With free agency approaching and current New Jersey Devil Dave Clarkson announcing he intends to test free agency, the media will naturally associate the Rangers as a player in the race for Clarkson’s services. However, the Rangers would be wise to avoid the physical Clarkson in all but the most buyer friendly of circumstances.
Even disregarding the minimal success – to put it politely – the Rangers have had with former Devils (think Gomez, Scott and Holik, Bobby) Clarkson doesn’t make sense for the Rangers. At 29, and in a free agency pool regarded as weak, Clarkson is in a position to absolutely cash in, despite not producing overly impressive numbers one season withstanding.
Clarkson’s one season where he scored heavily in 2011-12 was a product of a shooting percentage well above his career average (13.16% as opposed to a career 9.39%) so it’s reasonable to assume Clarkson cannot continue that trend, especially when he has to contend with other top six wingers such as Ryan Callahan, Rick Nash, and the presence of Chris Kreider and Carl Hagelin. That’s without mentioning the demands players such as Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard will have on top six minutes.
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Is Ryane Clowe less likely to re-up with the Rangers because of AV?
As we approach the draft weekend and the Stanley Cup playoffs are over, the Rangers get ready to enter the offseason with a new leader at the helm. We’ve beaten the Alain Vigneault-analysis angle to death so let’s just jump into another musings instead.
Artem Anisimov has turned his move from the Rangers into an almost $10m, 3 year contract. Good for him but it’s another example of a struggling franchise overpaying to keep players happy. Based on production, Anisimov is not worth 3.25m per year. That said, maybe he earns it during the deal.
If Kris Letang goes to the Leafs it would be a huge mistake by the Penguins. Yes, his demands may be out of whack but that club needs balance and he’s arguably the best offensive defenseman in the league after Karlsson.
People shouldn’t assume Ryane Clowe will be back with the Rangers because he’s been medically cleared. He has had ‘history’ with the Canucks, had an almost public feud with the club up North. Remember who last coached the Canucks?….
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Both poised for bounce-back years. Will they do it? (Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)
It’s no secret: Brad Richards and Ryane Clowe had disastrous seasons. Richards was a non-factor for the Rangers on the powerplay –something he was brought in to help bring back to respectability– and was even a healthy scratch for the last few games of the postseason. Clowe didn’t score a goal until he arrived in New York before suffering what is rumored to be two concussions over the span of the last week of the season and his two playoff games.
What we do know is that they were both awful. What we don’t know is whether or not these were off-years or the sign of a complete downward spiral for both players. However, handy-dandy puck possession metrics and shooting percentages can give us a bit of insight into what to expect from them next year, be it in New York or elsewhere. Yesterday I looked at the puck possession leaders for the Rangers, and both Richards and Clowe were among the top five for the Rangers, which may allude to the fact that there’s still gas in the tank. Insert “watch the game nerd” joke here.
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As the offseason progresses, the Rangers are going to have tough decisions to make. They currently have 18 players signed for next season to $51.5 million in cap space. With the cap at $64.3, the Rangers have $12.8 million in cap space to address roster needs, including re-signing their key RFAs. They are in better shape than they were before the Marian Gaborik trade, but addressing their needs may mean seeing a nice piece of the puzzle let go. Ryane Clowe is one of those forwards who may fall on the outside looking in.
When the Rangers traded for Clowe the day before the trade deadline, they were acquiring a big body who is dominant along the boards. Although Clowe hadn’t scored in San Jose, he immediately chipped in offensively with the Rangers (3-5-8 in 12 games). A concussion sidelined him for the last game of the regular season and all but two games in the postseason. Clowe does not have a long injury history, and this was his first concussion. The real question is whether or not the Rangers saw enough in Clowe to warrant re-signing him to what would likely be a contract around $4 million.
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Did the Rangers forwards play up to their ability?
