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Archive for Lauri Korpikoski

Marian Gaborik heads up a deep group of ex-Ranger forwards

We’re (finally) just one day away from training camp! There will be a whole lot of real Ranger news coming up, but since we’ve exhausted pretty much every type of camp preview imaginable this summer – allow me just one more random post before the action kicks into high gear.

What would happen if you were to pit the 2014 New York Rangers against the best lineup of former Blueshirts still currently playing in the NHL?

Here’s my take on the best hypothetical roster of ex-Rangers that takes into account positions and logical scoring and checking lines:

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Categories : Musings, Offseason
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The Brian Leetch trade: Eight years later

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On March 2, 2004, Ranger fans had their hearts ripped out. In the midst of another losing season, General Manager Glen Sather decided it was time to start over, and began with a fire sale that eventually led to the Rangers we see before us today. The prized piece of the fire sale was Brian Leetch, and Slats shipped him, along with the hearts of millions of Ranger fans, to Toronto for Jarkko Immonen, Maxim Kondratiev, a first round pick in 2004, and a second round pick in 2005.

The trade felt like a punch to the stomach for every single fan. For management, they got what they wanted: two legitimate prospects, and two top-60 draft picks. At the time of the trade, the Rangers got fair value for Leetch. It’s been eight years since that trade, so let’s look at what they got.

Maxim Kondratiev: The Russian defenseman’s time with the Rangers was very brief. After just 46 games with the organization, 29 with the Rangers, the Rangers shipped Kondratiev to the Anaheim Ducks in 2006 for Petr Sykora and a 2007 4th round pick. Sykora helped the Rangers reach the playoffs for the first time in eight years (seven seasons). Kondratiev now plays in the KHL.

The 4th round pick was used on Brett Bruneteau, who is no longer in hockey. Interesting note about this pick: the Rangers had acquired this pick (#108) as a conditional pick in 2005 in the Steve Rucchin trade. Essentially, the Rangers traded for this pick twice.

Jarkko Immonen: The Finnish center draws most of the attention from this deal. Not as a positive, but from a “what could have been.” Immonen dominated his first full season in the AHL (2005-2006), finishing with 70 points in 74 games. His play earned him a six game stint with the Rangers, where he scored two goals in his first two games.

Immonen’s second AHL season was again stellar, finishing with 46 points in 54 games. He played well in the NHL, finishing with six points in 14 games, bringing his totals to 3-5-8 in 22 games. However, it didn’t appear that he was a fit for the Rangers, or maybe he just didn’t want to play in the US anymore. After the 2006-2007 season, Immonen returned to Finland. Immonen is now in the KHL.

2004 1st Round Pick (Lauri Korpikoski): The Rangers wound up with the #24 pick in the draft as a result of the trade. They used this pick and a second round pick (#46 – Adam Pineault) to move up to #19, where they drafted Lauri Korpikoski. The Rangers also acquired an eighth round pick in the transaction (#247), which they used on Jonathan Paiement.

Korpikoski played fairly poor for the Rangers, and it was safe to say he did not meet expectations. He did not provide the offensive flair that made him a first round pick, and he struggled defensively as well. The Rangers gave up on him, and dealt him to Phoenix for Enver Lisin in the 2009 offseason. In Phoenix, Korpikoski has found himself a nice role as a third line player, and has started to finally chip in offensively.

Lisin played one year for the Rangers, and then left for the KHL.

2005 2nd Round Pick (Mike Sauer): The Rangers appeared to have hit the jackpot with Sauer. Sauer battled many shoulder injuries early in his career, but finally broke through and made the Rangers roster out of camp in 2010. Initially used as a rotating defenseman on the bottom pairing, injuries forced him into a full time role, where he exceeded all expectations.

Sauer now plays top-four minutes for the club –when he’s healthy– and is the real gem of this trade.

Trades for prospects and picks are generally gambles. Neither picks nor prospects are guarantees, and the general rule of thumb is to be happy if one pans out to be a solid player. The Rangers got just that in Sauer. It’s tough to call this trade a success, especially when it came from dealing Brian Leetch, but the deal was just that: A success.

