Archive for Tim Kennedy

Via Bob McKenzie, the Rangers have acquired Bryan McCabe from the Panthers for the low, low price of Tim Kennedy and a third round pick. Larry Brooks confirmed it. In 48 games with Florida, he’s got a 5-17-22 line and is a +3 for a team with a -11 goal differential overall.

McCabe, 35, missed a month with a broken jaw a little earlier this year, but he’s been back for just over a week now. We heard the two sides had a deal in place prior to the injury, so it’s not a surprise that they consummated a trade before Monday’s deadline. McCabe will be a free agent after the season, and his cap hit for the rest of the year is a little over $1.3M according to CapGeek. I believe the Rangers still have about $3.8M in wiggle room remaining (apologies for the uncertainty).

It’s hard not to absolutely love this deal. McCabe gives the Rangers exactly what they need, and that’s a veteran, left-handed defenseman with experience running the power play, and they did so without giving up a core piece a) off the NHL roster, or b) for the future. New York still has a first and two second round picks at their disposal. It’s unclear if he’ll be uniform in time for tomorrow’s game, but they really could use him with Marc Staal out. Either way, bravo. Great trade for the good guys.

Update: Michael Del Zotto’s been sent back to Connecticut to make room for McCabe. (h/t Bleeding All Blue)

Categories : Trades
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Kennedy Given Permission To Seek Trade

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As per Andy Strickland, Connecticut Whale forward Tim Kennedy has been granted permission by GM Glen Sather to seek a trade. Kennedy was signed by the Rangers in the offseason as a low risk player to maybe fill out the roster. However, Kennedy was outplayed by both Derek Stepan and Ruslan Fedotenko, thus he was sent to the minors to play out the year. He has been less than stellar in Hartford, with just three goals on the year. He does however have 12 assists.

The general “outrage” (Side note: Really? Outrage? Buffalo clearly didn’t want him. He didn’t make the Rangers, and he’s been pretty average in the AHL. Let it go folks.) is that Todd White was “given” a roster spot over Kennedy when the time came to make a roster decision. The truth is that neither Kennedy nor White deserve a roster spot on the Rangers. The general feeling was that since Kennedy is so young, he should be getting regular playing time, while the 35 year old White is best served in the spare forward role. White will be sent to Hartford once Chris Drury returns from injury.

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Roster Questions in Gabby’s Absence

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With Gaborik out for a minimum of 2 weeks, Drury done for at least 5 and Erik Christensen still hurting the Rangers will very likely need to recall a player from Hartford. The apparent depth the organization has is about to be tested early on in the season. Lets look at a few of the candidates.

Forget Tim Kennedy. If he is brought up, back a club can grab him for a mere 275k and a player at his age with minimum 25 point potential wont clear so Kennedy is likely in Hartford for the year. Will we see Todd White make his Rangers debut any time soon? His chances have certainly improved due to the injuries but if Christensen is ready to return the Rangers need is on the wing not at center so the chances the Rangers turn to Hartford increase.

Friday night, while the Rangers were struggling to deal with the Leafs, Mats Zucarrello-Aasen scored his first goal for Hartford. If the Rangers opt to bring a player up and go for skill, over merit they may fast-track MZA to the NHL. One goal in 3 games is nothing to scream about but in terms of pure skill he is the best option in Hartford out of the prospects. Other options may include Dale Weise and/or Dane Byers. Both have started the AHL season reasonably well – Byers has 3 points in 3 games, Weise 2 in 3 – and both were considered close to the roster in pre-season.

A player that should be left well alone (to find his game) in Hartford is Evgeny Grachev. With a goal in his first 3 games Grachev has made an impact but hasn’t yet taken over offensively. He should be allowed to get lots of ice time in the AHL and mature without having the burden of trying to make up for Gaborik’s loss.

If anyone is called up the smart money may be on Weise. Last year the Rangers wanted to get him in the line up at seasons end and Tortorella admitted he likes him as a player. If the Rangers go down the Weise/Byers route we may see Ryan Callahan bumped up a line. Whoever inserted into the line up will cause a rippling effect on the roster because its unlikely the Rangers would insert a guy like Weise straight onto the top line just to avoid breaking up the Stepan and Anisimov lines.

Categories : Analysis, Transactions
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Kennedy Sent to Hartford

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A move in Ranger Land went down earlier today. With Captain Chris Drury’s pending return for Friday’s home opener with the Leafs, recently waived (but not sent down) Tim Kennedy has now been sent to Hartford to make room for Drury. Kennedy showed flashes of skill during camp but not enough to force himself into the line up and was always going to be sent down as soon as one of the veterans returned from injury.

There’s a good chance Kennedy will now never play for the Rangers. While it was a surprise that he cleared waivers in the first place, if he has to come through re-entry waivers he’ll almost certainly be snapped up given his cheap deal, age and potential. Hartford, at least for the time being, just got even more talented. Kennedy should be an impact player at that level if he can show what he did during his rookie year in Buffalo.

