Irresponsible Rumormongering

Scouting the trade market: More top-six forwards

Photo: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE
Photo: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

The Rangers are in need of another scoring forward, preferably a shoot-first guy, in order to really round out the lineup. The thought process is that a top-six forward is acquired, moving J.T. Miller down to the third line with Kevin Hayes and Oscar Lindberg. That pushes Jesper Fast to the fourth line with Dominic Moore and Viktor Stalberg/Tanner Glass, and the Rangers are balanced.

The recent playing time of Jayson Megna, a right-handed shot, really emphasized the need for a player of that type. Megna is not a top-six guy, and to be fair is a borderline NHLer at this point in his career. When Megna started getting legitimate playing time, the hole at forward was exposed further.

Two weeks ago, we looked at some potentially available top-six forwards that the Rangers might try to target at the trade deadline. Since then, only James van Riemsdyk has really come off the market, with the Leafs saying they have no interest in trading him. Let’s look at a few more potential targets.

Cam Atkinson – Columbus Blue Jackets
Current Stats: 13-13-26 in 45 games
Contract: Two years after this season, $3.5 million cap hit
Clauses: None

Atkinson’s name popped up two weeks ago in trade rumors, and the fit made complete sense for the Rangers. He is a right-handed, shoot-first forward on pace for 25 goals this season. He’s small (5’7″, 180 lbs), but takes a ton of shots and still gets to the dirty areas on the ice. The problem is that he’s a John Tortorella favorite, and I doubt the coach will want to part with him. Compounding this is the fact that the Blue Jackets are now in the same division as the Rangers. I doubt they want to see Atkinson scoring on them five games a year.

Likelihood: Possible, but I’ll put it at slim. Torts isn’t a big fan of trading his favorites, plus Atkinson is on a team-friendly deal. In terms of return, I don’t know what the Jackets would want. The Seth Jones trade –with Zack Werenski on the way– helped some of their defensive woes. They might be better off holding on to Atkinson.

Andrew LaddWinnipeg Jets
Current Stats: 10-17-27 in 44 games
Contract: Pending UFA, $4.4 million cap hit this season
Clauses: Limited no-trade

Ladd was the subject of discussion on this week’s Blue Seat Blogs Cast, and he’s certainly an intriguing topic. The Jets’ captain is on an expiring deal, and the Jets may look to re-tool after missing the playoffs five times in six years. Ladd is a left-handed shot and may not qualify as a shoot first guy. But he is a top-six forward that drives possession. He’s a strong two-way player with solid skating ability and great hockey IQ, so he’d fit in well with Alain Vigneault’s system.

Steve Zipay said the Rangers might target him, but his suggested price of Dylan McIlrath, a prospect, and a pick seems steep and a tad unrealistic from the Rangers’ point of view. If the Rangers are to deal from the roster, I doubt McIlrath –who will be taking Dan Boyle’s place on the roster next season– is someone they would be looking to deal. Plus, the Rangers can’t take on Ladd’s cap hit without shedding their own salary.

Likelihood: This all comes down to asking price. I doubt the Rangers are going to deal some of their cost controlled guys, especially with cap-hell coming this summer. Add on the need to shed salary, and it becomes trickier. I’ll put this under possible, but unlikely. Naturally, this could change depending on what happens with Dustin Byfuglien.

Patrick Marleau – San Jose Sharks
Current Stats: 14-16-30 in 43 games
Contract: One season after this, $6.67 million cap hit
Clauses: Full no-move clause, rumored to have waived for the Rangers

Marleau’s name comes up in rumors daily at this point, and it’s really odd that he continues to mentioned. San Jose is currently in the playoffs, and there’s no reason to believe they won’t qualify this season in a terrible Pacific Division. San Jose’s position aside, Marleau isn’t the 30-goal, 70-point guy he once was. After all, he’s 36 years old. But he’s still a scorer with great offensive instincts.

The Sharks, however, do need help on the blue line. So there may actually be a match here. Don’t get too excited though.

Likelihood: Let’s go with unlikely. I don’t think San Jose trades him. Even if there is a match, I doubt this is a regular season trade. If anything, it’s a draft day or free agency eve thing.

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  • I would love the rangers if they got Cam Atkinson from Columbus he has played with Rick and with Derick so he would fit perfectly.

