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Posts tagged: Michael Sauer

Good News For Staal/Sauer; Ranger Nation Backs Away From Cliff

There has been much publicity regarding the injuries for Marc Staal (concussion) and Mike Sauer (right knee tendinitis).  Today, there was good news all around, as Staal, who sat out yesterday, participated in practice and drills.  He was held out of scrimmages, but that’s to be expected.  As for Sauer, he participated in a delayed Camp Torts, which he missed because of the injury.

Sauer seems to be progressing nicely, as the Rangers organization would not make him participate in such a workout if his knee was not close to 100%.  Camp Torts is difficult enough as is, without having to deal with tendinitis on a knee that has troubled Sauer in the past.  Expect him to be back up to speed sooner rather than later.

For Staal, the word is still “cautious”.  He still has some post-concussion issues, but they are mainly limited to headaches.  It seems that the more intense the workout, the more intense the headache. That makes sense. The good news is that he is not suffering from any other symptoms like dizziness, nausea, or ringing in the ears.

Having both back in the fold before the season starts is critical to the team’s success. Rushing them, however, is not. It’s good to see that the Rangers are treating these injuries with caution. Let’s all stop panicking about them and a potential signing of Paul Mara (more on that tomorrow), and just wait until it’s October before we panic, ok?

Training Camp Injury Updates

Artem Anisimov and Mike Sauer are the two “regulars” who did not participate in the first day of Camp Torts this morning due to their own injuries.  Sauer tweaked his knee this summer, and it’s the same knee that has limited his action in the past.  The Rangers have announced that it is tendinitis, and it is something that will need to be monitored. Side note: I don’t get the spelling of tendinitis. It’s a tendon, but it’s tendinitis.  Where did the rogue ‘I’ come from?

As for Anisimov, there is great news on his front, as the MRI on his knee came back negative.  Anisimov was held out today because of a red flag during his physical, but the negative MRI means he will be back tomorrow.

Marian Gaborik was not at camp today, as he was attending the funeral services of Pavol Demitra.  Blake Parlett was also held out of camp today, with a knee injury he suffered at the Traverse City tournament.

Some roster updates: Randy McNaught was not invited to camp, but Matt Rust was (contrary to the post below), as were Chris McKelvie and Scott Tanski.

Potential Sophomore Slumps

Last year, the Rangers had several rookies playing key roles in the organization.  Derek Stepan was fifth on the team in goals (21) and fourth in points (45), while Ryan McDonagh and Mike Sauer were counted on as a second pairing, eating up big minutes against tough opponents.  These three, especially Sauer and McDonagh, are going to be expected to improve  –or at least be on par with last year.  Sophomore slumps could really hurt the Rangers.

Don’t think a sophomore slump is possible?  Look at Michael Del Zotto.  He was impressive offensively in his rookie year (defensively he needed help), but his numbers fell off a cliff in his second season.  Regression for Stepan, Sauer, and McDonagh is a definite possibility, and something that could potentially cripple the Rangers this year.

Stepan’s offense falling off a cliff is unlikely, but it is also equally unlikely to affect the Rangers drastically with the addition of Brad Richards.  In fact, you can argue that a sophomore slump from Stepan is almost impossible because Richards and Marian Gaborik will be the focal points for opposing teams.  This allows Stepan to float under the radar a bit as a third line center.

As for Sauer and McDonagh, their ability to shut down offenses and eat big minutes is no longer a secret, and you can be sure that coaching staffs are reviewing video to see if there’s a weakness.  The fear is that as teams adjust, that Sauer and McDonagh might try to do too much, like the way Del Zotto tried to do too much last year.

The saving grave for this pairing is that they are generally defensive defensemen, although McDonagh certainly has the ability to add offense to his game.  If they just focus on making the small adjustments, and not worry about adding an element to their games that they don’t have, then they should be fine.  I don’t expect a Del Zotto-esque collapse, but it is possible that they regress a little bit.

Mike Sauer Press Release

Here is the press release for the Mike Sauer signing:

RANGERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH DEFENSEMAN MICHAEL SAUER

New York, July 8, 2011 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to terms with defenseman Michael Sauer on a new contract.