Deciding on grades for the Rangers top six forwards is a bit tricky given John Tortorella’s penchant for mixing his lines and moving players up and down the line up because of his almost infamous lack of patience. Who knows, maybe his propensity for constant change had a part to play in his dismissal. That all said; with another Rangers season over (in underwhelming style) let’s look at the Rangers offensive producers.
It’s probably not in my best interests to admit this when hoping you read to the end, but I have no idea what has happened to Brad Richards or how to explain his startling fall from grace. Richards was brought in to remedy the Rangers depth issues at center and to help improve an under performing powerplay. He’s done anything but in either aspect. Richards followed up an acceptable first year as a Ranger with a disastrous second.
His regular season was full of scoreless streaks, a lack of confidence (that got worse as the season progressed), and his mere presence on the powerplay became enough to worsen the unit. Richards’ game has disintegrated to the point that every beat writer has already written him off as a buy out this summer. What makes Richards’ season somewhat puzzling is the hot streak of sorts at the end of the regular season that offered one final slither of hope that he was rebounding. It was a false dawn. It’s highly likely his last days as a Ranger were spent in the press box. Grade: F
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Per Dan Rosen, injured winger Ryane Clowe is on the ice for practice today. Clowe has been out since Game Five of the Washington series with a likely concussion. While this is always promising news, let’s remember that Marc Staal has been practicing for a while, and he’s only played in one playoff game. This is a hopeful sign, but until we hear confirmation he is playing, it is still just a hopeful sign.
Andrew Gross is reporting that Darroll Powe is on the ice at practice as well. Anton Stralman and Chris Kreider were not at the optional.
Per Pat Leonard, Marc Staal, Ryane Clowe, and Darroll Powe are all out for tonight’s Game Seven in Washington. Powe and Clowe didn’t even travel with the team for the game tonight. With these three out, expect the same lineup as Game Six. It’s worth noting that the Rangers have not dressed their top lineup at all during the postseason.
Per Dan Rosen, Ryane Clowe said there is a “good chance” he plays tonight. Clowe, who hasn’t skated in the playoffs, will likely take the place of the injured Darroll Powe. Powe appeared to suffer a concussion in the Game Three victory, as he left in the first period and did not return. Powe, who suffered a concussion earlier this season, is likely done for the playoffs if this news is true.
Per Dan Rosen, Ryane Clowe left the optional skate early this morning, while Arron Asham stayed on the ice a bit longer. This generally suggests that Asham will be a scratch, and Clowe will make his return to the lineup. Rosen also noted that Marc Staal is physically ready (reading between the lines of his tweet), but it’s more of a mental thing with Staal. He has to be able to play without feeling like his decision-making will burden the team.
Naturally, Torts isn’t revealing any of his lineup decisions until the warmups, so don’t expect any updates until just before puck drop.
Howard Simmons/New York Daily News
– This is a rare trade where I think both sides have been pleasantly surprised with what they ended up with. Columbus fans seem giddy with what Marian Gaborik has done so far and almost in disbelief that the Rangers didn’t know what they had in him, along with Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky. On the flip side, few Rangers fans knew much of anything about any of Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett and John Moore, but Brassard has already shown flashes that suggest he could single-handedly make up for a lot of Gaborik’s production, Dorsett sounds like he’ll be a perfect Blueshirt soldier whenever he takes the ice, and watching Moore skate has made it hard not to think of what Ryan McDonagh’s greatest quality does for him. It seems pretty clear that both teams came out of the deal better than they were before.
– Blue Jackets beat writer Aaron Portzline raised eyebrows when he wrote that Dorsett might have been the toughest player for Columbus to part with. It sounds a little surprising given the obvious skills of Brassard and the potential of Moore, but neither of those players had established themselves as go-to players for the Blue Jackets yet. Dorsett was an alternate captain with a decorated history of standing up for teammates, playing his heart out and doing generally everything that coach John Tortorella loves. Will he be the next Brandon Prust in New York? The comparison certainly seems to make sense. Read more »