Categories : Call Ups/Demotions
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White/Kennedy Clear Waivers; Drury/Prospal On IR

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When the Rangers waived centers Todd White and Tim Kennedy yesterday, many assumed that one or both would be claimed, especially Kennedy, who comes very cheap. However, both cleared waivers. Since both have cleared waivers, their salaries ($2.375 for White, $550,000 for Kennedy) are removed from the Rangers cap. The Rangers have 30 days to assign them to the AHL, or else their salaries will be added back to the cap, and they will both need to clear waivers again.

As expected, the Rangers have placed centers Vinny Prospal and Chris Drury on injured reserve. Their salaries will remain on the books, but the Rangers will be allowed to go over the salary cap ceiling, if necessary, by their combined salaries. The total amount the Rangers are allowed to be over the cap is the prorated amount of both players salaries for the number of days spent on IR. With two of the three on ice leaders out, it’s going to be interesting to see who gets the temporary A’s.

Derek Stepan won the Lars-Erik Sjoberg award, as voted on by the Rangers press, for the top rookie in camp. This was probably the easiest vote for the award in history.

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The Rangers are in the midst of more change. Todd White and Tim Kennedy have today somewhat surprisingly been placed on waivers on a day which has seen a lot of teams place players on waivers. Several sources including beat writers Larry Brooks and Andrew Gross are speculating the roster moves could be a pre-curser to a trade for a defenceman and the usual rumours of Sheldon Souray have re-surfaced.

Souray has been a very effective player in the league and has a wicked shot but questions remain about his health, character and whether he has much left to give. The Souray rumours make sense given the players (read: cap) that have been put on waivers and the fact that the Rangers defense is missing an extra left handed player which Souray is.

Here’s my issue with all of this: Even at 2.7m Souray is a risk and a big one. First of all he is another roster block for McDonagh, Valentenko and co in Hartford when they are ready to come up and it’s not just for one year but two. Secondly, while the Rangers could benefit a lot from a healthy Souray the valuable cap space he would eat up would be better served (perhaps mid season) on acquiring more offense. Souray isn’t a critical need on the blue line given Del Zotto, Gilroy and Roszival on the power play and the addition of Sauer’s physicality. Again, even at 2.7m (half the salary should the Rangers get Souray on re-entry waivers) Souray is a luxury. Can the Rangers afford to have a roster luxury at this stage?

Just now, Larry Brooks has reported via twitter that Tortorella has indicated neither Kennedy nor White would immediately report to the AHL should they clear waivers. As Brooks himself points out, it would be a surprise if a minimal cap hit such as Kennedy clears waivers. With both players ‘staying on the roster’ in the event of clearing what does it mean for the trade rumours? Today has added a lot of intrigue and discussion in Rangerland.

Categories : Transactions
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Prospal Out Provides Opportunity

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UPDATE: this post was published prior to seeing Tim Kennedy and Todd White placed on waivers. One or both may clear waivers and stick with the team like Aaron Voros did in the past but this clearly isn’t a good situation for the two forwards.  We’ll look at other players who will get opportunities to impress at a later date. If White and Kennedy do leave the roster it means more ice time to go round in the short term. Stay tuned….

Vinny Prospal being injured for a few weeks provides an intriguing opportunity for several Rangers players to begin the season. It firmly places the pressure even more so on the first line, however that should line up. John Tortorella had openly stated his preference was to pair Frolov and Gaborik together and did so to great effect during the pre season. With Prospal out injured the pair and their center will be counted on even more as Prospal’s experience, secondary scoring and enthusiasm will be sorely missed. So what players comes into focus with Prospal (and Drury) out to begin the year?

Brandon Dubinsky

Much has been written about Dubinsky entering a cross-road like season in his career. He needs to take it to the next level, find consistency and become the player most Rangers fans believe he can be. Quite simply he needs to fulfil the promise he has teased the Rangers faithful with. With leaders such as Drury and Prospal out the offensive depth will be tested even more and Dubinsky has a chance to go out to begin the year and make himself invaluable. At this point of his career Dubinsky is no longer immune to being moved. Should he continue his up-down career form and the Rangers are deadline buyers Dubi will know, he and his expiring contract will be a potential trade chip. Dubi needs to start the year well, for both his own and the teams sake.

Todd White

Has anyone ever been on a more public audition? White will know his 2.3m salary, age and lack of pre season form puts him firmly in line to be a prime cut candidate when Drury and Prospal come back. He knows he needs a fast start to force his stay on the roster beyond the injury returnees or at worst make sure he’s a viable trade asset and not another NHL veteran banished to the AHL. White has talent and can deliver offensively but hasn’t shown it yet in his brief exhibition time with the Rangers. White could appear on any line so is a real X factor during the first few weeks.

