Zach Parise will not be signing with the Rangers. Parise went on record today to openly express the fact he will not be signing with the Rangers nor will he consider it. ‘Don’t make a headline out of it’ was his final response to beat reporters when pressed on the matter.
Parise removing himself from the Rangers’ future plans narrows the obvious options the Rangers are linked to in order to upgrade their offense. Perhaps Parise ruling himself out of the Rangers future saves the Rangers from themselves. Should the current Devil have been up for grabs on July 1st there’s no guessing how much and how long Sather may have been tempted to offer Parise.
Can the Rangers afford to have another massive contract on the books and still get deeper? With Lundqvist eventually due an extension and Brad Richards’ long term deal, not to mention all the young players’ expiring deals, perhaps giving Parise a long term, mega-money contract wasn’t the most efficient way – among other things – of spending the cap space the Rangers seem to have in the short/mid term.
The Parise announcement may also help Columbus. GM Scott Howson will have noted that the Rangers now have one less alternative in their quest to add more skill and may hold strong to their (unrealistic) demands for Rick Nash. With a weakening free agent pool and uncertainty around players such as Alex Radulov, the Rangers may be forced to go after Nash and pay more than they want to. The next few weeks promise to be very interesting following the Parise news.
In a season full of surprises, none was bigger than 22-year-old defenseman Ryan McDonagh.
The former Wisconsin Badger was stolen from Montreal in the laughable Scott Gomez salary dump, arguably Glen Sather’s greatest transaction as general manager of the New York Rangers.
McDonagh spent the first half of the 2010-2011 season quietly honing his game in Connecticut before being called up on January 3, 2011.
He immediately clicked with Michael Sauer, bolstering New York’s second defensive pair just in time for the playoff push.
But even McDonagh’s stellar rookie season couldn’t prepare us for his monster 2011-2012 campaign.
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The New York Rangers are scheduled to select 28th overall in the June draft (barring a trade for Rick Nash) meaning they will make their first pick later than they have since 2002, when New York selected center Lee Falardeau 33rd overall out of Michigan State.
By pick number 28, all of the “can’t miss” prospects will be long gone and there won’t be a whole lot of top talent still available, which leaves the Rangers in an interesting position.
The organization has done a tremendous job assembling prospect depth in recent years and currently boasts an embarrassment of riches.
On defense, the Blueshirts have three All-Star caliber players under the age of 29 and top prospects Tim Erixon and Dylan McIlrath on the way as well.
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The Eastern Conference Finals only provided further evidence that Zach Parise is a terrific player and would be an ideal fit for the New York Rangers.
There’s little doubt that GM Glen Sather is going to make Parise a massive multi-year offer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, but despite New York’s desire to convert the Devils’ captain into a true blue soldier, there’s a very small chance of that actually happening (despite my repeated attempts to convince myself otherwise).
The primary reason – Parise isn’t like past Devils’ versions of Benedict Arnold; he cares deeply about the organization that drafted him nine years ago and takes great pride in leading the Rangers’ bitter rivals. All the proof you need was etched onto Parise’s face as he was interviewed by the MSG Network immediately following New Jersey’s ousting of the Blueshirts on May 25th when Parise expressed immense satisfaction about erasing the memory of 1994 (1:25 mark).
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This summer the Rangers can afford to be aggressive. They can risk a swing-and-miss mistake this offseason as they search to go one round further next year than this time around. There’s one caveat however (isn’t there always?) and that’s the pending CBA fallout.
The Rangers are not far from being a Cup team. The core is there, the youth is plentiful and in place, while the experience of the playoffs and the associated heartbreak of failure (an apparent prerequisite for future success) has been acquired. The organisation has depth at its disposal in almost every regard and if the cap doesn’t come down when the dust settles, then there is money to spend, as Larry Brooks discussed recently. This is where Glen Sather and the decision makers have the opportunity to be aggressive as they look to build.
The Rangers will pursue scoring this summer. Apparently, they will look at Justin Schultz to add talent to the back end and they may even sniff around Ryan Suter. Sather can afford to take on a financial risk because of the available cap space, depth, and youth on the roster. He can afford to be the highest bidder in any potential Parise sweepstakes or acquire an inconvenient contract if it means more scoring.
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John Tortorella’s interview with Michael Kay and Don La Greca on ESPN Radio drew more attention (click here to read The Suit’s analysis), but few noticed that GM Glen Sather also spoke to the media on Wednesday.
Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News managed to corner the Rangers’ seldom heard from brass leader and as with Tortorella, Slats delivered plenty of interesting comments in one of his few annual interviews.
Sather discussed his pride in what the Blueshirts accomplished this year, vaguely hinted that New York would be more active in free agency than in the trade market and beamed about Chris Kreider’s potential.
But the most stunning line of all came when Sather was discussing Kreider and announced his firm stance, “We don’t trade kids.”
