Free agency is upon us, and the Rangers will see four key players test out the market. Brian Boyle, Anton Stralman, and Benoit Pouliot all seem destined to cash in big elsewhere, while Dominic Moore is still hoping (along with the rest of us) to remain in New York. There are a lot of rumors out there, so let’s go through all of them before the click strikes twelve.
Considering the $69 million cap, I think Carter, Fayne or Tom Gilbert, and Mikhail Grabovski are the realistic targets that can fill holes, improve the team, and leave competition for kids.
Per Larry Brooks, the Rangers may target ex-Devils Mark Fayne (27-year-old right-handed defenseman) and Ryan Carter (30-year-old left-handed center). It is assumed that Carter could feasibly replace the minutes played by the soon-to-be-departed Brian Boyle, and Fayne could replace the minutes played by the surely-to-receive-a-ridiculous-contract Anton Stralman.
Looking at Fayne first, compared to Stralman, there’s a noticeable difference in relative CF% and in quality of teammates. Fayne would more or less be a poor-man’s Stralman. The good thing is that Fayne is 6’3″ and 215 lbs, so he’s a big body that the Rangers could really use on the blue line. He can also move pretty well for a guy his size. That said, he’s not a bruiser. Here’s how he compares with Tom Gilbert, another potential poor-man’s Stralman.
As for Carter, we know him well from the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. He did pretty well in a mismatch against the Rangers fourth line. He’s got some speed, some nastiness, and some halfway decent size (6’1″, 200 lbs). He can chip in offensively too. Here’s how he compares to Boyle. For the fun of it, here’s how he compares to Boyle and Dominic Moore.
Halverson (Photo: OHL Images)
The Rangers went into the 2014 draft with four picks, and wound up making seven selections. They acquired the extra picks by dealing Derek Dorsett to Vancouver and trading down twice in the fourth and fifth rounds. Considering it wasn’t a particularly deep draft, in that there were few impact players, the Rangers made some good selections to not only restock the prospect cupboard, but address organizational needs within the system. It’s worth noting that most of these picks are project picks, and will take around three or four years to develop.
Brandon Halverson (G, Soo Greyhounds, OHL – 2nd round)
Halverson is one of the two picks that intrigue me the most. Goalie was a big position of weakness in the system, and Halverson was the first of two goalies taken by the Rangers. He didn’t get much playing time in OHL last season because he was backup, but he will be main guy this year. At 6’4, Halverson is certainly a big kid. Corey Pronman says he is big, athletic, and an elite puck handler. Vic Carneiro (Director of Player Personnel for the Greyhounds) mentioned he’s like having an extra defenseman, and a very good goalie. Halverson does need to fill out a bit, and will attend the US WJC camp this year. Overconfidence in his puck handling has been an issue, but it should right itself as he plays more.
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According to Norweigan reports, RFA winger Mats Zuccarello is more interested in staying with the Rangers and winning than he is with getting top dollar. Per the translated article, Zuccarello is looking for 3-4 years on his contract, but doesn’t want to hamstring the Rangers with his salary. Naturally talk is one thing, but if Zucc follows through and signs a team-friendly deal, then this helps the Rangers retool in an offseason where they will see significant turnover.
Update 6/30: Per Katie Strang, Kristo, Bourque, and Missiaen received QOs in the AHL.
Original Post: As expected, all restricted free agents received qualifying offers. Justin Falk did not receive a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent on July 1. No formal announcement has been made about the AHL RFAs. The qualifying offer amounts are listed below.
Per Darren Dreger, the Rangers will be among five teams that will submit a two-year offer for Dan Boyle. Submitting a multi-year offer for a 35+ player is incredibly risky, especially when it looked like Boyle lost a step this year with San Jose. The Rangers need to get some more physicality into their game, but not at the expense of speed. I’d be wary of this one at even strength, but Boyle can still put up points with the man advantage. He may need sheltered minutes though.
Spezza could be an option
I think most of this fan base understood that Richards needed to be bought out. It was certainly something I pushed for last summer and I fully support the move. However, the obvious downside to this decision is now we have a major hole on our roster that needs to be filled.
Assuming the Rangers want to keep Stepan as a 1 or 2c and Brassard as a 2 or 3c, finding another secondary center appears to be the route we’re going to take. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot available. At least no one that I’d consider an ideal candidate.
Here are the few options that will be available this summer and what they would likely cost us should we chose to pursue them.
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Apologies for the tardiness on this one, it was a gorgeous weekend and we spent it outside after the draft. But, in case you haven’t heard, Larry Brooks is reporting that the Rangers would like to keep Dominic Moore, but don’t want to pay him at his current demands. Moore is currently looking for a three-year deal at somewhere between $1.6 and $1.85 million, per Brooks. That’s Brian Boyle money, and since Boyle will be departing the Rangers for sure, there seems to be no reason why the Rangers wouldn’t keep Moore. He would be the only returning member of one of the best fourth lines in hockey, he is their prime penalty killer, and he can chip in offensively as well.
If this is a cap issue, and there may be a slight one for the Rangers at a $69 million cap, then so be it. It may also be a “kids” issue, as Jesper Fast and Oscar Lindberg appear ready to make the jump. Perhaps J.T. Miller is ready as well (less likely). Whatever the reason, the Rangers are looking at replacing their entire fourth line this offseason.
The Rangers released the 2014 Prospect Camp roster last night. As always, the roster includes current prospects, 2014 draftees, and undrafted free agents.
- C: Nickolas Latta, Vinni Lettieri, Kevin Rooney, Michael St. Croix, Adam Tambellini, Steven Fogarty, Matt Neal, Eric Neiley
- LW: Anthony Duclair, Chris McCarthy, Bryan Moore, Richard Nejezchleb
- RW: Pavel Buchnevich, Kevin Duane, Ryan Haggerty, Keegan Iverson, Michael Kantor, Logan Nelson, Josh Nicholls.
Defense: Calle Andersson, Justin Baker, Travis Brown, Mat Bodie, Luke Curadi, Troy Donnay, Spiro Goulakis, Ryan Mantha, Vojtech Mozik, Tyler Nanne, Sam Noreau, Brady Skjei, Daniel Walcott, Petr Zamorksy
Goaltending: Brandon Halverson, Matt O’Connor, Mackenzie Skapski, Colin Stevens
The one curious omission is Boo Nieves, the Rangers 2012 2nd round pick.
The Rangers started the 2014 NHL draft with just four picks (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th), but eventually made six selections (2nd, 3rd, 4th, three 5ths) in the draft. We will be taking an in-depth look at the selections, but here is a brief summary of the past two days (live blogs here and here):
- Traded Derek Dorsett to Vancouver for a 3rd round pick (#85 overall).
- Selected goaltender Brandon Halverson with their 2nd round pick (#59 overall).
- Selected center Keegan Iverson with a third round pick (#85 overall).
- Traded a third round pick (#89 overall) to Washington for a pair of fourth rounders (#104 and #118).
- Selected defenseman Ryan Mantha with a fourth round pick (#104 overall).
- Selected goaltender Igor Shesterkin with a fourth round pick (#118 overall).
- Traded a fourth round pick (#119 overall) to Tampa Bay for a pair of fifth round picks (#140 and #142).
- Selected RW Richard Nejezchleb with a fifth round pick (#122).
- Selected defenseman Daniel Walcott with a fifth round pick (#140)
- Selected defenseman Tyler Nanne with a fifth round pick (#142)