  • As many of you may know I’m following the Rangers for over 50 years and I have to say I think it’s time to blow this team up. I see a team which is not mentally tough. They can’t seem to handle a bad break in a game without falling apart. Our coach seems to have lost this team with his bad decisions of who he plays and who he sits. His total misuse of Yandle is unreal, not to mention Staal and Giradi as well. We need to trade them and put Dylan, Brady in their place. Some way some how Sather has to go! In 16 years he has not won anything for us, but yet we are suppose to be excited about how great he WAS with Edmonton. Maybe Dolan will wake up one morning and end his bro-mance with Sather, we can dream!!

    • So you’ve seen a team in the past 50 years that has flirted with the cup like these past 3-5 seasons?

      And did you see the recent game last weekend when this team chewed up a 2-0 deficit in the third period against hockey’s best team at the moment?

      They lost that game, they aren’t playing their best, but hold off on the bomb…

      I think we can still get this team going…

      And those trades, mostly St Louie, could have raised the cup, win now situations mean things like that can happen!

      Come on JOHNNY 50! HANG IN THERE … LGR!!!!

  • So we go from SC Finals in ’14 to best record in the sport last season (and probably just a few injuries away from a repeat trip) to a team that’s struggling at the moment but still very much in playoff position, and that’s it….all over blow it up. Seriously?

    Name me one team that’s taken that approach?

    There are obvious concerns for sure that need to be addressed. But it’s way too early to throw in the towel. No reason to yet. Let’s see what happens in the next few weeks and then we’ll know.

    • Philly sort of did it recently, right? I was stumped when they cleaned up house…

      Richards and Carter end up cupping it out west, didn’t they lost JVR too?

      I can’t recall all the players but I remember thinking they went form cup finals to… all fall down…..

      but I agree, not yet for the blue shirts… Johnny 50 has an itchy trigger finger…

      • Great point Pas!

        In a similar manner to AV, Laviolette took the Flyers to the Cup Finals in his first season. (Thanks in large part to Ollie Jokinen, but I digress!). The next two seasons, they got bounced out of the playoffs in the second round. Then missed the playoffs altogether. Then got fired at the beginning of the next season.

        So they bring in a totally inexperienced coach in Berube (kind of the Flyers answer to what it would be like to fire AV and hire Messier, I’d imagine….beloved ex player with no coaching experience), who makes the playoffs in season one, but is fired in season two. Now will see what happens with Hakstol.

        Every coach eventually gets fired, almost without exception. Eventually, the Rangers will fire AV. It’s inevitable. But success allows for a longer leash. It wasn’t until season five that the Flyers made a change. Torts lasted parts of five seasons too. That seems about right to me.

        And in the case of the Flyers, how did that Berube move work out? Be careful what you wish for everyone.

        • Another one would be Boudreau in Washington. Parts of five seasons. Good teams but no playoff success. Then canned. In comes the inexperienced Dale Hunter and then Adam Oates. Three disappointing seasons in a row until they find a real coach.

          So the take away….

          Four to five years is about the shelf life….so sorry AV haters, you’ll have to wait until probably the 2017-18 season for the great interim savior, who will likley be gone within a year or two after that.

          So fire AV…..maybe if we’re lucky we contend again in 2020. Maybe.

          • I thought Hunter did a good job, he just wanted to go back to his kingdom in the minors…

            he could have been good. no?

            Nash spoke the other night saying the systems aren’t the problem, the players execution is faulting…

            But I saw Henrik jaw Ulf for a while after he had no chance on the goal Saturday, pretty sure it was a penalty kill.

            Well, I feel like that little ranger fan kid – who left the barclays kicking the chairs…


            we need something, I know Mcd has been playing well, but he is our C, where is our SPARK!!!

            I like Glass, he is giving his heart, shame his isn’t skilled…

          • Hunter? Hard to say. He and Ovie did not get along very well. As we saw what happened with Roger Nielson and Messier back in the day, that usually doesn’t have a happy ending for the coach. 🙂

  • WE are in the shape we are in because of trades…..duclair for yandle, dubinsky and anisimov for nash and bad moves…..boyle for strallman……

    WE should be sellers this time………package Stepan and Girardi for nothing but picks….unload two bad contracts ……..

    sorry the future is not now…….we are several players away….McIlrath, Sjell. Buckavich, other prospects will be on the way,,,,,,be patient…..

    Hire Messier, fire AV………teach Hayes how to play center…….teach nash, kreider, hayes how to hit….if they played with the intensity of Tanner Glass no one would look forward to playing us ….we are soft….esp our defense…..too many forwards parked in front of our net………

    • Nice Point, I was wondering the other day what Messier could accomplish behind the bench, man I would really love to see players play for him, I think its gonna happen… not sure when!!!