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After taking most of the day to digest the bombshell of Marian Gaborik’s torn labrum, I’ve come to the glass half-full conclusion that there’s good and bad to be drawn from the news.
Timing – Obviously Gaborik was hampered by his injury during the playoffs, but if you’re choosing to look towards the future, it’s a good thing this happened now and not in October. Gaborik now has four full months to recover before the start of the season and even if he were out for the full six months suggested by doctors, he’d still be able to play a considerable chunk of the season. Better yet, the extent of the injury was discovered prior to any offseason player movement, giving the front office time to rethink and revise its plan of attack for the summer. Offense was the team’s primary need before the injury and that hasn’t changed, but at least GM Glen Sather and company know just where they stand. If this injury happened in training camp, the team would be able to do little in reaction and could be looking at severely weakened chances of winning the Atlantic Division crown.
Potential lockout – Of course none of us want a lockout, but there exists the very real possibility that the 2012-2013 season will be shortened. If it takes the owners and players a month or two to hash out their differences, Gaborik could actually be ready to go from the outset. Don’t do anything foolish and start praying for a work stoppage, but if your primary concern is finishing as high as possible in the Eastern Conference again, then having a healthy Gaborik on board for a shortened season may be the best thing to hope for.
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Goaltending this season was a huge factor in both the Rangers regular season and postseason success. The tandem of Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Biron finished third in the league in goals against during the regular season, behind only the notoriously stingy St. Louis Blues and LA Kings.
In addition to the goalie report cards, I’m also going to break down management. John Tortorella, Mike Sullivan and Glen Sather have their fingerprints all over this team, so we’ll also take a look at how they performed this season. Let’s get to it…
- Honestly, at this point, what is there to say about The King that hasn’t already been said? The presumptive Vezina winner and Hart nominee had an absolutely dominant regular season and a Stanley Cup worthy post-season. His biggest problem was that the Rangers couldn’t score.
- Although Hank has always been in the conversation of the league’s elite netminders, this season he cemented himself firmly at the top, along with Jonathan Quick and Pekka Rinne. I’ll entertain arguments for any of those guys as the top tender, but for my money, no one can dethrone The King right now.
- With a final line of: 39 wins, 1.97 GAA and .930 SV (top 3 in the NHL in each), Lundqvist was the backbone of the Blueshirts yet again.
- Mid-season grade: A+/Full season grade: A/Playoffs: A
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John Tortorella wanted him, Glen Sather wanted him and the vast majority of the Rangers universe (media and fans) acknowledged he was exactly what this team needed last summer. Now, Brad Richards is proving the supporters right and the few (misinformed) doubters very much wrong.
Richards has been far from perfect in his first year on Broadway. Scott Gomez even outscored him when comparing debut regular seasons; but there is no doubting Richards’ impact on a young Rangers team in his first year. He’s every bit the leader that was hoped for.
Clutch: Richards has come up big all year long as his nine regular season game winners show. He’s leading the team in scoring in the post season and is making crucial plays all over the ice. In the triple overtime win it was his feed that set up the Gaborik winner. It was Richards who came up big in game five with the goal and in the same game check the video for number 19 back checking and breaking up plays in his own zone. Richards, in short, is a leader for the Rangers and right now he’s absolutely earning his large and long contract.
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With the recent signing/extension of Nicklas Grossman the Philadelphia Flyers achieved three things. First of all they overpaid for a good but not elite defensive defenseman, secondly they gave themselves potential cap headaches this summer with the likes of Matt Carle, Jaromir Jagr and Jakub Voracek to re-sign (headaches could disappear depending on the Pronger situation) and finally they made Glen Sather once again look like an astute general manager.
Dan Girardi has played an All Star calibre season, has been an absolute rock on the blue line and is once again close to a 30 point season proving he is effective at both ends of the ice. With that all considered, comparing his deal to Grossman’s new deal of $3.5m, Sather managed to produce a bargain with the Girardi deal.
Girardi’s deal comes in at $3.25m for another couple of seasons and his deal in addition to Marc Staal’s (a very reasonable cap hit of $3.9m when health and form allow) are blue line reasons why Sather won’t struggle to reward the likes of Mike Del Zotto and Brandon Prust this summer.
Cap Geek list Dan Girardi as a comparable to Nicklas Grossman but really comparing Girardi to the Swede in anything other than price tag is doing Girardi a disservice. Girardi is a much more rounded player than Grossman. He out hits, out blocks and out scores Grossman and very few players in the entire league play the same minutes as Girardi. Who’s worth more? Girardi without question.
Next season including Pronger, the Flyers have over 20 million committed to their blue line – quite a chunk. The Rangers, without factoring in a raise for Del Zotto and adding another defenseman ‘only’ have approximately 10 million committed to their blue line. I know which blue line I would rather have right now. Keep up the good work this summer Mr Sather.