Posts tagged: Corey Potter

Four Big Rangers Cap Bargains

If you follow me on Twitter, then you saw some tweets about the four players that currently are in the Rangers organization that will provide the team with some much needed cap bargains. Those four players are Corey Potter, Erik Christensen, Brandon Prust, and Jody Shelley. Each brings something unique to the table and can potentially fill a hole in the Rangers at a very cheap price. Let’s go ahead and look at these four players.

Corey Potter: The UFA defenseman has been a little overlooked in this organization because of the young, high-end depth and the old, crappy contracts. According to those who watch him daily, Potter is NHL ready as a steady defensive defenseman with solid positioning. He isn’t a big crease clearing guy, but he only made $600k last season. Even at a 20% raise, Potter comes in around $700k and would be a solid, cheap defenseman on a blue line that has $11.5 million tied into two third pairing defensemen.

Erik Christensen: The RFA winger, picked up off the waiver wire from Anaheim, played fairly well during his stint with the Rangers this year. He was a bit inconsistent, but on this team, it’s not at all surprising. In his 49 games, Christensen put up a line of 8-18-26 with a respectable 5.2 GVT. His 2009-2010 salary was $800k, so a modest raise puts Christensen at $900k for a 2nd-3rd line forward. Not too shabby.

Brandon Prust: The surprise (to some) of the Olli Jokinen trade, Prust is a high energy player who hits, fights, and even chips in a few goals here and there. Prust finished with a line of 4-5-9 and a 1.8 GVT in 26 games with the Rangers, with 65 PIMS. Prust showed he can put the puck in the net when playing on the surprising line with Artem Anisimov and Jody Shelley. The RFA was signed at the league minimum last season, and even with a modest raise of 20%, that puts him at $600k, which is just above the league minimum for a 4th line winger. On a team riddled with bad contracts for 3rd-4th line players, a cheap one is a welcomed sign.

Jody Shelley: The biggest surprise, in terms of results, from the 2010 Trade Deadline acquisitions was Shelley. The tough guy struggled at first, but really clicked with Anisimov and Prust at the end of the season. A seasoned veteran who is a strong locker room presence, Shelley would be a welcomed replacement to Donald Brashear, who has been banished to Hartford. The UFA made $700k last season, and will probably make the same this year on a one year deal. Considering this organization will still be paying Brashear next season too (unless he is traded), then Shelley is considered to be a bargain at half the price and double the playing time.

With the Rangers in dire straits regarding the salary cap, they will need significant cap bargains to field a competitive team for the 2010-2011 season. Re-signing the likes of Potter, Prust, Shelley and Christensen give the Rangers much needed cheap flexibility on the forward corps, and a much needed cheap defensive defenseman on the blue line. Whether the Rangers re-sign all four is up to Glen Sather, but when it comes to bargains, you aren’t going to find many better ones from within the organization.

Pressure to Play Redden?

Surely by now you have all read coach John Tortorella’s comments on breakup day. For those of you that have not, I’m going to quote what I’m analyzing in this post, with the bolded sections being of more importance:

“I’ve talked to Glen about this. I’d like to see us get younger. I’d like to see us add to our core and grow together. And then we’re not adding 10 pieces this year. I think that’s important. I think Henrik’s at an important time of his career; I think we’ve got Gaborik who’s a legitimate star—I don’t like the way he has played in big games; I think he still needs to cross the line there and play better in big games. But we’ve got some pieces here. I think Rozsival has grown his game to be more competitive. So there’s some good things with the core. But I think we need to add to it with some youth, and grow it together.”

Said he would have liked to have been able to use Weise, and not sure about how Grachev’s year went, would like to see more of Potter. “Again, I’d love to get younger.”

Now, one can read this quote two ways. First, you have the obvious of what he is stating: he would like to get younger, but he feels he has a core of veterans that should be sticking around. He specifically mentions Michal Rozsival by name as a player in that core. He also mentions specific players that would help make the team younger, specifically Dale Weise and Corey Potter. I will analyze more of this a little more in a separate post.

Before I begin, I want to make it well known that this is not about Wade Redden the person. From what I understand, Redden is a very nice, very likable guy. This is about Redden the symbol, the symbol that ownership and management may have really “screwed the pooch” on this one. The symbol that there may be more to the coaching selections for defense than what meets the eye. Again, this is not about Wade Redden the person.

What I notice here is that Wade Redden was not mentioned. Clearly, through other quotes, Tortorella and Redden do not see eye to eye, and it it abundantly clear that Torts does not want Redden on the team next year. I am just speculating here, but reading in between the lines of what Tortorella has said; why would Tortorella continue to play Redden if he wants to see more of Corey Potter? Potter is NHL ready, and Redden was having a horrible year.

Now again, I am just speculating here, but it could be possible that upper management and ownership was pressuring the coaching staff into playing Redden. This scenario would certainly answer a lot of questions that Rangers fans have regarding Redden, his play, and the seventh defenseman. If ownership was indeed pressuring the coaches to play Redden, then the seventh defenseman would have been both unnecessary and a huge risk. Should the seventh defenseman, specifically Potter, play better than Redden, Rangers fans would absolutely mutiny when Redden is inserted back into the lineup.

The Rangers front office and coaching staff are reaching an important juncture in their relationship. If management wants John Tortorella to stick around, then his input on the roster decisions is going to have to be honored. It cannot be any clearer that Torts does not want Redden around. From my speculation, it seems clear that ownership is not ready to call the Wade Redden Experiment a failure just yet. With continued pressure to play the struggling defenseman, is it possible for this Rangers team to be better than mediocre? Can the Rangers improve their situation without dumping Redden’s contract? Unless you can predict the future, the answer to that question is simply unknown. What is know, however, is that ownership and the coaching staff are divided on this issue. The 2010 offseason could be the offseason that defines the Rangers organization for years to come, whichever way this situation is resolved.

