I find the NHL Draft to be such an interesting concept. Not only do front offices have to be ready to deal with reacting to their punch list of player rankings and how to best utilize those picks, they also must engage in rapid-fire trade discussions and last minute pick movement. Fascinating. The Rangers are in an unusual position (for them, at least) at the Draft this season, having no high picks and several valuable assets. There are numerous ways the next two days can play out, so naturally, I have some thoughts.
- Might as well start with Cam Talbot. Over the last few weeks, we have gotten a little better idea about where his market stands in the context of a potential bidding war between Buffalo, San Jose, Edmonton and potentially teams like Dallas or Florida. The claim is that Sather turned down two second round picks. I trust the big guy’s trading prowess, and that’s a solid return to turn your nose up at in a very deep draft.
- I think another reason why Talbot should be a preferred trade target for a team that is still in its rebuild phase like Edmonton or Buffalo is that his monetary requirements probably wouldn’t be astronomical. Players already in free agency like Ramo or Niemi are looking to cash in. The controlling team has Talbot for $1.45 million, and since he was an undrafted free agent who never made a ton of money, he could potentially be persuaded to sign an extension at a reasonable cost rather than risk his stock declining on a mediocre team, under a starter’s workload.
- I’ll be curious to see how a potential Robin Lehner trade opportunity affects Talbot’s market. For my money, Lehner is the most talented goaltender on the Ottawa roster. I would look into trading either Anderson or Hammond first.
- I don’t understand Sather’s position that he wouldn’t want to trade Talbot to Buffalo, since they are “in state”. Unless he has his eye on a young asset that Tim Murray is reluctant to move, and is using this position as leverage, it makes no sense. Different division and no matter what Slats does, Buffalo is coming. They have about 40 first round draft picks over the next two years, so denying them Talbot is like trying to stop a train with a handgun. Not to mention, Columbus has about twelve ex-Rangers on their roster and they are in our division (can anyone tell I’m in a hyperbole mood, this morning?)
- I keep going back and forth on Kevin Klein. On one hand, a single move with him and Talbot could instantly clear almost $4.5 million in cap space. I think that most teams in the market for Talbot would also be in the market for an affordable, reliable veteran defenseman who can help stabilize a (presumably) young core. I just wonder if the return couldn’t be maximized selling the apart.
- Obviously, shedding Dan Girardi’s contract would be preferable, but we all know that is exceedingly unlikely to happen. Who knows, maybe Slats finds an old school GM who still values minute eating, shot blocking, stay-at-home defensemen to be a $5m+ commodity. I wouldn’t hold my breathe, though.
- I would love to see the Rangers bring in another guy capable of playing in the top-six to replace Marty St. Louis. I feel confident guys like JT Miller or Kevin Hayes could step into that role pretty seamlessly, however, depth is king. Those guys playing flexible third line minutes were a luxury most teams did not have.
- I think the maneuvers at the Draft and the first few days of free agency will tell us all we need to know about how the Rangers feel about the readiness of their defensive prospects.
- I’ll be very displeased if Sather’s approach this off-season is anything other than reinforcements. I really like the composition of this group and would be very disappointed to see major personnel changes. Some additional depth and coverage in areas of weakness are terrific, but I hope the salary cap hamstrings the organization from more significant moves.
- It’s obviously not happening, but I’m curious as to what sort of max offer our readership would extend for the rights to the #1 overall pick (McDavid). I think we will get some interesting answers.
- If the price tag is $6 million per season for Stepan, do you trade him? Centers are tough to come by and that leverage works in Stepan’s favor. On the other hand, his production hasn’t necessarily warranted that type of outlay. I think Derick (see Becky, I spelled it right) Brassard’s contract is a good comparable for a guy whose best seasons are supposed to be in front of him.
- Congrats to Carey Price on an absolutely absurd season. Historical.
I hope everyone enjoys the Draft tonight. Dave and some of the crew will be live-blogging all the goings-on during the next two days and we will have full analysis of all the Rangers’ moves right here at BSB.