Free Agency Musings!

It’s Musings Thursday. The day before Free Agency so that makes this the Free Agent edition of Musings. See what I did there? I’m a genius I tell thee….

I wanted to tell you all that today was Christmas Eve and that we would all be excited like little children for tomorrow morning. Someone got to it before me but the thought remains. I’m so excited. Are you?

Inconvenient: I’m moving apartments tomorrow. Location is a massive upgrade but in terms of Free Agency it’s a huge pain in the ass. Moving all my stuff to a place with no internet connection for two weeks on free agency day? Sweet Jesus! My dad is getting an unexpected visitor tomorrow as I use and abuse his internet connection all day. No way do I miss Free Agency day.

Brad Richards. Everyone has taken their guess at where he goes, for how long and most importantly for how much. I think the Rangers offer him 6 years and 42 million. Does he take it? I think so but the Rangers (in my humble opinion) will not be competing against themselves even if they are the best fit.

Random moment of the day: Driving to the garage to get my car fixed – for the second time in a week! – and a Mercedes drove past me with the private licence plate: CD NMC.  I kid you not. Has Chris Drury and his No Movement Clause come all the way over to the UK to get away from it all?

Fact: The Rangers will be considerably better after July 1st than it is today. Of that, I am convinced.

Over/Under on Rangers free agent signings? With the over/under being 2 I’m saying over. I think they bring in two new faces (including Mr Richards) and bring back one of their own free agents.

A few players have got new (temporary?) homes this past few days. Let’s discuss them. James Wisniewski; I know a lot of you guys wanted him on the Rangers but the defense (barring a depth addition) is set. The West got tougher though, because if Columbus can sign him up and they have Carter to go with Nash then this team is definitely a playoff team in my opinion. Or is it? The West remains stacked.

Christian Ehrhoff; First the Isles and now the Sabres. First things first he is a good defenseman that is about to be handsomely overpaid. I know plenty of people will have laughed at the Islanders inability to sign him but in the end it didn’t cost them to try so kudos for being aggressive. Speaking of aggressive, if the Sabres sign him they become much better. Given the new owners ambition don’t rule them out of the Richards sweepstakes, assuming BR would be willing to play there.

  • You want examples of Free Agency being shallow this year? The deals for Tomas Kopecky, Chad Larose and David Jones were very generous to say the least, especially Kopecky’s.

Jaromir Jagr. He loves the attention doesn’t he? If he signs with the Pens that’s bad news for the Rangers as he’s in the division and makes the Pens much better. They say the deal is stalling. Some say it’s because he wants to come back to New York. This is the guy that was the first hockey $100m earner. If I’m Sather I welcome him back IF he will play for league minimum. Money shouldn’t be a factor for him.

Beyond Free Agency: Prospect Camp has been interesting. A lot of players have impressed. Andrew Yogan looks like a keeper; strong on the puck with good size. He’ll impress for the Whale if he plays a full year there. Ryan Bourque has impressed, Fasth and Thomas are scoring goals, McIlrath is playing both ends of the ice well and Erixon has displayed some slick puck movement. All bodes well.

On McIlrath: He’s taking responsibility over? Hard to gauge amongst fellow kids but the fact the player covets the role of leader bodes well. If he can improve his skating he may be in New York sooner rather than later. I had him tabbed for the MSG no earlier than 2 more years but if he’s growing as a personality and his skating catches up to his size is it a long shot that he makes it next year? Not at all.

  • Hall of Fame Selection: I may be biased but I think Eric Lindros deserves entry eventually. This year’s class was a good one though and given the candidates next year he’s going to have to wait a while longer. Does Pavel Bure deserve it? Yes.

Good luck in retirement to Todd Marchant and Paul Kariya. In very different ways both were very good NHL’ers. Kariya for a while was truly elite while Marchant is an ex Ranger.

I purposely got to the end of this Musings post without discussing the Chris Drury buy-out. I’m the bigger man! Enjoy Free Agency people. Fingers crossed!! Go RANGERS (welcome, Brad).


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  • You just can’t figure out Jagr – though I’d much rather that he strings the Pens along than us. I think people are drastically over-stating his potential impact. Yes, he can help a contender – I think Detroit is a good fit – but he will be a complementary player not necessarily a go-to guy.

    The news on McIlrath is very positive – just listening to this kid talk about how he wants to get better and the interaction with his teammates – I really think we’re going to love this kid. And I can’t wait until he knocks out what remains of Carcillo’s teeth.

    Oh, Chris I completely sympathize with the sans internet situation – I will be in the middle of a 7 hour drive up to the Adirondacks when free agency hits tomorrow and my cell reception sucks up there. Bummer.

  • I want jagr. Put him left side of br and mg.

    Stephan and aa rotate second and 3rd line duty and we are set.

    • I wouldn’t mind this but it’s doubtful Jagr would move to the left wing. I think it would have to be Gabby – which I do think he could play – remember that snapshot vs. the Kings two years ago. Jagr would have to play for cheap and I never got the sense that he was overly loyal to any team and wouldn’t simply just go to the highest bidder.

        • Yes Richards can. Gabby can’t but at least he’s a north/south player. Rangers don’t need hits, but they need players that fit the system. It’s called chemistry. And the foundation of chemistry generally comes to fruition when you have like-minded line mates.

          Jagr, Nylander, Straka worked because they were all finesse players who like to cycle you to death.

          Dubi, Cally, and Arty all forecheck, all hit. They fit the system.

  • They say Rangers are interested in Ville Leino. Be interesting if we were to get him. That would be the end of Fedotenko I presume.

    Also, prospects camp is looking great. I think Mcilrath will have a shot at the team sooner than expected, probably next year. Also, Thomas is really impressing me. Can’t wait till real Rangers camp and see how these guys do.

  • I’d personally stay way clear of Leino. One good year in 3 NHL seasons and he will likely get 3-4m? I’d want more of a definite CV than one 50 point season before I roll out the red carpet.
    He wasn’t even a big point producer in Finland until his final season there. Is he a good player or does he have occasional hot seasons? Rather someone else find out and risk the cap hurt.

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