Posts tagged: Christopher Higgins

Higgins for Marchant?

The latest out of the rumor mill is that the Rangers are shopping Chris Higgins, and Anaheim is interested, dangling veteran and ex-Ranger (sort of, he played one game) Todd Marchant.

The cap space works out in the deal for this year (Higgins: $2.25 million, Marchant: $1.125 million), and the Rangers would actually gain about $1 million in the deal. The problem, of course, is that Marchant is signed through 2011, while Higgins’ contract expires this year.

The problem, of course, is next year, when Higgins would be off the books, but the Rangers would still have Marchant. In an off-season where they will need to resign both Marc Staal and Dan Girardi (maybe), I don’t see this happening.

Lisin Doubtful, Higgins on Top Line

As per SNY Rangers blog, citing Steve Zipay, whom I can’t access anymore thanks to Newsday charging for online content (really?), winger Enver Lisin is doubtful for tonight’s game against Vancouver after taking a shot off the foot against Boston on Sunday. Replacing him on the top line alongside Vinny Prospal and Marian Gaborik is the struggling Chris Higgins.

This is probably a move that has two meanings: 1) although he didn’t score, Higgins played a solid game against Boston. This is could be some sort of recognition of that, in an attempt to 2) get him on the scoreboard. It is no surprise that fans’ patience has been a little thin with Higgins. We all penciled him in for 20 goals, and 15 games into the season, he is one of four goalless Rangers. When the other three are Aaron Voros, Donald Brashear, and Michal Rozsival, it’s a little bit disturbing to put Higgins in that company. But, there’s a solid chance that this will work, as he’s playing with the two Rangers that average more than a point per game.

Also making the trip out west was Dane Byers, who will likely be filling in for the injured Donald Brashear. The rumor is that he injured his hand fighting Colton Orr way back when. If he produces, both on offense and in overall toughness, something the Rangers have lacked, we may be seeing a lot more than initially anticipated.

Dane Byers Recalled

The Rangers have recalled Dane Byers this afternoon, but there was no word on P.A. Parenteau being sent to Hartford. As per Steve Zipay’s twitter, Marian Gaborik, Sean Avery, and Chris Higgins are all out tonight. Gaborik is out because of his injury, and it’s safe to assume Higgins is out because he forgot how to play hockey, but the Avery benching is a bit of a surprise. It’s clearly because of either an injury or a benching, but as of now, no word on what the reason is.

Game 12: Rangers vs. Coyotes

Tonight, our beloved Blueshirts take on the surprisingly good Hamilton Phoenix Coyotes. The ‘Yotes are led by Shane Doan and Ed Jovanovski, their leading point scorers this season. The biggest surprise is Radim Vrbata, who got his money in Tampa, only to crash and burn, only to be resurrected in Phoenix (really?) and lead the team in goals with four. The 6-3-0 ‘Yotes will be a tough challenge, and if the Rangers look to right this ship, they will need to play smart.

There are many Ranger stories to discuss for this game, so let’s break it down a bit:

  • The Rangers are playing some pretty terrible hockey lately, and have lost three straight, albeit one in overtime. The Rangers’ problems stem from some pretty bad habits that have developed during the seven game win streak, specifically taking way too many lazy penalties, and no longer challenging the puck carrier to disrupt the opponents’ offensive flow. The Rangers are not a good enough team to win while taking seven penalties a game and playing passive defense. Mike Cammalleri’s OT winner on Saturday night really illustrated the second point, as he walked in essentially untouched, save for a Marian Gaborik poke check (sort of), and ripped a shot that Henrik Lundqvist had no shot against. The defense needs to step up, preferably before hitting the crease.
  • Chris Higgins and Brandon Dubinsky were benched for the entire third period against Montreal, each committing an egregious error that led to a goal. Dubinsky acknowledged he was upset, and will probably look to maintain control of the puck a little better.
  • Higgins, on the otherhand, has been downright awful so far this year, and, as Jeremy stated, his play is generating a lot of concern. He needs to play better, case closed.
  • Tonight marks the return of my old-favorite Ranger, Petr Prucha. Lauri Korpikoski is also making his return, but he didn’t have as much of an impact on the Rangers as Prucha did. Prucha was the first homegrown player since Mike York to score 30 goals in a rookie season, and we were all excited. Prucha’s numbers slipped with the addition of Brendan Shannahan, as Shanny took all of Pru’s PP time, but he still managed to net 22 goals that year. After that, he must have beaten Tom Renney’s dog to death or something, because he never saw the ice again. Pru should get a very warm welcome, and I sitting in Section 323 Row C, sporting my Prucha jersey (come say hi), to contribute to the welcome.

