Rangers sign Michael Grabner


With Viktor Stalberg headed to Carolina, the Rangers promptly replaced the Swede with another lightning fast skater in Michael Grabner for two years at a $1.6 million cap hit. Grabner got a huge deal from the Isles in 2011, but was traded as he was a healthy scratch regularly. He regained his footing with the Leafs, posting a solid 9-9-18 in 80 games.

Grabner and Stalberg have similar skill sets. They are both fast skaters, good on the penalty kill, and good on the forcheck. He’s not the 20-goal –or even 30-goal– guy he once was, but he’s still a solid depth forward for a team that needs speed. The fact that he’s on a decent contract helps too. The second year means he can be exposed in the expansion draft. That fact shouldn’t be overlooked.

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When you compare Grabner and Stalberg, it’s clear that Stalberg is the better player. The Rangers downgraded here. Not by much, but certainly downgraded. They also paid $100k more per season. Is part of this because he was on the Leafs? Maybe. But if you’re expecting 30 goal Grabner, you’re not getting it.

Perhaps Stalberg never wanted to come back to the Rangers. That’s always a possibility. But aside from adding the second year for expansion draft purposes, this is a puzzling swap to me.

Update: I may have hot take’d a bit too hard here. Last year appears to be an off year for Grabner. Here’s 2016/2015 side by side.

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And here’s 2015/2014, side by side.

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Toronto may have skewed his numbers. In this case, it appears he is right on par with Stalberg. I retract my previous statements about the signing.

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  • I think the key is the eligibility to be available in the draft next year, as is the defensman we picked up from Colorado. He will do well as the 4th line center and possible 3rd line center/winger.

  • Don’t agree at all. As Duthie said “Grabner seem to have like 4 breakaways a game.” I can even see him on the third line with Buch & Hayes.

  • hard to hate or love this transaction..he did play for AV in Vancouver in 2009-10 so maybe that is a for the money Stalberg probably a better option..I guess we get Gerbe for Stalberg

  • It’s gonna be really sad if we look back on this offseason and can say without a doubt that the only truly impressive move the front office made was actually giving the assistant coach role to the guy who deserved it most, rather than screwing that up. I hope it doesn’t come to that…but it’s heading that way so far. Nonplussed. Not a terrible signing, not a great signing…just meh. Doesn’t move the needle one bit IMO.

    • They handcuffed their own growth because Sather/Gorton pissed away numerous years of #1 and #2 picks plus Callahan,Duclair,Moore,Saarela for 1+ years of Yandle and Marty St.Louis (oh and 1/2 a year of old overrated Staal)
      In other words, they f–k up big time. While we hand away #1 picks like candy, NJ Devils acquire Taylor Hall without giving up a pick. We need better GM’s. It’s that simple. Rangers only good at drafting and now limited. I was thinking Duclair should have been a top 10 pick in the NHL draft really.

  • Eh, I guess Graebner is akin to a spare tire. At least he has speed and isn’t swigging Ensure. Curious as to why a guy who scored 20 and 30+ goals 5 or 6 years ago seems to have lost that.

  • As stupid as it may sound, and I can see all the thumbs down coming, I’m glad we aren’t in any pissing contest with any other teams for UFA’s. We dug a hole for ourselves, and now we have to dig our way out of it, hopefully learning the value of quality high draft picks, and staying away from all the rummage sales !!!!!!!!!!

    I believe that Gorton knows better, and maybe with Sather out of the picture, we can build a quality team based on speed, youth, staying within our budget, and away from the retirees…………………..

    • Speaking of rummage sales Walt, we have some 30+ year-old pylons, you think Goodwill might take them? How about the Oilers? After the Hall trade they might do just about anything.

      • Pete

        Eddie would argue that we should let the 2 players in question get adequate time to get their game together, because they earned it. That may be until they retire, because these two guys are done, and we are stuck with them. Oh the joy of having old farts on defense these days, I just love it !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe we should try to resign Boyle again, and go after Harry Howell while we’re at it. Just a thought !!!!!!!!!!

  • How are you supposed to use stats on an individual for a year that they were attached to the tire fire that was the 15-16 Leafs?

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