Potter to HFD, Del Zotto Will Play

As the trade deadline has passed, there is some non-trade news. Corey Potter was returned to Hartford, as Michael Del Zotto will play tomorrow against Pittsburgh. Also, Marian Gaborik did not practice today. Unless he partakes in tomorrow’s morning skate, assume he will not be in the lineup against the Penguins.

Potter Recalled

Corey Potter has been recalled from Hartford, presumably to play in Ottawa
in case Michael Del Zotto cannot due to his injury. Potter, 26, has a line of 2-11-13 and +5 in 51 games for Hartford this season.

Potter, Johnson Sent Down

Corey Potter is back in Hartford. After one game, Potter was sent back down to Hartford. Goalie Chad Johnson is back in Hartford as part of the Great Goalie Shuffle of 2010, and Matt Zaba is up. I have no idea why Potter was called up. Which defenseman was banged up?

Corey Potter Recalled

I’m late with this, but I’m packing for my vacation, so there’s my excuse. Corey Potter was recalled from Hartford and will join the team for tomorrow night’s game against Nashville. The team says this is an emergency backup move.

I am calling their bluff. There has never been an emergency backup this entire season. Something is up. Potter is the most expendable (with the highest trade value) of the defensive prospects that isn’t untouchable. I will be shocked if there’s no deal before the roster freeze.

Training Camp/Preseason Lessons

With training camp and preseason coming to a close, we are left with what looks to be the final version of the Rangers roster. In my initial 2009-2010 Rangers outlook, I had initially pegged one of Bobby Sanguinetti, Corey Potter, or Michael Sauer to be the seventh defenseman. My how things have changed.

Sauer was one of the first cuts in the preseason, his stay-at-home style doesn’t fit into the John Tortorella system. Expect him to get traded. Bobby Sanguinetti came into camp out of shape and really struggled to work back from that. He was the most recent cut, and there are rumors that the Rangers don’t have faith in him, and are shopping him around. Corey Potter seems to be the most logical choice at this moment to get a call up int he event of an injury, but he was part of the second round of cuts, before Sanguinetti was cut.

On the other side of the coin, you have Alexei Semenov. Semenov, invited to camp on a tryout, without a contract, came to camp in great shape, and has simply played his way on to the Ranger roster. Credit needs to go to the big defenseman, as he outplayed the aforementioned defensemen, and wrestled the starting job away from Sanguinetti (it was his to lose). You also have Michael Del Zotto, who at just 19, impressed everyone from the coach to the fans. He has given us a glimpse of what a powerplay quarterback can do. He has played so well that he forced the Rangers into giving him another look during the regular season. He now has nine more games to show he belongs, or else be returned to the OHL for the season.

Moving on to the forwards, fans expected Evgeny Grachev to play well in camp, considering his performance last year in the OHL. While he has played extremely well in the preseason, he will benefit from a year in Hartford, so expect him to be the final forward cut before the season starts. If he lights up that league, he will be one of the first call ups during the season.

A pleasant surprise was the newly acquired Enver Lisin, who came over from Hamilton Phoenix for Lauri Korpikosi. Lisin also has played his way into consideration for the roster, and leaves coach John Tortorella with an interesting issue. Lisin belongs on the top three lines, there’s no doubt about that. But, the top three lines seem to be set at the moment. The dilemma: do you put Lisin on the fourth line, getting five minutes a game, or send him to Hartford for regular shifts, at the risk that he bolts for Russia? More on this in another post.

With one last preseason game this weekend in Washington, look for the Rangers to give Grachev, Del Zotto, and Lisin more playing time to let them prove they belong on the NHL level.

Quick Salary Tidbits

A lot of the recent Rangers signings have had undisclosed terms, so it’s been tough to find what they actually signed for. But here’s what I’ve b een able to find:

The entry level contracts on this list are Owens, Dowzak and Del Zotto, so they will be RFAs when the contracts expire. As for the rest, if they are going to be 27 when their contract expires, they will be UFAs, otherwise, they will be RFAs.

The Del Zotto signing, although looks expensive, is standard entry level contract (maximum of $850k base salary) plus bonuses, which bring the cap hit up. if he doesn’t participate in 11 NHL games, the payment slides a bit.

I have no idea when the Rangers signed Dowzak. I must have missed that. Can someone fill me in on when that happened?

Slats still has two key RFAs to sign (Lisin, Dubinsky), as I’m assuming Zherdev is gone. Lisin is important or else they just gave away Korpikoski for nothing.

Salary information courtesy of CapGeek.

Potter Resigns

This is late again, but this is what happens when you get dumped on at work. I’ve been really busy (have a deadline of today for a whole bunch of things), so don’t expect much other than this and the schedule announcement at 3pm today.

Corey Potter agreed to terms with the Rangers yesterday. Potter made $535,000 last year, and presumably was qualified at the mandatory 10% raise (roughly $600,000). He will compete for a spot as the 6th defenseman next season.

This is around the time when the RFAs will be sigining, since arbitration days are close, so expect to be hearing about Lisin and Dubinsky relatively soon.

Game 79: Rangers at Boston

I’m real late with this, sorry. I have a work function I have to go to and I was prepping for that.

Harry Corey Potter is back down in Hartford, Michael Rozsival is back. Florida lost last night, so the Rangers remained in 8th place.

1-0 Boston, Wheeler gets the goal off a deflection.