Alex Frolov

Frolov, if you place any importance on pre season form, has started impressively as a Ranger. Scorer of goals, provider of goals, solid defensive play and displaying instant chemistry on the top line; Frolov has almost done it all. Now, when the games count and given the injuries Frolov goes from low risk free agent to must-succeed acquisition. Everyone knows Gaborik can’t do it all alone and with Prospal out Gabby needs a running mate. Frolov’s offense will be crucial to how the Rangers start the year and a lot of focus will be on the Russian. Will Frolov show the Kings they were wrong to let him go? The reasons stand to benefit massively should Frolov be as motivated as he seems.

Tim Kennedy

Kennedy is another player who should be motivated to prove his former employer wrong but like Todd White is another who is a bit of an X factor. Kennedy can play both center and wing so can potentially be a direct fill-in for either Prospal or Drury on the 2nd or 3rd lines. Kennedy has some offensive upside, is elusive and can skate well and has provided some occasional spark during pre season while never really convincing. While there won’t be the pressure of expectancy on a player who is playing for minimal cap space, Kennedy will still be expected to prove he’s worth his place on the roster given popular roster candidates such as Dale Weise and Mats Zuccarello-Aasen were sent down to accommodate him.

The Rangers have a lot of players facing various types of pressure. How the new recruits, underperforming returnees and ‘core’ players cope with expectation early on may dictate the Rangers season. A hot start can be crucial to a playoff berth, especially given the tight nature of the Eastern conference. It should be interesting to follow the individual fortunes of many Rangers this season.

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What We’ve Learnt So Far?

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11 days of camp and 3 games into the pre-season and the Rangers have made two series of roster cuts and have 27 players remaining. So what have we learnt about the state of the Rangers?

Let’s start with the negatives.

Looking at camp it was disappointing to see core players such as Artem Anisimov struggle with the conditioning skates. It was perplexing because it’s been reported that the Russian was training throughout the summer – what gives? Other players who didn’t distinguish themselves during the conditioning included Michael Del Zotto who, like some others, was struggling with cramps and leg pain.

Goaltending beyond that at the NHL level continues to be somewhat of concern. Chad Johnson, who has NHL potential has struggled, letting in soft goals during the exhibition season while Scott Stajcer has let his nerves get to him. Stajcer had a poor first scrimmage including conceding goals on his first three shots faced. Jordan Parise and Cam Talbot didn’t turn heads with their play either. Neither seemed legitimate threats to Johnson for starting/playing time in the AHL.

A sign of a successful NHL team is how a team deals with the opposition’s top lines. The Rangers thus far have struggled to contain the key players during each pre-season contest. The Devils top trio of Parise-Kovalchuk-Zajac scored with ease in both games while the Rangers struggled to keep Zetterberg’s line off the board on Sunday (against Detroit), while Brian Rafalski also did what he wanted offensively in Sunday’s tilt. The Rangers struggled to deal with the puck possession and skill level of the Red Wings.  Although the Rangers haven’t iced a full NHL side yet (it is pre-season after all) they will have to deal with opponents top lines much more effectively when the regular season kicks off.

Drury’s injury is a negative. Drury is on this team regardless and additional offense (compared to last year) from the captain would go a long way in helping the Rangers return to the post season. While conditioning shouldn’t be an issue (he can still bike and do cardio) Drury has missed an opportunity to get in on the scrimmages and pre-season games and re-discover his offensive game. A nice run of pre-season success may have helped Drury’s confidence, however thanks to injury he’s already behind the eight-ball.

So what has gone well?

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Rangers Sign Tim Kennedy

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The Rangers have signed ex Sabres forward Tim Kennedy.

The 24 year old, 5’10 forward became a UFA after the Buffalo Sabres bought his deal out after accepting an arbitration award in the region of $1m earlier this summer.  Kennedy had a solid rookie year for the Sabres scoring 10 goals and 26 points and can play both left wing and center. Terms of the signing have yet to be disclosed but the deal has been reported on twitter by beat writers Andrew Gross and Steve Zipay.

The signing is by no means a bad one but an odd one. You have to assume that Kennedy would be a bottom 6 player for the Rangers, an area where the Rangers have an abundance both in New York and Hartford. Kennedy does have upside however, prior to his solid NHL rookie year he had an excellent year in the AHL where he put up 67 points for Portland.

Hockeys future had this to say about Kennedy:

His defensive zone play and willingness to take the body have remained strengths, and he showed good leadership ability with his college team.  Though not a pure scorer, he is an opportunistic and smart offensive player, with good fundamentals.

His signing is surely the final nail in the Brian Boyle coffin and Kennedy does seem to have offensive upside even if he doesn’t have natural goal scoring ability. Kennedy in NY also makes the future of players like Dane Byers murkier. After all, where can they all fit? While an odd signing at worst  this is another low risk high reward signing by Sather as Kennedy costs nothing but dollars and could surprise with his talent. Training camp competition just got a little more fierce.

Update (Dave): James Mirtle is reporting that the deal is a one year, one way deal at $550k. The Rangers now have 11 C/LW on the roster.

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