Archive for Scott Gomez

All the talk with the Rangers and the deadline is about Rick Nash. It makes sense, and there have been heavy rumors stating that the Rangers and Columbus GM Scott Howson are in serious negotiations regarding the star winger. Nash would make the Rangers better in the short term and long term, although that contract might be a bit of a nuisance.

But if Nash falls through, expect Glen Sather to go hunting for a short term option to help fill a hole on the left side of the top six forwards. Short term fixes generally won’t cost much –assume a mid level prospect and a mid/late round pick– and are usually players on expiring contracts. We’ve discussed many different players that could be dealt, but let’s look at a few more.

Just a note: The Rangers can add more than $10 million in cap space without having to move a roster player.

Samuel Pahlsson, CBJ: Sticking with the Blue Jackets for a second, Pahlsson has drawn some interest, but it’s unexpected that the Rangers have any interest in the winger. Pahlsson is a very good defensive winger, but the Rangers aren’t really looking at that type of player. Kristian Huselius would have drawn interest, but his groin injury severely limits his usefulness.

Niklas Hagman, ANA: Post lockout, Hagman has been about a 40 point player on average. He has battled some injuries, but this year he has battled ineptitude. He just hasn’t gotten the job done, and was eventually sent to the AHL before being claimed off re-entry by the Ducks. He’s not really a viable option.

Scott Gomez, MTL: I think dealing Ryan McDonagh should get the job done, right?

Andrei Kostitsyn, MTL: Kostitsyn is about a 40 point guy, like Hagman. The difference is that Kostitsyn is still averaging 40 points, whereas Hagman misplaced his game. He may not be the top-six help that the Rangers need, either, but he could provide some depth and put up some points in a pinch. This would be a gamble.

Brad Boyes/Paul Gaustad, BUF: We end this list with the most realistic acquisitions for a short term fix. Boyes is a former 40 goal scorer who just hasn’t found that magic again. He could fill in on the top six, but like Kostitsyn, he would be a gamble. Gaustad is more of a third line player, but could provide more depth. Jochen Hecht would be an interesting option, but he’s out indefinitely with a concussion.

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Any Rangers fans that thought the Rangers would be relatively inactive during the free agent frenzy starting July 1st, well you were probably going to be wrong and if you weren’t wrong before the news broke about an increasing cap limit then you certainly are now.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, speaking at a Lawyers’ conference in D.C. recently discussed the increase in league revenues and he also made mention of likely cap increases. The revenue for the league expects to rise, close to $3 billion, up from $2.7 billion.

“It appears our salary cap will be going up.” Projects new cap will be $60.5M to $63.5M, up from $59.4M this yr.

So, looking at the middle ground as a safe bet the cap could be close to $62m, up considerably from the current limit of £59.4 million. What does this mean for the Rangers? Well simply put, potentially a great deal. The Rangers do have important roster players to re-sign in Callahan, Dubinsky, Anisimov and Boyle (among others) yet looking specifically at Callahan and Dubinsky – even if they more than double their salaries there will be a lot of money left. This cap increase of course has a knock on effect throughout the line up. Chris Drury’s potential buy out becomes easier to absorb (making it more likely?), Wojtek Wolski and players such as Erik Christensen’s future may also be under threat. So much, so many players are affected by the final cap figure.

The Rangers have a big decision to make. If Sather and his team think the core is set and it ‘merely’ needs some top level talent added to it to become a serious contender in the East you may indeed see the likes of Drury jettisoned. With the extra cap space Drury’s departure creates, in addition to the cap space created by the truly awful circumstances around Derek Boogaard the Rangers may become very aggressive in free agency. Given Sather’s free agent dealings in the past however, that makes many fans nervous and for good reason when you think of Redden, Wade and Gomez, Scott to name a few. Of course the Rangers may not be active in free agency……. (Tumbleweed)

The Rangers are almost certainly going to go after Brad Richards. The extra cap space the aforementioned cap fall out creates could see Sather also go after a defenseman such as Kevin Bieksa, Christian Ehrhoff, Tomas Kaberle, James Wisniewski or Joni Pitkanen to name a few. Of course all this speculation about cap space then spirals out of control. Would the Rangers consider going after restricted free agents? Cap space, depth in the organisation and picks may allow Sather to deal for a star such as Shea Weber or an underperforming elite talent such as Zach Bogosian. The mind wanders with all this talk of spending money. All that is left is for the cap figure to be finalised and to watch what Sather does next. Nervous?