      I also would like us to get 1-2 solid hitters, the washington series killed us and LA was too much for how bad the caps smashed us, my opinion…

      • Always thought Mess would be a superlative coach because he knows how to command the room. I was really hoping they would hire him instead of AV. I remember a game where Colin Campbell was the coach & the team got off to a lousy start against the Flames. Then Mess calls a time out, gathers the team, talks to them while Campbell watches & the team proceeds to dominate the Flames thereafter. Even then Mess was like a coach. Sather’s biggest failure has been his coaching choices. The only one I liked was Torts because he was the right guy at that time.

        • He knew how to command a room as a player. So did Berube, Dale Hunter and Adam Oates. Doesn’t always translate as a coach. And there aren’t too many examples of great HOF players in any sport that go on to have successful coaching careers. Has there been any rumors at all about Mess for any job? I haven’t heard one. Maybe there’s a reason.

          But I do agree, when the coaching search was on, I was intrigued with Mess. I’d have gone with him over Renney back in the day and let the players and coaches grow together. But to replace Torts when the team was in win now, with a rookie coach? No way. To me it was either Ruff or AV. Two outstanding proven commodities. No GM passes on that.

          You do like those coaches who snarl, piss people off, alienate, and eventually lose the room. 🙂 Surprised you like Trotz then…they say he’s about the nicest, most even keeled guy you’d ever want to play for….much like AV. He doesn’t seem quite “off-kilter” enough for your tastes. 🙂

          • new times mean new types of coaches too, they all have shelf lives…

            Players today, more money, different ways of coaching…

            Hunter probable wanted to get back down where the game was more a game without the distractions up in the bigs…

            remember when Dubby held out of camp, torts was pissed! said it set him back… maybe he was right, or maybe the games changed past some of these older coaches…

          • Man your generalizations abt me rarely hit the mark so let’s leave it at that shall we.

  • none of those guys make sense for the rangers to give up anyone for them. the rangers really have nothing to give up for making any type deal that would help them now. so my thought is that present members of the team hitch up their pants and get their butts to work and play with a bit more enthusiasm the way i beleive they can. it’s all about work ethic !!!!

  • More importantly, why on Earth are we paying Rick Nash $7.8M to be a 2nd line winger?! If he actually EARNED his keep, we wouldn’t need a top six fwd to begin with.

  • As long as Sather is part of the organization, Messier will not return in any capacity. Mark my word, so to speak.

  • i take that back, if they don’t plan on re-signing yandle, they do have a trade chip because i don’t think the other guys with no trade clauses will sign off.

  • Johnny Red’s views shouldn’t be dismissed, and it most certainly shouldn’t be dismissed based on the record of the past two seasons.

    We can all agree the last 2 seasons were very successful, and we were close to our ultimate objective. What is overlooked and hardly ever referenced in discussing the success of the past 2 seasons is how many years were these seasons “in the making”? When were the seeds planted for this success? Well, here is an illustration:

    Staal 10yrs in NHL; drafted 11yrs ago
    Girardi 10yrs in NHL; undrafted
    McDonagh 6yrs in NHL; drafted 8yrs ago
    Stepan 6yrs in NHL; drafted 7yrs ago
    Lundqvist 11yrs in NHL; drafted 15yrs ago…15yrs ago!

    This is our core, folks.

    Staal and Girardi are done, in terms of being able to lead a defense to a Stanley Cup. Their bodies won’t make it to the finals and they are right now not good enough.

    Lundqvist may have a 2yr window before his performance starts falling off; that’s a brief window and as Valiquette has pointed out, the history of the league suggests this is a big uphill battle.

    Stepan and McDonagh are young and good enough so that helps.

    The point is, in order to win the Stanley Cup, we need another wave of internally drafted and developed prospects to lead this organization the way, Staal, Girardi, Dubinsky, Anisimov, and Stepan have led and helped bridge this team toward top 4 league status the past few seasons.

    Hartford doesn’t have this many prospects.

    So, from that perspective, Johnny Red’s comments make sound sense as a viable strategy for this organization, and should not be dismissed so lightly.

    As for the past 2 seasons giving us reason to stick with the current roster, I simply believe that is very risky, and requires both Staal and Girardi to regain their top form from last season; and for Nash to become a big time playoff producer.