As for the lines, the Rangers are putting the Benched Brothers together with Ryan Callahan. Donald Brashear is no longer sore, and will be playing in place of Aaron Voros tonight. Expect a Tom Renney amount of line shakeups tonight, as our struggling Blueshirts look to find some sort of answer to the funk.

Game time is 7pm on MSG. If you’re going to the game, come say hi. Otherwise, use this thread to discuss the game. We had a lot of comments during the Canadiens game, and we definitely want to keep the chatter going. Enjoy the game.

What To Do With Higgins?

It’s abundantly clear now: Chris Higgins is struggling. Mightily. He was benched in the third period in his return to Montreal after weak forechecking, and a costly penalty. Torts benched him to send a message. He benched him for accountability. That makes Monday’s game against the Coyotes the most important of the year for Higgins.

I’m not expecting Higgins to break out against the ‘Yotes and score 3 goals. I don’t think Torts is. But, he needs to produce. He needs to get on the scoresheet. If not, a stint in the press box is needed. Try Evegeny Grachev on for size.

I think we all thought Higgins was going to score 20-25 goals. That seemed like a reasonable amount. But now, after 11 games, he’s scoreless. Only 2 assists. It’s time for Higgins to start producing. It’s time. Torts knows it. Hell, Higgins knows it. What do you think is the best course of action with Higgins?

Scoring: A Problem?

Before I start, I’d like to properly introduce myself: My name is Jeremy Fuchs and I’m really excited to join the team here at BlueSeatBlogs. A life long Ranger fan, I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on my beloved Blueshirts. You may have seen my other work on GiantsGab, or The Blog of Champions. Now that you know a little bit about me, let’s talk hockey.

Last year, all we heard about was scoring. Or the lack thereof. Scott Gomez didn’t (or couldn’t) fill the large shoes of Jaromir Jagr. Chris Drury was playing like a second or third line center, not a first. Markus Naslund, while solid, certainly didn’t set the world on fire. Nikolai Zherdev oozes talent, but can’t get it done on the ice.

As in typical Ranger fashion, they re-tooled in the offseason. They traded Scott Gomez to Montreal, getting Chris Higgins and promising blueliner Ryan McDonagh. Markus Naslund retired, Nik Antropov went to Atlanta, and Nik Zherdev went to the KHL. They signed Marion Gaborik to a mega deal. They signed Vinny Prospal and Ales Kotalik. On paper, this seems to make up and then some for the losses. Yet all I hear from fans is: Where’s the scoring? All I read about in season previews is: Where’s the scoring? Is it an issue? Or are we just too wary of Glen Sather to think he actually did a good job?

184. That’s how many goals the Rangers scored last year. In comparison, the Cup winning Penguins scored 255. Big difference. Well, how many goals can we project the Blueshirts to score this year?

Marion Gaborik: 32

If he’s healthy, he scores 40+ goals. However, I’m accounting for the fact that he might not stay healthy. I think 32 is a reasonable estimate.

Chris Drury: 24.

Hopefully, he’ll rekindle his magic with Kotalik.

Brandon Dubinsky: 16
Playing with Gabby should increase his outptut.