Where Sather Went Wrong: Both Drury and Gomez

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This is now the second part of a multi-post discussion about the decisions of General Manager Glen Sather. Sather has come under some real heat lately, as the Rangers are in what appears to be a free fall, and have no cap room to make any adjustments. The highest paid players on the Rangers have been, to be delicate, disappointing. Sather’s strength during his tenure with the Rangers has been his ability to make trades, but this does not overshadow his weakness of evaluating the market and making the best decision for the team. In this series, I will analyze where Sather went wrong, and where he lost the fans.

It was the summer of 2007, and the Rangers were facing a dilemma. Michael Nylander, coming off a good Ranger career, was going to be let go. The Rangers had a gaping hole at center that season, and this departure was going to create an even larger hole. There were many prime centers hitting free agency, including Danny Briere, Chris Drury and Scott Gomez. Ranger fans were assuming that Glen Sather was going to land one of these centers.

Late in the afternoon on July 1, Ranger fans were stunned by the news they received. In a matter of minutes, the Rangers had signed both Drury and Gomez to monster contracts. Many were thrilled, as the problem down the middle had supposedly been solved. The Rangers committed over $14.5 million in salary cap space to the two centers. The problem was that both were second line centers who parlayed one good year into mega bucks.

To say that Gomez and Drury were/have been disappointments in the Big Apple wouldn’t be stretching the truth much. Both centers struggled in their first year on Broadway, and neither put up the numbers that fans were hoping for. Drury (+4.2 GVT in 2008-2009) has struggled mightily in his two-plus seasons on Broadway, and hasn’t been able to match the performance he put up in Buffalo that earned him his $7 million a year salary.

Gomez, slated to be the top center, never found chemistry with Jaromir Jagr and Martin Straka, and while many attributed this to a difference in playing style, those opinions were quickly silenced by how quickly rookie center Brandon Dubinsky clicked with the Czechs. Gomez improved the following year, but underperformed considerably, especially considering his $7.5 million cap hit (a -14.3 GVS, good for 10th worst in the league).

Hindsight is always 20/20. But this one is too glaring to miss. The Rangers would have been better off signing just one of the centers, letting Dubinsky develop as a 2nd/3rd line center, and using Matt Cullen, as a significantly cheaper option, as the other center, and to play the point on the powerplay. Cullen was the type of player the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 Rangers were lacking, a cheap, quick 2nd/3rd line center that can play the point on the powerplay. Would it have solved all the problems? Of course not, but I’d rather have a cheap option fail to an extent than an expensive option fail miserably.

Don’t misunderstand, the Rangers needed to sign one of those players, not both. Say all you want about the size of the Drury deal (the only relevant one now), but that contract value was set when Daniel Briere signed with Philly for more money. The problem was signing both to these overvalued contracts, and eating up significant cap room that hurt them at both the trade deadline and in subsequent offseasons.

Luckily for Sather, he was able to rectify this mistake by dealing Gomez in the 2009 offseason, making room for Marian Gaborik, and acquiring Ryan McDonagh in the process. This is a very rare occurrence in the NHL, and Sather is lucky that he was able to not only dump Gomez, but get a great return in the deal.

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The Gomez Deal: Cap Analysis

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Well, we all know that the Scott Gomez to Montreal deal was a salary dump. But how much of a dump? Gomez has a $7.357 million cap hit through 2013-2014.

Chris Higgins, an RFA, made $1.9 million last season, and it’s safe to assume he has been qualified for that amount. Considering how much time he missed last season, and his output from his previous seasons, it’s safe to assume that $3 million will be the going rate for him.

Doug Janik, well, he’s a journeyman, he won’t be back next season, unless it’s as the 7th defenseman, the Rangers have too much defense anyway. He would come cheap at roughly $500,000 though. That’s what you want from a 7th defenseman.

Ryan McDonagh is in college, just finishing up his sophomore year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He won’t be counting against the cap. I will be writing a prospect profile on him in the coming days.

Pavel Valentenko, well, if he comes to the US, he will start in Hartford. He bolted the AHL last year for the KHL, so it’s unlikely he will be back.

That’s a lot of words to just say this: The Rangers just gained $4 million in cap space*. They dealt from a strength (center) to fill a huge hole (LW), and they didn’t give up any prospects or current young NHLers. AND they freed up cap space. This trade was a huge win for Sather.

