There has been a flurry of activity today around the league ahead of the pending free agency madness.
Chicago trades F Brandon Saad and prospects to Columbus for Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Jeremy Morin, Corey Tropp and a fourth-round pick. 22-year-old Saad is a RFA and, according to reports, is looking for a long-term contract in the ballpark of 6M per year. Chicago, who are in a bit of a cap bind, got a good return for the power forward. Dano tallied 21 points in his rookie season after being a 2013 first round pick and Morin makes his return to Chicago after a trade to Columbus last season. Saad is a big, powerful forward with good scoring ability (23-29-52 during the regular season, 8-3-11 during the Cup run, winning his second Stanley Cup) who may grow to be a nuisance in the Metropolitan Division for years to come.
Vancouver trades D Kevin Bieksa to Anaheim for a 2016 second-round pick. Bieksa has spent his 10-year career as a Canuck, and is set to make $2.5M next year in the last year of his contract. This may be the writing on the wall for Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin, one of the few unrestricted free agents who was expected to make moves beginning tomorrow.
Anaheim names Paul MacLean an assistant coach. MacLean was relieved of his duties of head coach in Ottawa in December. MacLean was with the Senators for three and a half seasons before being fired. He had a 114-90-35 record with the Senators and was 8-9 in the playoffs.
Got a few questions regarding free agency, which begins tomorrow at noon. Let’s have at it.
BrooklynVic asks: Do you think the Rangers move any other pieces when free agency reopens Wednesday?
There is a serious logjam on defense. Brady Skjei and Dylan McIlrath are going to be fighting for spots, and all six defensemen from last year are returning, or at least it appears that way. Something has to give. I’ve been saying the Rangers are going to trade Kevin Klein, since he is the most easily moved, and I still believe that to be the case. However, with Carl Hagelin in Anaheim, the Rangers don’t need to move him right away. They can wait until camp, see how the kids perform, and go from there.
And no, I don’t think they are moving Tanner Glass.
The New York Rangers qualified eight of their nine RFAs yesterday, meaning they will retain the rights to those eight players when free agency opens on July 1. The one RFA they did not qualify was defenseman Conor Allen, who will become a UFA. The eight RFAs qualified: Derek Stepan, J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast, Emerson Etem, Dylan McIlrath, Mat Bodie, Marek Hrivik, and Oscar Lindberg.
Let’s have a gander at the grades for the Rangers’ top two forward lines shall we?
Rick Nash’s overall season can be argued both as a positive and a negative. Indeed, there are few players that have divided opinion the way Nash has since he became a Ranger. A season that featured notable career highs but that was offset by another underwhelming postseason, things went as far as culminating with Nash being considered prime trade material this offseason. Hardly the appreciation you’d expect for a 42 goal player and early season Hart Trophy candidate. The problem is that Nash, like many Rangers, is now judged primarily on what he does after the regular season and this is where he failed to live up to both his regular season production and significant salary.
Nash needs to be a leader, the go-to guy offensively and in the postseason that didn’t happen nearly enough. Nash lacked postseason consistency, was never close to being his dominant regular season self and as the Rangers went quietly into the offseason, tellingly, so did Nash. Once again, despite solid numbers the microscope will firmly be on Nash come October. Despite the disappointing end, Nash finished in the top ten for the Hart trophy. Grade: B
Apparently the Florida Panthers were only rumored to have offered Jimmy Hayes for Cam Talbot. That is not confirmed. What appears to be confirmed is their offer of a pair of 3rd rounders and a 5th rounder for Talbot:
– The Florida Panthers offered two third-round draft picks and a fifth-rounder for New York Rangers goalie Cam Talbot, but finished runner-up in that chase to the Oilers. The Panthers may have been offering restricted free-agent forward Jimmy Hayes, whose brother Kevin plays in New York, too. “I guess they wanted Cam to play out west,” said Florida GM Dale Tallon.
The Rangers got a 2nd, 3rd, and 5th for Talbot, which is a better deal than what Tallon had on the table. The whole Jimmy Hayes stuff is still unfounded rumormongoring.