Sean Avery: 15

He scored 8 goals in 41 games. 15 in 81 sounds about right.

Chris Higgins: 24

Higgins was hurt last year, limiting his goal production to 12. I think he can double that if healthy, especially if he plays on a wing with Gaborik.

Ales Kotalik: 20

Scored 20 last year, too

Ryan Callahan: 28

28 might seem like a lot, but Callahan scored 22 goals last year, and was on fire at the end of the season, and in the playoffs. He’s a perfect fit for Tortorella’s system.

Vinny Prospal: 20

Scored 19 last year on a Tampa team in turmoil.

Artem Anisimov: 10

I don’t want to expect too much from the rookie, but he’s a goal scorer, and proved that in Hartford.

Donald Brashear:  2

Hey, it’s an improvement over Colton Orr

Brian Boyle: 5

That’s a nice number for a fourth line center.

Enver Lisin: 15

Lisin scored 13 in Phoenix. His speed is too tantalizing from him not to improve on that total, and he’ll flourish with Torts. He’ll score some on the Power Play as well.

Marc Staal: 8

I think he’s going to flourish in Tortorella’s system. He’ll be leading the rush a lot more.

Dan Girardi: 5

He’s got a very underrated shot.

Wade Redden: 5

I expect him to improve, and he was much better once Tortorella came on.

Michal Rosival: 8

If he just used that shot of his more, this total would be in double digits.

Matt Gilory: 5

He’s been very impressive in preseason duty.

Michael Del Zotto: 4

He’s a true power play QB. He’ll have a good number of assists as well.

So how many goals is that? 246. That’s a HUGE improvement over last year. I think the Gaborik addition, and the development of youngsters aids in the increase. And even if Gaborik gets hurt and only scores 10 goals, it’s  still 224 goals scored. Am I being a bit optimistic? Perhaps. But, it’s reasonable to think. This team is more well balanced. And judging from preseason games, they are a much better passing team. They attack, and they shoot the puck more.  If the Rangers get this goal amount, they will be a much better team. And with Lundqvist, it could lead to a deep playoff run.

Higgins in 12 Angry Mascots

Got this in my email a few days ago:

Newly acquired Christopher Higgins will make his New York stage debut on July 30 at Comix, performing in the sketch “12 Angry Mascots” starting at 7:30pm.

You can get more info about the show here. It’s supposed to be really funny.

This is my only post of the day, I’m way too busy for my own good at work.

Chris Higgins Signed (Update: Other NHL Signings)

See below for an explanation of the deal behind the long term deals.

Chris Higgins has agreed to terms with the Rangers. Higgins was an RFA, terms so far have not been disclosed. More later.

Update 4:40pm: Terms of the Higgins deal are still undisclosed, but as for other news: Alex Kovalev signed a 2 year/$10 million deal with Ottawa, and Francois Beauchemin signed a 4 year/$14 million deal with Toronto.

If I had to guess on the Higgins deal, I would say 2 years/$8 million. Just a guess though.

Update 7:00pm: The Higgins deal is for 1 year, $2.25 million, according to ESPN (so take it with a grain of salt).  Well below what I think most of us were anticipating for the rising young star.  Another thumbs up for Sather.  The one year deal gives the Rangers a lot of flexibility for the future.  And his track record with mid-to-long-term deals has not been great.  Kudos Slats, doing well so far this offseason

The Gomez Deal: Cap Analysis

Well, we all know that the Scott Gomez to Montreal deal was a salary dump. But how much of a dump? Gomez has a $7.357 million cap hit through 2013-2014.

Chris Higgins, an RFA, made $1.9 million last season, and it’s safe to assume he has been qualified for that amount. Considering how much time he missed last season, and his output from his previous seasons, it’s safe to assume that $3 million will be the going rate for him.

Doug Janik, well, he’s a journeyman, he won’t be back next season, unless it’s as the 7th defenseman, the Rangers have too much defense anyway. He would come cheap at roughly $500,000 though. That’s what you want from a 7th defenseman.