*-Actually number depends on the contract for Higgins, and if they sign Janik.

Just a note, I liked Gomez. I thought he would have done well under the Torts system with Avery and Callahan. But he was signed to be a leader, and he wasn’t leading, his contract was atrocious, and the Rangers needed to fill that hole. Good luck in Montreal Gomer.

As for the current lines, or my best guess at them:





Clearly, the Rangers have a need for a RW. They can go the RFA route (Drew Stafford, Ryan Clowe), the UFA route (Hossa, Kovalev, Knuble), the trade route (insert wild trade scenario here), or just see if they have someone in the system (Greg Moore, Dale Weise).

Personally, I would love to see Clowe in Ranger blue. But I don’t think the RFA route is a viable option. Without that 3rd round pick (used on Brian Boyle), the Rangers don’t have enough compensation for any RFAs (for more details, check the Cap Page).

My guess? Knuble, 1 year-$2.5 million.

As for that defense spot, it’s probably going to be one of Sauer / Potter / Sanguinetti.

All in all, it’s nice to have some cap room, eh?

Oh, almost forgot. The Rangers now have enough room to go after Hossa, and still keep Staal, Dubie and Cally long term.

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That will shed some salary.

Wow. Way to go Slats.

More later, I’ll analyze the finances.

Guess this means no Heatley. Dubi stays for now.
Update 5:25pm: Details are in:

To Mtl: Gomez, Tom Pyatt, Mike Busto
To NYR: Higgins, Ryan McDonagh, Pavel Valentenko, Doug Janik

Salary dump, and a steal of one. Wow. Great job Slats.

Update 5:30pm: McDonagh was Montreal’s 1st round pick in 2007.

Update 5:35pm: Doug Janik in the deal too. Oh, and the details are on TSN, duh.

Update 5:53pm: Carp is reporting that Heatley is on his way (thanks Mike):

UPDATED, 5:31 P.M.: I’ve been told that Heatley is coming to the Rangers tonight. Not sure what the Rangers are giving up to get him, but they can fit him under the cap now.

Update 6:15pm: Lost in all this is the Rangers getting McDonagh, who was the Canadians best prospect. Sather absolutely fleeced Montreal.

Update 6:20pm: Expect more wheelin and dealin:


“We’ve got lots of cap room now, and it opens lots of options.”

Thinks Higgins will be a goal-scorer … was hurt three times last year. Likes the other two kids as future NHL players, too.

“Torts has talked about the young guys all year and we wanted to make some room for them, and we did.”

“Since this deal happened I’ve had three calls (from other teams), and it doesn’t take long for people to realize you’re going to make some changes.”

Update 8:50pm: It looks like the wheelin and dealin was just the Gomez deal. Doesn’t look like Heatley is coming to New York. I would rather the Rangers spend the cap space on a free agent scorer instead of dealing for one.

Just imagine how much more cap room they would have if they didn’t sign Redden. Sigh.

Categories : Trades
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LeBrun: Gomez Available

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Pierre LeBrun of ESPN has mentioned that the Rangers have made Scott Gomez available across the league. This shouldn’t be a surprise to many, as it was already mentioned here once, and it’s widely known that the Rangers would love to dump one of their high priced contracts. With Drury unmovable, Gomez is the more likely, even if incredibly unlikely, to be moved. In the article, LeBrun mentions the Kings as a possible destination:

The Los Angeles Kings have been linked all spring to Tampa Bay star Vincent Lecavalier, but we’re told those talks have cooled off for now. One Eastern Conference source told us Saturday the New York Rangers have made Scott Gomez available around the league, but we’re not sure how interested the Kings are in him. It’s a heck of a big contract.

LA isn’t going to be taking on Gomez’s contract, sorry. And considering the rumors that they are in the workings with TB for a deal centered about Jack Johnson and Lecavalier, that makes it even less likely. Look, if for some unknown reason the Rangers are able to deal Gomez to LA, you’re looking at a return of Michael Handzus ($4 million through 2011), and/or Tom Preissing ($2.75 million through 2011), and/or Justin Williams ($3.5 million through 2011) just for salary purposes. Yes, LA has cap room to give, but they aren’t going to take Gomez’s contract without dumping some of their own. They will need their cap room to resign players like Alex Frolov, Jack Johnson (if not in the Lecavalier deal), and any free agents they may be targeting (Hossa, Gaborik).

