC signed at 22 years old: first of 3 years since signing the deal or 70 NHL games played.
- ELC signed at 23+ years old: first of 3 years since signing the deal or 60 NHL games played.
When a player is no longer exempt from waivers, he can no longer be sent down or called up without passing through waivers. This generally plays into roster decisions made in the preseason. This also plays into who gets called up from the AHL in the event of an injury.
I have written two posts about the waiver concerns of Michael Del Zotto and Mats Zuccarello, and have received numerous requests about (insert player here). So, I decided to just compile a list of the players signed to contracts and broke them into three categories: Exempt From Waivers, Not Exempt From Waivers, and Special Cases (players that will cross their games played threshold during the season). In the not exempt from waivers list, I bolded the ones likely for a call up when the season starts. I also added this information as a new page, and you can access it by clicking the “Waivers” link at the top. The full list is after the jump.
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The NHL waiver wire normally gets a bump in action as the trade deadline approaches as teams try to create flexibility both in salary and roster spots. Today’s waiver action has some intriguing names in former Rangers as Nik Zherdev and Ales Kotalik along with Marek Svatos and Buffalo Sabres captain Craig Rivet.
The most intriguing of those names from a talent standpoint is obviously Zherdev who elicits very strong opinions on both sides from Rangers fans at the mere mention of his name. The 26-year-old winger is currently on 1 year $2 million dollar deal with Philadelphia and has 15 goals, four assists in 47 games this year. There are certainly flaws in Zherdev’s game and questions about his commitment still linger, but for a team like New York that has a talent deficiency and is without their most talented sniper, taking a no-risk chance on Zherdev has to be intriguing.
The frustration with Zherdev and his inconsistency is there for everyone who watched him play and that has not gone away or he would not be on the waiver wire today. I would frame the debate slightly differently and look at the Rangers current roster and our own frustrating talent but little results player, Erik Christensen. You ask me right now whether I take a chance on Christensen doing something productive or Zherdev and I take Zherdev every time. People forget that in his one season here he was tied for the team scoring lead with his 58 points so it is not like he did not produce overall and certainly at a better rate than the Christensen’s we keep throwing out there now.
The only hesitation I have on Zherdev is the way he and Tortorella related when Z was here the first time. Zherdev’s lack of attention in the defensive zone put him in the doghouse nearly immediately and he never got out. For that reason I do not think the Rangers will make the claim to take the risk on the talent, but I believe they should. Seriously, the worst thing that could come from making the move is that it busts and he gets benched or waived.
The other name that might cause some interest for the Rangers is Craig Rivet. Rivet, 36, is a 16-year NHL veteran who has seen very little playing time this season. He has clearly fallen out of favor in Buffalo and has been a healthy scratch for the past 16 games while they have been moving to a somewhat younger defensive unit. I am not big on Rivet as a player at this point, but he would fill the checklist for a veteran defender who could provide leadership and he wouldn’t cost any assets unlike McCabe.
Obviously you are also not going to get the upside of McCabe, but this could be a more expensive version of last year’s Anders Eriksson move where you bring in a guy you can trust just to eat third pair minutes and help balance out the minute distribution. In all honesty I don’t see how it is better than just playing Eminger, but for whatever reason he has clearly fallen into the doghouse with Torts, so maybe they look at Rivet. Another low-risk gamble type move, but low reward here as well I feel.
Svatos has no interest for me as the Rangers do not need another small forward and he has never regained the form he had his first year. Kotalik is a heck no.
When the Rangers waived centers Todd White and Tim Kennedy yesterday, many assumed that one or both would be claimed, especially Kennedy, who comes very cheap. However, both cleared waivers. Since both have cleared waivers, their salaries ($2.375 for White, $550,000 for Kennedy) are removed from the Rangers cap. The Rangers have 30 days to assign them to the AHL, or else their salaries will be added back to the cap, and they will both need to clear waivers again.
As expected, the Rangers have placed centers Vinny Prospal and Chris Drury on injured reserve. Their salaries will remain on the books, but the Rangers will be allowed to go over the salary cap ceiling, if necessary, by their combined salaries. The total amount the Rangers are allowed to be over the cap is the prorated amount of both players salaries for the number of days spent on IR. With two of the three on ice leaders out, it’s going to be interesting to see who gets the temporary A’s.
Derek Stepan won the Lars-Erik Sjoberg award, as voted on by the Rangers press, for the top rookie in camp. This was probably the easiest vote for the award in history.
As per Larry Brooks, defenseman Wade Redden will be placed on waivers today at noon. It looks like the Rangers have found his replacement in either Ryan McDonagh, Michael Sauer, Garnet Exelby, Alexei Semenov, or any of the other young defensemen. Redden was given an ultimatum at the end of last season, saying show up ready to play, or be sent to the AHL. It looks like he either wasn’t ready to play, or the defenseman has just seen the new NHL pass him by. So long Wade.
Some quotes from GM Glen Sather, as per Andrew Gross:
“It’s always difficult changing somebody’s life but you have to do what’s right for the team.”
“There was no sense waiting to waive Wade Redden, wants to give younger players more of a chance”
Glen Sather told Wade Redden after last season unless he came back “and really got off to a great start” this would happen.
Update 10:45am: As per Andrew Gross, Redden will be considering his options for a few days before making a decision. He can look into playing in Europe/Russia, he can retire, he can refuse the assignment, or he can show up in Hartford, where Sather has guaranteed him playing time. If he shows up in Hartford, he’s going to have to refrain from being a locker room cancer, no matter how disgruntled he is. Oh happy days!
Redden has four years at a $6.5 million cap hit per year. He makes $6.5 million this year and next, and $5 million the following two years.
Several Twitter posts have said the Rangers waived Donald Brashear, Aaron Voros, and Patrick Rissmiller. There are rumors of them being bought out, but the only one that makes sense to buyout from a salary cap perspective would be Voros. Rissmiller hasn’t been with the team since he signed his contract, and a buyout would just add an unnecessary cap hit. A Brashear buyout won’t save any money, as he is on an over-35 contract. A Voros buyout would result in a $400,000 cap hit this season ($600,000 savings), and a $300,000 cap hit next season, when Voros would be off the books.
I do not believe these players were waived for potential buyouts, but waived to create cap room. Waiving Brashear saves the Rangers $100,000, and Voros saves the Rangers $1 million. Waiving Rissmiller is a technicality, as his salary has never counted against the Rangers cap hit. That’s $1.1 million saved by waiving them. It’s a simple matter of clearing cap space, much like what the Rangers did at the trade deadline.
Still posting from my phone. Enver Lisin and Aaron Voros have been waived.
Via Larry Brooks, the Rangers have claimed backup goalie Alex Auld off re-entry waivers from the Stars. The team will assume a $500,000 cap hit with the move, which saves them about $350,000 compared to carrying Chad Johnson.
Auld, 29, will be a free agent after the season, and is 9-6 with a 3.00 GAA and a 0.894 SV% in 21 games this year. Dallas had no place for him following their pickup of Kari Lehtonen. It’s hard not to like the move, the Rangers freed up some cap space, got a veteran backup, and can let Johnson and Matt Zaba continue to play regularly in Hartford.