Categories : Analysis
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Musings On Duck Day

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Good morning humans. The Ducks are on tap today and after the loss in Sweden the Rangers will be more than keen to even the score, especially when you consider how little offense they mustered in that game. Anyway, it’s a musing’s day so let’s get in to it before the Rangers go duck hunting tonight.

Lauri Korpikoski has 3 goals to start the season and has 5 points in 11 games (after having 40 points last season). The Rangers gave up on the talented Fin too soon; however I’m not sure he’d have ever scored as frequently in NY. The ice time, role on the roster he has and patience level with players is a lot different in Phoenix. The Coyotes can afford to let a player have growing pains (his first year in their organisation the perfect example) whereby in a market like NY that would never be possible.

Tim Kennedy was demoted to the AHL again last night. Anyone still have complaints about his time with the Rangers? He’s a marginal NHL’er.


How frustrating is the loss to Ottawa still? Well, firstly a 5-3-2 record would look a lot better but the extra point would mean a playoff spot rather than looking in from the outside. Every point is critical in Bettman’s parity league. Hopefully the Rangers kick on and don’t end up in a playoff scramble although several teams expected to be in the playoffs have had indifferent starts, no one more so than Boston.

Forgotten Prospect

Chad Johnson; remember him? The Whale and Rangers player was named AHL goaltender of the month for October and thoroughly deserved it. The Whale has had a good start to the year and Johnson has been a huge part of it. Johnson has a 1.69 GAA, .942 save percentage to go with 3 wins and a shutout. He hasn’t been beaten in normal time. However, where does he fit in the organisation going forward? If Biron continues to play well he’d likely be brought back for at least another year and Johnson isn’t a young prospect anymore. His NHL window is closing; it may be closed in this organisation already.

Steve Eminger is -7 in just 10 games. He’ll be sitting as soon the team has the resources to allow a benching.

The Kids Are Alright?

The impressive win against the Sharks may have been more important for the performance of several players than the 2 points gained. Artem Anisimov and Derek Stepan played some of their best hockey of the season while Ryan Callahan played the kind of all action game that the Rangers have come to expect – and need – from their captain. Brandon Dubinsky was much improved and all of a sudden Marian Gaborik doesn’t look like he’s taking on the world on his own (offensively speaking). If the supporting cast/core can do their thing then Brad Richards and Gaborik will have much more space and opportunity to do theirs. It all bodes well.

Christensen Sighting

He still doesn’t deserve his roster spot but credit where it’s due, Erik Christensen had a huge impact on the Sharks game. Two excellent assists and generally better play from EC mean the recalled Avery will watch from the stands tonight. The biggest question is can Christensen follow it up with another game tonight? Every indication is that he can’t. Otherwise he wouldn’t be such a frustrating player to watch but maybe the Avery effect will squeeze a little more production out of the skilled center. Competition for places is crucial to success so if Avery’s presence means Christensen earns a regular spot in the line-up that’s fine by me. Key word being earns.

Brilliant Biron

Just a quick tip of the (Broadway) hat to Martin Biron as we close out musings for another week. He’s played in 3 games, has a miniscule 1.38GAA and a mighty .947 save percentage. They are awesome numbers. On the rare occasion the King has a night off can any team in the league be more confident in their backup than the Rangers? With his role clearly defined (he could string together 6 shutout wins and there’d still be no goalie controversy) Biron is comfortable on this team and it shows. His play is a big reason why the Rangers have had a decent start to the year given the issues they have faced. Kudos Marty.

Categories : Musings
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Top Draft Picks of The Decade

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Yeah, yeah, I know. The decade ended already. We’re in a new one. But, better late than never, right? I’ve seen a lot of these, and wanted to throw in my two cents. Here are the Rangers top 10 draft picks of the decade (Note: I considered time played with the Rangers. Marek Zidlicky was a great pick, but he never suited up. So he’s not on the list.)