Sauer, 23, skated in 76 games with the Rangers last season, registering three goals and 12 assists for 15 points, along with 75 penalty minutes and a plus-20 rating.  His plus-20 rating led the team, ranked fourth among NHL rookies and tied for 11th among NHL defensemen.  He also ranked sixth among NHL rookie defensemen with 78 hits, and tied for sixth among all league rookies with 96 blocked shots.  Sauer tied for third among Rangers defensemen in goals, and ranked third in assists and points.  The Rangers posted a record of 3-0-0 when he tallied a goal and 12-2-0 when he registered a point.  Sauer tallied his first career goal with the game-winner, on the power play, in a 5-3 win at Ottawa on December 9.  He recorded his first career NHL point with an assist on October 23 at Boston.  In addition, Sauer registered one assist in five playoff contests.

The 6-3, 213-pounder has skated in 79 career games with the Rangers, registering three goals and 12 assists for 15 points, along with 75 penalty minutes.  Sauer made his NHL debut on March 24, 2009 vs. Minnesota.  He has also appeared in 177 career games over three seasons with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL), registering 13 goals and 33 assists for 46 points, along with 160 penalty minutes and a plus-29 rating.  In 2008-09, Sauer established AHL career-highs in goals (six), assists (17), points (23), plus/minus rating (plus-29), and shots on goal (92).  His plus-29 rating led the Wolf Pack and ranked third in the AHL, and he tied for second among Wolf Pack defensemen in goals and ranked 10th on Hartford in assists.  Sauer made his professional debut with Hartford on October 6, 2007 vs.Bridgeport, and tallied his first professional point with an assist on November 9, 2007 at Manchester.

The St. Cloud, Minnesota native was originally selected as the Rangers’ second round choice, 40th overall, in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

Rangers Re-Sign Mike Sauer

Per Andrew Gross, the Rangers and RFA defenseman Mike Sauer have agreed to terms on a deal.  Sauer was one of four RFAs to file for arbitration just three days ago.  This signing avoids an arbitration hearing between the Rangers and Sauer.  The deal is worht $2.5 million over two years, or $1.25 million per season.  When initially predicting what it would cost to lock up Sauer, we said somewhere between $1.1 million and $1.4 million, so we were right on the money here.  Consider this contract a win for both sides, as Sauer gets a 150% increase on his salary, and the Rangers have one of their projected top-four defensemen signed for under $1.5 million.

Dubinsky To File For Arbitration (UPDATE: And Callahan, Boyle, Sauer)

Per Larry Brooks, Brandon Dubinsky plans on filing for player-elected arbitration:

Dubinsky to file for salary arb, agent Kurt Overhardt tells Post. “Not a negative commentary, part of the process…”

The deadline to file for arbitration was today, and this comes as no surprise to most that at least one Ranger filed for arbitration.  As Dubi’s agent states, this is just a part of the process, and really shouldn’t be viewed as a negative.  In fact, there are several positives that come out of this:

  • Since arbitration has been elected, Dubi is no longer eligible for offer sheets.
  • Dubi will have a contract in front of him before July ends.
  • They can work with the arbitrator’s ruling to hopefully negotiate a longer term deal.
  • The August buyout period is now open for the Rangers.

Following arbitration, Dubinsky can either accept a one or two year deal based on what the arbitrator has ruled, or he can negotiate for a longer term deal.  The Rangers also have the option of cutting ties with Dubinsky, but that is extremely unlikely.

Update: Per Andrew Gross, Ryan Callahan will also file for arbitration.

Update #2:  Also per Gross, Brian Boyle will file for arbitration.

Update #3: Thank you Sally for pointing out that Mike Sauer has filed as well.

Grachev, RFA, Qualifying Offer Notes

After the draft ended yesterday, Glen Sather was pretty candid about the RFA situations, qualifying offers given, and the Evgeny Grachev trade. Regarding Grachev, it appears he asked out of NY over a year ago, and that the Rangers had been shopping him all year. St. Louis was the only team interested, which severely limits his trade value. That surely explains not only the trade, but the lack of return for a kid with that much potential. It does make you wonder why he wanted out though.

As for the RFAs, Slats stated that all RFAs have been given qualifying offers except for Matt Gilroy. Gilroy QO of $2.3 million was too much for the Rangers, who offered him a separate deal, which he rejected. Gilroy will now hit the open market on July 1. As for the remaining QO’s, the dollar value is as follows:

Artem Anisimov – $803,250
Brian Boyle – $605,000
Ryan Callahan – $2.4 million
Brandon Dubinsky – $2.0 million
Mike Sauer – $550,000

Slats does not expect the Rangers to sign any pending RFAs prior to July 1, which gives them flexibility to go after UFAs, particularly Brad Richards.

