Well, the New York Rangers stayed quiet for the most part, making primarily depth signings to fill out the roster. Let’s break down each move the Rangers made yesterday.
Front office moves
For those that missed it, Glen Sather stepped down as General Manager, but will remain as team president. Jeff Gorton is now the GM, and Jim Schoenfeld has been promoted to Senior VP, Assistant GM, and GM of the Hartford Wolf Pack. This was a move that came as a surprise, but had been speculated for a while. Gorton had been running most of the day to day by this point, so I think the move is more of a formality. That said, it was the biggest move the Rangers made yesterday, which is a good thing.
Worth noting here: Pre-lockout Slats was pretty brutal, and we’ve all recognized that. But post-lockout Slats built this team from a laughing stock into a perennial contender. In ten post-lockout seasons, the Rangers went to the playoffs in nine seasons. They went to a pair of Eastern Conference Finals, and one Stanley Cup Final. He wasn’t perfect by any means, and there are some significant questions, but the end-result was the best era of New York Rangers hockey we’ve ever seen.
Viktor Stalberg – one year, $1.1 million
The New York Rangers were busy on the first day of free agency, but a change in the front office overshadowed all signings and trades for today. It has been speculated for a month now, but it has been officially announced that Jeff Gorton will replace Glen Sather as General Manager of the club. Slats will remain on as Team President, while Jim Schoenfeld has been promoted to Senior VP, Assistant General Manager, and GM of the Hartford Wolfpack.
Here is a quick round up of the moves Gorton made today:
- Signed winger Viktor Stalberg to a one-year, $1.1 million contract
- Signed defenseman Raphael Diaz to a one-year, $700k contract
- Traded a 2017 6th round pick to Nashville for goalie Magnus Hellberg
- Signed depth/AHL players Jayson Megna, Matt Lindblad, and Brian Gibbons
The live blog is still going, so keep up there for more moves from around the league.
Larry Brooks has reported that Glen Sather will be stepping down as the Rangers’ general manager. There is a conference call scheduled for 4pm today in which it is expected that Jeff Gorton will be introduced as the new GM.
Sather’s last move as GM was to sign former Rangers’ defenseman Raphael Diaz to a contract this morning. Diaz filled in nicely as the 7D during the 2013-14 season with New York.
Well, free agency is upon us. The Rangers don’t have much cap space to work with, as they still need to get Derek Stepan, Emerson Etem, J.T. Miller, and Jesper Fast under contract. When those four are signed, the Rangers will have 11 forwards and 6 defensemen, meaning they need a pair of forwards and a defenseman to fill out the roster.
That’s not to say they will go after free agents to fill those spots. It looks like the Rangers want to keep Matt Hunwick around as the 7D, who was pretty solid in that role last year. There are also a few kids –Brady Skjei, Dylan McIlrath, Oscar Lindberg, Ryan Bourque– vying for NHL spots next year. The holes in the roster may be filled by these kids, or they may be filled by a depth signing.
My guess is that the Rangers will look to add one depth forward via free agency on a one-year deal. Someone like Mike Santorelli or Shawn Horcoff, depending on price, are intriguing. Tomas Fleischmann is also a decent option.
Use this as your open thread for the day. Becky will be updating this with all signings across the league during the afternoon, and I will be back at night to do the night cap. There will be a blackout with no updates between 4:30-6pm EST.
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?