10. Lauri Korpikoski

The “Korpedo” was the 19th overall pick in the 2004 draft. In his one full season on Broadway, Korpikoski established himself as a nice defensive forward with some offensive skills. He was later traded for Enver Lisin. He was 6-8-14 last year. I’m kind of disappointed the Rangers gave up on him so early. While Lisin clearly has some great offensive skills, the “Korpedo”could’ve been another Ryan Callahan type.

9. Bobby Sanguinetti

He hasn’t played much in the NHL, but he clearly has a lot of talent. He has offensive skills, and is improving defensively. He’s playing well in Hartford, but still needs time in the AHL. You’ll see a lot of him next year.

8. Fedor Tyutin

Fedor Tyutin was a stalwart on the blueline for the first couple years of the Rangers resurgence. Big, strong, composed, he had a bright future ahead of him. Still does. Only it will be in Columbus. Tyutin was part of the Nik Zherdev deal. Again, I’m disappointed that they gave up on him. We could’ve used him now.

7. Artem Anisimov

Still only a rookie, Anisimov  is showing flashes of offensive brilliance, with an improving defensive sense. So far, he is 7-8-15, and he seems to improve every game. We know he can score; he scored 37 goals in Hartford last year. I think he has star potential. He’s 6-4 and has room to put some weight on his frame.

6. Brandon Dubinsky

Dubinsky is starting to live up his potential, as he’s getting first line duty with Marian Gaborik. Selected in the 2nd round of the 2004 draft, Dubinsky is a talented forward. Score, hit. He can do it all. He has the potential to be a big time player.

5. Petr Prucha

One of the surprises coming out of the lockout, Prucha posted 30 goals in his rookie year. Of course, he fell into the doghouse after that, and saw his goal totals dip, before being shipped off to Phoenix. A fan favorite, Prucha really got the short end of the stick. Once Jagr left, he wasn’t getting the same chances. Making this pick even better was that it was in the 8th round of the 2002 draft. A steal, to say the least.

4. Michael Del Zotto

Taken in the first round of the 2008 draft, MDZ surprised some by making the team this year. He quickly took the lead on the power play, and has been one of the best rookies in the NHL. He has Leetch-like skill. Great vision, unbelievable passing, and a good shot. He’s a keeper, that’s for sure.

3. Ryan Callahan

Taken in the 4th round of the 2004 draft, Callahan’s rise has been breathtaking. He’s an energy winger, who works hard, but it pays off as he scored 22 goals last year. A great penalty killer, and he loves to hit. He is the alternate captain of the Rangers, and was named to the US Olympic team. He’s a future captain.

2. Marc Staal

Another first round pick, Marc Staal is quickly becoming a shut down defenseman. His offensive skills are still a work of progress, but he is always paired against opposing teams best players. He is one of the best young players in the league, and will anchor the Rangers blueline for a long time.

1. Henrik Lundqvist

Some may say this was the best pick of the decade for the entire NHL. He was taken in the 7th round of the 2000 draft. He wasn’t even the first goalie the Rangers took. They took Brandon Snee in the 5th  round. Who is Brandon Snee? Exactly. Lundqvist is one of the best goalies in the league. He led Sweden to a gold medal. He has been nominated for the Vezina trophy multiple times. He is the key to the Rangers success. What a draft pick.

There are others who didn’t make this list. I didn’t include promising youngsters such as Chris Krieder, Derek Stepan, Ryan Borque, or Evegeny Grachev. They haven’t played a game yet in the NHL. Alexei Cherepanov would be on this list somewhere, if not for his tragic death. But, in the last part of the decade ,the Rangers have done a great job of drafting. Some really promising players in the system. I can’t wait.

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Rangers Won The Korpikoski-Lisin Trade

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When the Rangers traded Lauri “Korpdeo” Korpikoski for Enver Lisin, I think a bunch of fans were shocked. First, who’s Enver Lisin? And second of all, Korpikoski was turning in to a solid player.  Here was Dave’s reaction when the deal went down. I was not writing for BSB at the time, but if I was, I would not have liked the deal. I was beginning to love the Korpedo. Great penalty killer, responsible defensively. He has offensive skills, even if they weren’t showing yet. I thought he would be a Ranger for a long time. Instead, he was traded to the Southwest Rangers Coyotes.