As for the Rangers prospect camp, here is the roster:
While the disappointment of Carl Hagelin’s (necessary) departure still lingers for some, something might have been forgotten. The Rangers you may recall, have a rather talented NHL ready prospect, on deck, waiting for his chance. Thanks to the Hagelin trade, the path should now be clear for Oscar Lindberg’s arrival in New York.
Lindberg has been ready for a while, a fact only emphasised by his impressive AHL playoff performances this spring (16 points in 15 games). The main problem may have been finding an appropriate spot in the Rangers line-up suitable for Lindberg’s skill set. So is it a case of exit Hagelin, enter Lindberg?
In case you missed it, the New York Rangers traded both Cam Talbot and Carl Hagelin during the 2015 NHL Draft. The return for Hagelin was Emerson Etem and the #41 pick on Saturday. The return for Talbot was three picks on Saturday. While most of this post is going to analyze the Hagelin/Etem swap, I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least first cover the Talbot trade.
While many rumors pointed to the Rangers getting a much bigger haul for Talbot, it’s not surprising that the Rangers landed what they did. Rumors went from a top-15 pick to a 1st round pick to a pair of seconds and a prospect to just about anything. This is why they are rumors and not reported facts. In the end, Talbot is a 27 year old pending UFA with just 57 games under his belt. Yes, he played very well, but goalies are weird. He could be great, he may not be. Without certainty, both on the ice and with his contract, the value was going to take a hit.
The Talbot trade comes off as a disappointment not because of the return, but because of the rumors heading into the draft. The reaction on the Hagelin trade was entirely different.
Well, the day I have been looking forward to since the Rangers got eliminated is officially over. I will be brutally honest here, this wasn’t a great draft for the Rangers in my personal opinion, but it was still nice and I am more happy about this one than last year’s. My ideal plan for the draft was to go for whichever player had the most skill, something teams like Toronto and Philly did. Even though the Rangers didn’t necessarily do that, I have faith in Gordie Clark and am pretty happy with guys we took today.
Ryan Gropp- Gropp was a player that I wasn’t expecting to be available by the time the Rangers picked, but he is a nice player. My only gripe about him is that the Rangers didn’t draft the more skilled player in Sprong instead. That said, Gropp is a very solid pick and has a pretty nice chance to make the NHL. He has good size at 6’2, 183 lbs, but he brings more to the table. Gropp is a really swift skater and has a wonderful shot for a kid his age.
The New York Rangers have acquired their backup goalie, grabbing Antti Raanta from Chicago in exchange for forward prospect Ryan Haggerty. Haggerty, 22, was an undrafted free agent signing for the Rangers. He impressed a few in camp, but then struggled a bit throughout the season in Hartford, posting pedestrian numbers (15-18-33 in 76 games).
Raanta was the #3 goalie on the depth chart in Chicago, behind Corey Crawford and Scott Darling. Raanta is a capable backup, posting a .936 SV% and 1.89 GAA last season with the Hawks. He split time with the Hawks and Rockford of the AHL, where he put up a 2.18 GAA and a .918 SV%.
Raanta has one year left on his deal at a $750k cap hit.
Day One of the 2015 NHL Draft came and went last night, with the Rangers staying largely silent. There were rumblings of an eventual deal for Cam Talbot, but that was the only action we saw for the Rangers. It was a relatively boring night.
Day Two, however, was the complete opposite. The day opened with more Talbot rumors. But before the eventual Talbot deal could be made, the Rangers shocked their fan base by sending Carl Hagelin to the Anaheim Ducks for Emerson Etem. The trade also involved the Rangers moving up in the draft from #59 to #41, giving Anaheim the 59th and 179th picks. The Rangers grabbed forward Ryan Gropp with the 41st pick.
Minutes after making their selection, the Rangers then sent Talbot to the Edmonton Oilers for three draft picks. The Rangers got the 57th, 79th, and 184th picks. The Oilers also got the 209th pick in the deal.