If any of the contracts are going to be moved, it’s Rozsival. Sorry guys. I am wishing that it were Gomez or Redden too, but it’s just not happening.

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Garrioch: Rangers Looking to Deal Gomez or Drury

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In a stunning turn of events, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun has broken the news that the Rangers are looking to trade either Scott Gomez or Chris Drury, because they cannot afford them both:

The belief is the Rangers will have to decide between keeping Fs Chris Drury ($8.05 million next season) and Scott Gomez ($8 million) because they can’t afford both.

Gee. Thanks.

This really isn’t a surprise. Of course they can’t afford both. Gomez is the easier of the two to move, as he only has a limited no-trade clause, while Drury has a full no-movement clause (for details, visit the NMCs/NTCs page).

Lyle Richardson of Spector’s Hockey has taken the analysis a step further, noting that San Jose could be a potential trade partner for the Rangers, while dangling Marleau or Michalek.

Michalek intrigues me a bit. He’s 25, a $4.3 million cap hit, albeit for the next five seasons (thru 2013/2014), and so far has put up impressive numbers, averaging 25/35/60 since 2006-2007. He has the potential to be a #1 winger, given the right situation. The Rangers have a glut of players at center, and will be looking to clear some room to get Anisimov some time there, and then eventually Grachev. Can the Rangers get Michalek? Doubtful. Marleau is probably the odd man out in San Jose.

People have already beaten the Drury for Marleau horse to death. But would Gomez for Marleau straight up work? Doubtful. The Rangers would definitely have to pick up Brad Lukowich and his $1.8 million for 2009/2010, and send a prospect (Sauer or equal caliber) and/or a pick to the Sharks. It could be a draft-day deal, but I doubt it. Blockbuster trades like this are a rarity in the NHL today. Personally, this deal is one that I would jump on. Losing Gomez would suck because I think he would do well in a Torts system, especially with Avery and Callahan as his linemates, but financial stability in the salary cap era is more important.

I’m still skeptical of any trades involving big contracts actually happening. I think we are stuck with all of them.

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Rangers NTCs

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As draft day nears, there are always “ideas” of trades, especially of the large contracts. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s look at who the Rangers have given no-trade clauses (NTC) and no-movement clauses (NMC). Information courtesy of

  • Chris Drury: Full NMC
  • Scott Gomez: NTC – has 3 teams he will not accept a trade to.
  • Wade Redden: NTC – has 8 teams he will not acept a trade to.
  • Michael Rozsival: NTC – has 8 teams that he will not accept a trade to.

Essentially, everyone other than Drury is moveable. Is it likely that these guys will be moved? No. The player with the biggest chance of being moved is Rozsival, but that is also highly unlikely.

This is just food for thought while everyone comes up with their wild trade scenarios.

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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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On to NY….

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Well that sucked. The Rangers were just awful tonight. They came out flat, took soft penalties (a ton of them), allowed shorthanded goals. I mean, what else is there to say? They were dominated. They did everything they did in Game 3. Varlamov wasn’t really challenged until the 3rd period, and now has two (TWO!) shutouts in the playoffs in four games. This was tough to watch, and it got real ugly in the 3rd.

Has anyone heard from or seen Scott Gomez? What about Nik Zherdev? If anyone has seen or heard from them, please let the Rangers know. They have no idea where they have gone. They are key players that need to show that they exist and care on the ice. This team has not gotten any pressure on a 22 year old rookie playing in elimination games, and Gomez, as a team leader, should be one of the people leading the charge in getting pucks to the net. They need to get some sustained offense. AND STAY OUT OF THE EFFING BOX!!! HOLY CRAP!! Hooking, tripping, holding, it’s all lazy hockey. It’s pathetic.

That Ovechkin goal was just silly. The man is a highlight reel every time he touches the puck.

A few positives: Dubi had another strong game, as did Cally, Staal and Girardi. These four usually seem to be the only consistent players that have strong games when the rest of the team stinks. Also, good move by Torts pulling Hank in the 3rd. He was exhausted, and it showed.

As for sitting Avery, I agree with the move. The Avery fanatics won’t, but be realistic, he wouldn’t have made a difference in this game. We know Voros isn’t an upgrade over Avery (they should have called up someone from Hartford), but Avery needed to sit for almost costing the Rangers Game 4. I don’t care what anyone says, this game is still a Caps domination with Avery or without him.

Game 6 back at the Garden on Sunday. Let’s hope the Rangers come out like they got nothing to lose.

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