Well, fast forward a couple of months. Enver Lisin is getting consistent top-line duty, and his 3 goals and 5 assists have come even while playing a significant amount of the year on the 3rd or 4th line. He’s -1, which is not great, but I tend not to place too much importance on plus/minus. How is the Korpedo doing? Well, not so good. Through 13 games, Korpikoski has zero points. Zero. In 13 games, he’s had 7 shots on goal. 7.  While the ‘Yotes have cooled off after a hot start, it’s a talented team. Korpedo is having trouble getting on the ice.

Lisin is a work in progress defensively–he’ll never be a penalty killer–but right now, that’s okay. He has plenty of speed, and uses it to create offensive chances. While he’s benefited from playing with Prospal and Gaborik, it’s clear that Lisin is a much better player than Korpikoski. And so, the Rangers won another trade. And we say Sather is inept.

Categories : Analysis
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Steve Zipay of Newsday tweets that Ryan Callahan has signed a contract, avoiding the arbitration hearing set for later this month. Still don’t know the terms, but Zipay says that “it is believed to be a substantial raise and a multi-year deal.” Good for Callie, he’s earned it. We’ll post the numbers once we find ’em.

Update (8:36pm): Zipay now tweets that Lauri Korpikoski has been traded to Pheonix. Details to come.

Update (8:39pm): SNY’s Ranger Blog says the Korpedo was traded for Enver Lisin, a restricted free agent. Lisin scored 13 goals in 48 games last year, and Hockey’s Future says he has “significant offensive upside” and is a fantastic skater. I like the move, sounds like a damn fine addition for the third line with the potential for more in the future.

Update (9:12pm): Back to Callie, he gets two years, $4.6 M. If my math is right that’s a $2.3M cap hit. Not bad at all.

Categories : Signings, Trades
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As per Blueshirt Banter, RFA Lauri Korpikoski, who was allegedly lowballed by Glen Sather, is considering a move to the KHL:

Timra is looking to replace Mika Pyorala, and may do so with Lauri Korpikoski. The article says the Rangers want to keep Korpikoski, but made him a lowball offer, and that he has allegedly received an offer from the KHL.

If I understand it right, the offer is $1.5M a year.

The article also says Korpi is good friends with former Ranger Jarkko Immonen

That’s the best I can do guys, but it doesn’t take a perfect translation to see this may not be good news.

The original article, located here, is in Swedish, so you have to take what the translator Jim at Blueshirt Banter used with a grain of salt.

That said, this is where Sather’s horrible trend of low balling RFAs really comes to bite us in the ass. But when you think about it, The Korpedo made $984,000 last season, and the qualifying offer is a 5% raise, which is roughly $1.03 million. Just give him the $1.1 or $1.2 million and keep him in Blue Slats.

Update 2:15pm: We can all sleep a little easier tonight knowing that Glen Sather did not sign Saku Koivu, as the pivot signed a deal with Anaheim for one-year, $3.25 million. That’s $3.25 million well-not-spent.

There is an awful lot going on today. Wow.


Non-Draft Roundup

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I’ll get to the draft round up tomorrow. I want to get some specifics on the players before I post about them.

