The storm before the calm? It’s fair to say that the free agency ‘frenzy’ that opens on Friday will be a lot less exciting following the handful of moves that shook the league on Wednesday. However, did PK Subban going west affect the Rangers? What does Taylor Hall in Jersey mean to the Rangers? Let’s take a look at some of Wednesday’s goings on.
PK Subban traded to Nashville for Shea Weber
One Norris trophy winner traded for a perennial Norris trophy contender. Everyone knew PK Subban was on borrowed time in Montreal. However most people assumed that if the Habs would move their (by far) best skater, it would be for young players, blue chip prospects and/or quality draft picks. In Shea Weber the Habs appear to have made change for changes sake. While Weber is slightly less mobile, not quite as dynamic but a monster with a monster shot and no doubt a quality defender, like Subban he too brings with him an onerous price tag for the long term.
So how does this influence the Rangers? It doesn’t really. The Habs still own an elite goaltender in Carey Price and they still have a bonafide number one defenseman patrolling their blueline. It will be other changes that the Habs make that will tell us how they measure up in relation to the Rangers. It will be interesting however to see how Weber acclimatises to the East.
Per Larry Brooks, the Rangers are trying to keep winger Viktor Stalberg, although the current asking price is too high for the cap strapped club. They are trying to get the price down, but it remains to be seen if they can actually retain one of their better free agent signings.
The Rangers signed Stalberg to a one-year, $1.1 million contract last summer as a “show me” deal, and Stalberg delivered. As one of the fastest and most consistent Rangers, Stalberg put up 9-11-20 in 75 games while playing predominately on the bottom-six.
Stalberg was one of the better possession forwards for the club as well, doing a solid job of both helping to generate shots and suppress shots against. He’s a typical Swede: A solid hockey player in subtle ways that helps his team win. At the right price, he’s a major asset to the Rangers depth at forward.
The 4pm hour was one of the most active hours in the NHL I’ve ever seen on a non-major day (draft, free agency, trade deadline). The first hammer fell when Taylor Hall was shipped to New Jersey for Adam Larsson. Larsson is a solid defenseman, but worth Taylor Hall, straight up? Not a chance. Edmonton got fleeced in this deal, and now the Rangers get to see him in the division. Lovely.
Then P.K. Subban went to Nashville for Shea Weber. Weber carries the big shot and goal totals, but Subban is easily the better defenseman. Subban drive possession and suppresses shots infinitely better than Weber. If you’re looking for your purely offensive defensemen, then Weber is your man. Subban plays a more complete game and still puts up the same point (not goal) totals as Weber. Also, David Poile turned Seth Jones and Shea Weber into Ryan Johansen and P.K. Subban. Wow.
Then Steven Stamkos re-upped in Tampa Bay for eight years at an $8.5 million cap hit. That is a big time home town discount for Stamkos. And luckily for the Rangers, it takes him off the market, meaning they won’t make bad trades to fit him in. Phew.
With the decision to let Keith Yandle go and the Rangers in position to dump more salary this week, it suddenly looks like New York may be a player in free agency once again. With Friday’s frenzy nearly upon us, here’s who the Rangers should look to add and who to steer away from.
Who they should target
Viktor Stalberg – If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Stalberg was inconsistent to start last season, but fit like a glove on the third line in the second half of the year. He didn’t produce enough to warrant a huge increase in salary, so the Rangers should be smart and bring Stalberg back for another go.
Brandon Pirri – I was extremely frustrated when the Blueshirts didn’t top Anaheim’s deal of a sixth-round pick for Pirri at the trade deadline, but sure enough the Ducks weren’t even high enough on Pirri to extend a just-over $1 million qualifying offer. Maybe I’m way off base with this one, but a 25-year-old former 20-goal scorer is definitely worth that money in my book. As a third-line scorer, Pirri would come much cheaper than Thomas Vanek and still has room to grow.
The Rangers seem to be one of a few teams inquiring about free agent winger Matt Martin, per Arthur Staple. Martin is set to walk away from the Islanders, as they have given way too much money to Casey Cizikas to keep one of their other fourth liners in the fold.
As for Martin, the price tag is uncertain at the moment, but assuming it’s a decent price –under $1.2 million for the cap-strapped Rangers– then he’d be a viable replacement for Tanner Glass.
The draft is finally over and we can begin traveling to the next checkpoint in this franchise’s 90th year in the NHL. First and foremost, sorry if the post may be a little late. I decided to let all of the picks settle in before I talk about them. Not only does that let me do more research and write with a leveled head but it also prevents any knee jerk reactions. I feel that this is very important because it would be pretty messed up to be harsh to a 17 year old on one of the biggest days in his life.
About the draft in general, it seemed like the Rangers lucked into some teams choosing goalies early, giving them more skater options to choose from. Considering the depth in net for this team, that was pretty wonderful. Also while I am happy with the picks, there are some guys that I wished we still drafted considering that they were available. Guys like Dmitri Sokolov,Vladimir Kuznetsov, Sebastian Aho, and Maxime Fortier.
Gripes aside, this draft gave me a lot of hope, as the Rangers are truly one of the best in drafting after round three over the last few years, especially when they go with the philosophy they had this year over the 2014 draft. Hopefully they realize not only the overwhelming support of this philosophy –drafting for skill and talent opposed to size and need– and its benefits, but also realize that they truly are a great drafting team.
On this episode of the Blue Seat Blogs-cast we discuss the draft, free agency, and our thoughts on the pivotal weeks ahead for the New York Rangers. As always you can find us right here, on Soundcloud, and on iTunes.
The Rangers have officially extended qualifying offers to eight of their RFAs.
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) June 27, 2016
These eight were expected to receive qualifying offers. Qualifying offers, for the amounts below, secure their rights, and guarantee compensation if one signs an offer sheet with another team.
The Rangers have announced the invitees to this summer’s prospect camp, which begins today.
The usual suspects –unsigned draft picks, AHL players on ELCs, overseas prospects– are on the list. There are a bunch of undrafted guys as well. I’m not going to pretend to know who the undrafted guys are. I’ll let Josh handle that.
This weekend the 2016 NHL Draft came and went, and while we don’t have much clearer of a picture regarding Rangers GM Jeff Gorton’s plans what we do know is that it’s going to be a wild ride. Still, Gorton’s track record with the Bruins and the comments he’s made so far can give fans some hope that this team is going to turn it around after a less than optimal campaign this past season.
Although the Rangers didn’t pick until the third round they made a prudent decision in taking OHL defenseman Sean Day. At 6 foot 2 and 228 pounds, Day brings size to the table, but more importantly he brings elite skating ability, with Rangers Director of Player Personnel Gordie Clark comparing Day’s movement to that of Paul Coffey’s. Day fell to the third round due to questions about his attitude and whether or not he could put all of his skills together, but has undeniable talent that could seriously pay off for the Rangers should he pan out. The pick certainly has risk attached to it, but the fact that the Rangers took a chance on the high-ceiling Day demonstrates that the Rangers know they need elite skating ability back on the blue line.