Ryan McDonagh is in college, just finishing up his sophomore year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He won’t be counting against the cap. I will be writing a prospect profile on him in the coming days.

Pavel Valentenko, well, if he comes to the US, he will start in Hartford. He bolted the AHL last year for the KHL, so it’s unlikely he will be back.

That’s a lot of words to just say this: The Rangers just gained $4 million in cap space*. They dealt from a strength (center) to fill a huge hole (LW), and they didn’t give up any prospects or current young NHLers. AND they freed up cap space. This trade was a huge win for Sather.

*-Actually number depends on the contract for Higgins, and if they sign Janik.

Just a note, I liked Gomez. I thought he would have done well under the Torts system with Avery and Callahan. But he was signed to be a leader, and he wasn’t leading, his contract was atrocious, and the Rangers needed to fill that hole. Good luck in Montreal Gomer.

As for the current lines, or my best guess at them:

Higgins-Drury-Zherdev
Avery-Dubinsky-Callahan
Korpikoski-Anisimov-
Byers-Boyle-Owens

Voros

Staal-Girardi
Rozsival-Redden
Gilroy-

Hank
Vally

Clearly, the Rangers have a need for a RW. They can go the RFA route (Drew Stafford, Ryan Clowe), the UFA route (Hossa, Kovalev, Knuble), the trade route (insert wild trade scenario here), or just see if they have someone in the system (Greg Moore, Dale Weise).

Personally, I would love to see Clowe in Ranger blue. But I don’t think the RFA route is a viable option. Without that 3rd round pick (used on Brian Boyle), the Rangers don’t have enough compensation for any RFAs (for more details, check the Cap Page).

My guess? Knuble, 1 year-$2.5 million.

As for that defense spot, it’s probably going to be one of Sauer / Potter / Sanguinetti.

All in all, it’s nice to have some cap room, eh?

Oh, almost forgot. The Rangers now have enough room to go after Hossa, and still keep Staal, Dubie and Cally long term.

Gomez for Higgins (UPDATE: Heatley (NOT) on his way)

That will shed some salary.

Wow. Way to go Slats.

More later, I’ll analyze the finances.

Guess this means no Heatley. Dubi stays for now.
Update 5:25pm: Details are in:

To Mtl: Gomez, Tom Pyatt, Mike Busto
To NYR: Higgins, Ryan McDonagh, Pavel Valentenko, Doug Janik

Salary dump, and a steal of one. Wow. Great job Slats.

Update 5:30pm: McDonagh was Montreal’s 1st round pick in 2007.

Update 5:35pm: Doug Janik in the deal too. Oh, and the details are on TSN, duh.

Update 5:53pm: Carp is reporting that Heatley is on his way (thanks Mike):

UPDATED, 5:31 P.M.: I’ve been told that Heatley is coming to the Rangers tonight. Not sure what the Rangers are giving up to get him, but they can fit him under the cap now.

Update 6:15pm: Lost in all this is the Rangers getting McDonagh, who was the Canadians best prospect. Sather absolutely fleeced Montreal.

Update 6:20pm: Expect more wheelin and dealin:

GLEN SATHER:

“We’ve got lots of cap room now, and it opens lots of options.”

Thinks Higgins will be a goal-scorer … was hurt three times last year. Likes the other two kids as future NHL players, too.

“Torts has talked about the young guys all year and we wanted to make some room for them, and we did.”

“Since this deal happened I’ve had three calls (from other teams), and it doesn’t take long for people to realize you’re going to make some changes.”

Update 8:50pm: It looks like the wheelin and dealin was just the Gomez deal. Doesn’t look like Heatley is coming to New York. I would rather the Rangers spend the cap space on a free agent scorer instead of dealing for one.

Just imagine how much more cap room they would have if they didn’t sign Redden. Sigh.