As for the rest of the Ranger news:

  • Sather made qualifying offers to most RFAs, but Fred Sjostrom was not included in that list. The notables included: Nikolai Zherdev, Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, and Lauri Korpikoski. You can breathe a sigh of relief.
    • It’s safe to assume that Jordan Owens will be given the opportunity to take Sjostrom’s place. It’s just all business with that decision.
  • The Rangers traded a 3rd round pick in 2010 (supposed to be a thin draft) for C Brian Boyle. That pretty much spells the end for the Blair Betts era in New York. With both Sjostrom and Betts gone, there goes the best PK unit in the league.
    • Boyle, 24, is an RFA, is 6’7 250 lbs (he’s a freaking beast), and you have to assume he has been qualified. He’s a tough guy, and if he plays a full season, can give you maybe 10-10-20 at his peak. He was solid defensively in the AHL last season.
  • Paul Mara and Derek Morris won’t be back, Glen Sather is quoted saying that he has five defensemen knocking on the door (Sauer, Sangs, DZ, Potter, Gilroy). Expect one or two of them to make the team, and maybe a stay-at-home bruiser type signing.
  • Nik Antropov won’t be back, his asking price is too much. This shouldn’t shock anyone.
  • Colton Orr isn’t going to be resigned, so the entire 4th line will be different next year. This is old news, but I neglected to mention it until now.
  • We should start hearing about accepted/rejected qualifying offers before July 1. It will be a fun few days before free agency begins.

Over the next few days, I’m going to research each of the picks and write little blurbs about them. Keep checking back.

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I allowed myself to decompress for 24-48 hours after the Rangers season officially ended to talk about what happened.  Much like a legendary player being asked to retire when he’s ousted from the playoffs, you have to sift through your emotions before you give an honest assessment of things.  100% agree with Dave that the better team won this series, but ironically, I thought the Rangers were the better team for the most part in Game 7.  The game itself was a microcosm of the the Blueshirts season and series:  strong to start, treading water in the middle, and plagued by an inability to score and create chances in the end.  This team truly gave their all in the final game though, and that makes the sting a bit more bearable.  Now that the smoke has cleared, it has become obvious to me (and hopefully all of you) that John Tortorella got the most out of a team that has seemingly zero offensive firepower, and the fact that he got them to claw all the way into the playoffs says a lot about the type of coach he can be for this franchise.

So now that the sting is starting to subside, lets take a look back on the highs and lows of this season, and what’s to come from the 89 games:


-The Blueshirts got off to a fantastic start, going 10-2-1 in the month of October and staking themselves to a huge early lead in the Eastern Conference

-Three players had their numbers retired: Harry Howell (3), Andy Bathgate (9), and Adam Graves (9)

-Tom Renney and his stale style of hockey were finally replaced by John Tortorella’s aggressive attack, making for a much more efficient and relatively exciting Rangers team to watch.

-The Rangers re-acquired Sean Avery off waivers from the Dallas Stars, adding the edge that the team needed down the stretch.

-Henrik Lundqvist gave no doubt to the fact that he is easily one of the top 3 goalies in the world today

-After falling out of the playoff picture in late February/early March, the Rangers made a remarkable turn around, headlined by John Tortorella’s coaching, to finish 7th in the Eastern Conference standings.  The team had several key wins down the stretch to jump into the playoffs.

-Nik Antropov and Derek Morris were acquired via trade at the deadline, and provided some size and stability to their respective positions.

-The combination of Blair Betts and Frederik Sjostrom (throw Hank in there if you’d like) emerged as the best penalty killing unit in the NHL.

-While maybe not necessarily a high, Markus Naslund provided exactly what was expected of him: a 20-25 goal season and consistency up front.


-The start of 2009 brough no joy to the Rangers, as they started to collapse under the Tom Renney regime.  The low-point was highlighted by a 10-2 drubbing at the hands of the Dallas Stars, and ultimately would signify the end of the Renney era.

-The tragic death of top-tier prospect Alexei Cherapanov cast a shadow over the Rangers future.

-Nikolai Zherdev’s did not provide the 30+ goal output that many believed it would, and the youngster crumbled in his first post-season

-The offseason acquistion of Wade Redden was nothing but a complete disaster.

– Michael Roszival’s absurd contract extension (mainly its length) is beginning to rear its ugly head, and the combination of Redden and Roszival’s salaries and contract length will plague this franchise for years to come.

-The power-play never amounted to anything, under both coaches, and has been the most pressing issue since the lockout ended.