    This, to me, is why “blowing up the roster” is not as radical as some seem to think it is. We need to replenish Hartford and build from within again. It’s the only way.

    • AD, your analysis is spot on as much as it pains me to read it ( The truth hurts) We had our 2 year window to get that Holy Grail. This defensive core of this team has aged rapidly overnight, I see no light at the end of the tunnel. I feel for Hank, he looks to become destined to experience being the hockey version of Patrick Ewing of the NY Knicks..

    • The D in the system can replace Girardi and Staal, but those contracts could be anvils around the teams neck.. They need Da Buke to come over from the Motherland and be a productive top 6 forward.
      Kreider, Miller, Haze need to be 25-25 guys, they can do it IMHO
      Step and Brass have to be A-/B+ pivots
      They still have Nash and Zucc and Oscar is a productive pro.
      They do need some veteran leadership on the bottom 6; character guys who are defensively responsible, can bang and chip in a goal in the POs when the ice gets tight.
      Craps are playing great now but nobody will care come April

  • Yes, the team still is in position to make the playoffs, but let’s be realistic: how far would they go? Management should listen if they are offered top prospects or good young players for anyone on the club, including the great Heinrich. They have some good young players. They need to get younger on D and bigger and faster. Build on the young players for the future. They might lose for a couple of years, but done well they could build a club that could compete at a high level for years.

    AV is a great coach most of the time, but he makes mistakes because he is also human. I wouldn’t be so fast to get rid of him as some others. He doesn’t have the right mix of players now. I’d rather he groom a group of young kids to learn the game than preside over the inevitable playoff failure with nothing to look forward to in the future. Get him a good young team with potential and have some patience while they learn.

  • I am hoping the days of giving up the farm for a rental are in the past for the Blue Shirts.Teddy Purcell is a player I think the Ranger should consider. He has good hands, big body and is a free agent at the end of the season. Ted could be a bargain at the trade deadline.

  • Of the 3 names mentioned, Cam Atkinson is the one that could happen or should happen. But there is no reason to over pay for any of these 3 names.

    Cam is a good young player, that likes to shoot the puck. But he also hasn’t topped 40 points in a season yet. Although he is on pace to this year, I don’t see him as the answer to the scoring woes.

    Ladd brings plenty of experience and the ability to score. But how much of that comes from playing along side Little and Wheeler. Maybe putting him with Brassard and Zucc may bring similar results.

    Marleau is definitely the best scoring option of the 3, but he is also 36 years old. An aging winger that hasn’t played anywhere else, with anyone else, isn’t the ideal option.

    In my opinion, if it’s even a possibility, I think Cam Atkinson would be the best of the list. So long as the price isn’t too high. They can’t over pay just because he is a favorite of Torts. Also, for everyone that wants to see Girardi go, Columbus would be the best option. Girardi played his best years under Torts and know his system well. With Savard in and out he would slot in on the second defensive pairing with Jack Johnson and would make for a solid top 2 lines there.

  • I feel the guy we should get in ROR. He can bring a real #1 center to the team, which take some pressure off of Stepan and Brass. ROR makes his wingers better. It may be the subtle change that we can make that wakes up the wingers. Give them Oskar and a 3rd rounder.

  • King needs to play his older style of inside the net. He is getting burnt by playing aggressively outside the crease. He also after all this time still a bad puck handler so don’t try until you can master it like Brodeur. Rangers should break away with AV and get Paul McClain. They need to get rid of some slack and cap. Keep Yandle and say goodbye to some value for a good return. I say see ya Staal, Stalzberg, Fast, and Miller if need be. They can pick up anyone really from Carolina with Staal to play with his brothers like Brett Pesce, Jeff skinner And/or Riley Nash. They need a guy who get in front of the net and shoots, and bring up Gibbons from Hartford. He had a great camp and is an NHL’er. He did awesome on the PK with Pittsburg and shown he belongs up here. Free up salary and insert some talent and youth.

  • Messier left the organization because he wanted to be coach or bigger and better things. He is with the Oilers organization now. Would you wanna come back to this NY Mess when you have Conner McDavid, Draisital, Yakapov, Hall,Eberle,Hopkins etc….? Not gonna happen with Moose being a coach especially when Paul McClain out there jobless. Paul is a great coach and think they should exchange with AV. Also get rid of all the other coaches like Ulf and Scott Arneil. They focus on one thing each and there PP STINKS and so does there defense so why have them. Shed the money from behind the bench first.

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