Erixon Arrival Promises Change To The Rangers

The Rangers are ‘counting on Erixon’ to make the team. These words, spoken by Rangers beat writer Steve Zipay on twitter, provided some significant insight on the newest member of the Rangers organisation. Numerous other writers and bloggers – not all from the Rangers community – congratulated the Rangers on the acquisition and many even went as far as to say that the Rangers have already had a good draft day because they will have ended up with two first round talents thanks to Erixon.

Assuming Erixon does make the team what do the Rangers have on their hands? Only 8 defensemen scored more points than Erixon in the SEL this past season. Many of those, including ex NHL players such as Janne Niinimaa and Josef Boumedienne, were veterans who can’t be considered to ‘still be developing’ like  20 year old Erixon.

Indeed, it appears only one ‘prospect’ scored more than Erixon and that was stud prospect David Rundblad. Erixon scored 24 points from the blue line in a league where only two players scored more than a point/game in the entire league (based on a minimum of 44 games played). The SEL is known as being a defensive, lower scoring league.

Erixon’s numbers are impressive whatever way you look at them. At just 20 years of age, listed at 6’3 and over 205lbs, the young Swede has the physical presence and skill to be a smart two way player for the Rangers for a long time. Two full years in the Swedish Elite League will have prepared him well for the NHL and that is without considering his substantial experience internationally.

So where does Erixon fit in?

Going back to Zipay’s words and the fact the Rangers expect him to make the club, one has to assume he’ll begin on the third pairing. The reason this is worth noting is because it will likely mean splitting up one of the top two pairs (Staal –Girardi, Sauer –McDonagh).

Why does Erixon’s arrival mean the splitting of one of the top two pairs?

Assuming Mike Del Zotto makes the Rangers out of camp (very plausible) it would be hard to imagine the Rangers putting Erixon on the third pair with MDZ. While Erixon acclimatizes to the NHL the Rangers will not want to put any extra pressure on Erixon, but especially not on Del Zotto as he tries to re-find his game. Giving Erixon a steady defensive partner like Mike Sauer or Dan Girardi would help him ease into his new role.

In addition to finding the right scenario for Erixon to develop in, upon graduation to NY Erixon probably becomes the Rangers second most skilled blue liner behind Del Zotto. Pairing them together would be a case of ‘putting all their eggs in one basket’. Change is coming to the New York blue line and not just in the arrival of Erixon, but because of the knock on effect he causes. Camp’s going to be interesting.

The Whale and Rangers Prospect Low-Down (Part One)

A lot of change is happening in the Rangers organisation. Many prospects are coming up through the organisation and developing; whether it be after their first year as a pro, promotion from the Canadian Junior Circuit (CHL) or leaving college to join the pro ranks. In most cases the prospects will taste the pro level for the first time with the Rangers main affiliate in Connecticut, the CT Whale.

Recently, Brian Ring and Bob Crawford from the CT Whale took time out of their busy schedules to discuss the Rangers prospects, the Whale organisation, and provide a unique insight into the potential next wave of Rangers. Answering numerous questions for the blog, we’ll have their answers in a few posts over the next week or so starting with the first few questions below. A big thanks to Brian and Bob for speaking with us. Happy reading!

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Derek Stepan Continues to Gather Plaudits

While the young freshman is over in Europe racking up the assists and playing big minutes for Team USA, the rookie’s first year in Ranger blue continues to gather compliments. This week, Hockeysfuture wrote about their Calder nominations and spoke in some detail about their top 10. Derek Stepan came in 9th place in their top 10 while Mike Sauer got an honorable mention as well – nothing to sniff at. While 9th is not high enough to be a serious trophy candidate (in all fairness there was seriously stiff competition this year) it is high enough to be a legitimate compliment to the young American. HF said this about Stepan:

Finishing fifth among all rookies and fourth on his teams in scoring, perhaps the most remarkable fact is that Stepan played in all 82 games. The Rangers line-up was ripped apart by injuries through the year, forcing Stepan to continuously adapt to different line mates and responsibilities.

It is certainly an impressive feat for Stepan to have been such a constant in the Rangers line up this year and if anything this season has only added to fan’s excitement over the young Minnesotan’s future. Stepan is truly a key cog going forward for the Rangers. If he continues to develop as he has (and the Rangers do indeed grab a veteran elite center) then a Rangers’ issue – skill at center –becomes an absolute strength and that is not even factoring more development from the likes of the Anisimov’s, Boyle’s and some of the prospects. As important as a Brad Richards type of acquisition is, so much hinges on how Derek Stepan (and Anisimov to be fair…) develops. Fingers crossed.