-An inability to provide consistent offense or any offensive threat whatsoever doomed this team as the season progressed

-Leading 3-1 in their opening round playoff series, the Blueshirts fell apart when it mattered most, a series headlined by the suspension of John Tortorella for Game 6

-Versus continues to cover the NHL


-Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, Lauri Korpikoski, Sean Avery, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi will be the core of this team under the John Tortorella regime.  The new coach must also find the right players for his style of play, as it became obvious that the current group cannot provide the type of play Tortorella would like to play.

-Blair Betts, Frederik Sjostrom, Colton Orr, and Nik Antropov MUST be re-signed.  Betts and Sjostrom combine to be the best PK tandem and 4th line in the league.  Orr is the best fighter in the NHL, and you still need at least one of them on your team.  Antropov provides much needed size and scoring touch going forward.

-Markus Naslund, with only one-year remaining, should be dealt somewhere.  The aging forward, once considered the best two-way player in the NHL, did not thrive in Tortorella’s system.

-Time for Scott Gomez and Chris Drury to finally step up and take the reigns as the elder statesmen on this team.  The honeymoon is over boys.

-Say goodbye to Paul Mara (regretably), Nik Zherdev, and Derek Morris.  In addition, Sather must find a way to part ways with either Redden or Roszival, either through a buy-out or trade.

-Its time for the Rangers projects and farm system to step-up and become elite players in the league.  This includes players currently on the team (who have now played in enough tight playoff series) and players in their farm system (who up until this point have done nothing but be talked about).  History shows that free-agent/trade acquisitions don’t do it for this team, and the home-grown talent must finally rise to the top.

-If they are going to keep him for the next 3 seasons, the organization must get on the league’s case about the officiating bias towards Sean Avery.  While he is no saint, the abuse this guy takes on a nightly basis is absolutely absurd.  Game 7 was just an example.  Generally speaking, the officiating around the league in general must change, as these ticky-tack calls are making even the most die-hard hockey fan’s head spin.

-While no fault falls on him, Henrik Lundqvist must find a way to be better than spectacular come playoff time.  I’m talking god-like, all the time.  If you want to know what I’m looking for, see Giguere for the Ducks and Khabibulin for the Lightning.

-The power-play can no longer be the Achilles heel of this team.  Either through someone currently on the team stepping up or by acquiring someone via free agency or trade that can FINALLY do it themselves, the Rangers must learn to capitalize on the opportunities provided.

-Whatever the makeup of this team comes to be, they have to find a way to be consistently good all season long.  The continuous ebb and flow of the Rangers the past few seasons has come back to haunt them in the playoffs, as the lack of home-ice advantage has made things very difficult.

Whew.  I’m sure there are plenty of things here that plenty of you agree/disagree with.  I’m pretty sure there are plenty of things that I missed and will think about later.  It was a crazy season for so many reasons, and to try to cover it all would take weeks and months.  I’d like to hear about what you all have to say about the Rangers season, and what you think should/shouldn’t happen as the organization moves forward.  Either way, this has been a very enjoyable experience, and I’m looking forward to adding thoughts and insight to a team I love so much.

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Game 60: Rangers at Buffalo, A Must Win

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As of today, the Rangers sit in 5th place in the East, 1 point ahead of the Canadiens, and 2 points ahead of 8th place Buffalo. A loss to Buffalo today drops the Rangers to 6th (at a minimum), with Buffalo leapfrogging over 3 teams to take 5th.

A loss would also stop any momentum built from a well played game against the Islanders on Wednesday.

In a shocking development, Petr Prucha will not be the odd man out tonight. Aaron Voros will sit in the press box, and the Korpedo will return to the lineup after missing a game with an upper body injury, taking Voros’ spot on the Zherdev line.

Hank in net tonight, no surprises there.

It’s a Saturday night, no live blog from me tonight.

Update 6:30pm: With Montreal’s win this afternoon, the Rangers sit in the 6 spot at the moment. A loss tonight drops them to the 7 seed, just 3 points ahead of the 9th place Hurricanes, and 4 points ahead of the 10th place Penguins.

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