In just a few short hours, the 2013-2014 New York Rangers were blown apart.
Usually it’s GM Glen Sather that flashes the power of the dollar as he plucks key contributors away from other top teams on July 1, but yesterday it was the Blueshirts that were victimized by the league’s annual spending spree. The unfortunate part of the carnage was that much of it could have been avoided.
That Sather wasn’t prepared to come near the five years, $20 million that Benoit Pouliot received from Edmonton is completely understandable. But that he wasn’t willing to match the five years, $22.5 million that Anton Stralman got from Tampa Bay is a little less so.
The real kicker came towards the end of the day, when the same Lightning that had already re-signed Ryan Callahan and poached Stralman then inked Brian Boyle to the perfectly reasonable contract of three years, $6 million. Read more »
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)
The Rangers have traded winger Derek Dorsett to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a third round pick (#85) in this year’s draft. With the cap rumored to be around $68 million, the Rangers needing to sign some key UFAs and RFAs, and the emergence of Dan Carcillo as a viable option for the fourth line (plus a few bottom-six kids that may be ready), Glen Sather felt the need to shed payroll a bit. Dorsett was a productive Ranger, but the $1.63 million cap hit for a fourth line player was expendable.
Dorsett played 51 games with the Rangers after his trade from Columbus, putting up a line of 4-4-8 and 128 PIMs.
Photo: Frank Franklin II AP
One of the many issues the Rangers have dealt with in the past is depth, specifically on the fourth line. The inconsistency is what led previous coach John Tortorella to play the line just five minutes a night (much to the chagrin of the fans). Last year saw endless combinations of Taylor Pyatt, Darroll Powe, Arron Asham, Derek Dorsett, or –in the playoffs– Brad Richards. In 2011-2012 it was some combination of Mike Rupp, John Mitchell, and a rotating right winger.
The key here is that the Brian Boyle line, whoever he was playing with, was always the third line. The Boyle, Brandon Prust, Ruslan Fedotenko line, the one we all loved so much, was playing top-nine minutes. Not to take anything away from them, as they were one of the better shutdown lines in the game, but that trio –on a deep team poised for a run to the Cup– is a fourth line. It’s something we harped on ’round these parts for about three years.
Our exact quote: “When Brian Boyle is our fourth line center, we will finally have the depth required to make a deep run.”
Read more »
Per Pat Leonard, Derek Dorsett will be taking Dan Carcillo’s spot in the lineup tonight against Carolina. Dorsett’s last game was March 5th against Toronto. This move might make some people angry considering Carcillo’s strong play with the Rangers, but Dorsett is the more balanced player. His ability to take shifts in the defensive zone late in the game –not to mention his ability to kill penalties– makes him a more valuable asset on the ice. It was really just a matter of time before Dorsett took over Carcillo’s spot full time.
I still can’t get used to Alain Vigneault’s steady line combinations after four years of John Tortorella’s incessant juggling, but Vigneault has stuck with the same combinations for quite some time now. It’s worth nothing that the Rangers finally turned a corner this season thanks in no small part to the team’s balance and chemistry up front. Mats Zuccarello has been the team’s best forward so far this season and a key cog in Vigneault’s formula, but with him lost for likely another week or two (not to mention the upcoming trade deadline), Vigneault will be forced to rejigger his preferred trios.
Throw in the fact that winger Derek Dorsett is ready to return from a broken fibula and 20-year-old J.T. Miller, who has been dominant in the AHL, was recalled last night, and it’s tough to predict what Vigneault will end up with. It’s probably most likely that Vigneault will be forced to try several different new looks – which might not be settled by the trade deadline in three games, throwing us back to square one.
Read more »
In injury news, Derek Dorsett is skating in a non-contact jersey, and hopes to be ready when the season resumes next week. Dorsett has missed 17 games with a broken leg suffered against Pittsburgh on January 3.
Also, per Steve Zipay, the Rangers –who practiced yesterday– will have practice today, tomorrow, and Monday through Wednesday. The Olympians will rejoin the team on Wednesday for a full team practice.
Derek Dorsett could be a difference maker (Source: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images North America)
The Rangers facd the toughest possible opponent tonight. When an elite team like the Blues head to town fresh off a mauling, they will be conscious of stopping the rot before it starts. This will be a great benchmark game for the Rangers. Can they go toe to toe with a contender? Can they put behind them their own disappointing game? Tonight’s game is the definition of a character test.
Kevin Klein’s arrival meant the end of Michael Del Zotto, but does it also signal the end of Anton Stralman? Stralman is reported to be looking for $3 million plus at season’s end, despite being distinctly average for the most of this year. Would the Rangers be willing to lock up what are essentially two third pair guys for what would be $3 million each?
Read more »
Per John Giannone on the MSG broadcast, winger Derek Dorsett will not return to tonight’s game. Dorsett injured himself blocking a shot while killing a penalty in the first period.
When healthy, Derek Dorsett has been everything the Rangers hoped for
Like many parts of the 2013-2014 roster, the bottom-six forwards have struggled through long stretches of the season thus far. Part of that can be attributed to players being used out of place and in unusual situations, but the team hasn’t gotten consistent play out of many of its depth forwards for most of the year. That seems to be changing over the last few weeks, and has been as instrumental to the team’s mini turnaround as anything else.
Boyle will forever be a polarizing player amongst Ranger fans because he has hands of stone and doesn’t drive opponents through the boards with his massive size. You can’t really judge Boyle fairly until you accept those two facts of life, which many refuse to do. But Boyle is a very useful player in many other areas. Though this hasn’t been his finest year, Boyle is still being relied on as the team’s top defensive forward, plays well on the penalty kill, is the best faceoff man on the team and drives possession. He is guilty of being a passenger at times this season the same as nearly every player on the roster, but for the most part, Boyle has been use usual steady self. Still, scoring just one goal all year is pretty hard to do.
Grade: B Read more »