Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Leafs Acquire Versteeg From Chicago

There were rumblings ever since Chicago won the Cup that one of the players who would be shipped out of town because of the salary cap situation would be Kris Versteeg. Around the draft there was rumors that Vancouver was close to getting Vertseeg in a deal and then there were some other reports that the Rangers were a possible destination.

One the eve of the beginning of Free Agency for the Summer of 2010, Vertseeg has been traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

According to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun via Twitter:
Leafs get Versteeg and the rights to winger Bill Sweatt in exchange for forwards Viktor Stalberg, Chris DiDomenico and Philippe Paradis

Rangers News on Eve of Free Agency

  • Voros, Brashear and Rissmiller who were all placed on waivers by the Rangers yesterday all cleared today at noon. The Rangers are not expected to buy out the contracts of any of the three.

  • Larry Brooks reports that Jody Shelley has rejected an offer by the Rangers of $825K to stay in New York next season.

  • The NY Post has also reported that Erik Christensen has rejected a two year deal from the Rangers with a contract believed to be $750K per year.

  • The most talk around the NHL surrounding free agency, besides Ilya Kovalchuk, is how will the goalie shuffle end up? The Rangers won't be in the Nabokob/Turco sweepstakes or pursuing a trade for Tim Thomas who is rumored to be available, but their main priority is probably finding a backup for Lundqvist.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rangers Place Brashear, Rissmiller and Voros on Waivers

According to Bob McKenzie the Rangers have waived all three players. However, don't expect any takers.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Catching Up On The Weekend's News

  • The Flyers are trying to get the number one goalie that they have been missing for years. Apparently the Flyers and Sharks have a deal that allows the Flyers to attempt to sign Nabokov before July 1st. If the Flyers can get him signed before the start of free agency they will send a 7th round pick next season [Link]

  • The Rangers traded Bobby Sanguinetti to the Carolina Hurricanes for a 2010 6th round pick and 2011 2nd round pick. There was a lot of hype surrounding Sanguinetti when the Rangers drafted him in the first round in 2006, mainly because he was a local kid (from Trenton, NJ) and grew up as a Rangers fan. Some of those who the Rangers looked over when picking Sanguinetti -- Claude Giroux, Semyon Varlamov, Milan Lucic, Patrik Berglund and Nick Foligno. To put things in persepctive, that's the same year the Rangers drafted Artem Anisimov in the 2nd round with the 54th overall pick.

  • Negotiations between the Rangers and RFA Marc Staal aren't going as well as the Rangers would like. No word on the numbers but when asked if there was a wide gap between the two sides, Glen Sather responded “I wouldn’t say it’s a wide gap, it’s more like a chasm.” [Link]

    For those of you who don't know what the heck a chasm is, here's the link to the definition from dictionary.com. There's a good chance you still have no idea what the hell it is. Bottom line, it doesn't look like they're signing a deal within the next few days.

  • It's rumored that Marc Savard has dropped his no movement clause and would accept a deal to the Leafs or Ottawa. [Link]

  • Draft Recap -- Round 1 & Rounds 2-7

  • In case you missed it, the Islanders added Kevin Connolly (better known as "E" from Entourage) to their front office this weekend. [Link]

Friday, June 25, 2010

Rangers Draft Dylan McIlrath With 10th Overall Pick

The New York Rangers raised a few eyebrows at the draft on Friday night when they drafted Dylan McIlrath with their first round pick (10th overall). McIlrath was projected to go in the lower half of the first round but according to Rangers' Director of Player Personnel Gordie Clark the Rangers "have been tracking McIlrath's rise since December and have known for a while that he was their man."

Many Rangers fans are not happy with the selection but it's way too early to determine if this was a mistake. Should the Rangers have drafted the best player available? Should the Rangers have traded down to draft McIlrath later in the first round, since it was likely he'd still be available? Possibly, but they didn't. As a result, Rangers fans everywhere are left to hope that McIlrath turns out to be all that the Rangers hope that he can be. He's known as a physical, punishing defenseman who is not afraid to drop his gloves. I for one say it's about friggin time we got a few of those guys in our lineup. The last time the Rangers had a legitimate crease clearer, was a long time ago, hopefully McIlrath can remind us of the good 'ol Beukeboom days.

What they are saying about him:

Director of NHL Central Scouting, E.J. McGuire
“Big and mean, old-time typical NHL defenseman. He scares people not only with some frequent fights he might get in, but with 6-4, 212 lbs. straight ahead speed and offensive ability to match. Often, and in a very complimentary sense, makes puck carriers cut to the other side of the ice with his intimidating size.”

Moose Jaw Warriors head coach Dave Hunchak

“An old school defensemen who plays hard and very physical. A great deal of untapped potential that can be used in shut down situations as well as on the offensive side of the puck.”

Moose Jaw Warriors radio broadcaster James Gallo
“17-year-old Dylan Mcilrath’s large frame casts a shadow that many NHL scouts and opposing teams have taken notice of. His strong defense and punishing physical play has turned him into a fan favourite at the Civic Center.”

Video -- Taylor Hall: Journey to the Draft

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Marleau Staying in San Jose

You can take one of the bigger names off of the list of available free agents this summer. Patrick Marleau re-signed with the San Jose Sharks today, just a couple of days after the Sharks made it known that they would be parting ways with long time number one goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. According to CapGeek, Marleau's contract is for 4 more years with a cap hit of $6.9M per season.
 
The Sharks also re-signed RFA Joe Pavelski to a 4 year deal worth $16M total over the course of the contract.

In other news the Boston Bruins re-signed defenseman Johnny Boychuk to a two year deal worth $3.75M total.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Del Zotto Named To All-Rookie Team

Goalie: Jimmy Howard
Defense: Michael Del Zotto and Tyler Myers (won Calder Trophy, for rookie of the year)
Forwards:Niclas Bergfors, Matt Duchene and Jon Tavares

Who Will Backup The King?

There is no question who the Rangers goaltender for this season and the foreseeable future is. But, who is going to backup Henrik Lundqvist?

Last season Steve Valiquette had that job but was then sent down to Hartford after a couple of sub par performances. He'll be a UFA come July 1st and is certainly not coming back to New York.

Chad Johnson, also got to play in a handful of games last season. But, it's likely that the Rangers will want to give the young goalie acquired from Pittsburgh last summer more time to develop. Especially because whoever gets the backup job is going to see limited action with Lundqvist getting the majority of the starts. So it's likely that Johnson will at least start the season in the AHL.

Alex Auld was another goalie who saw limited time last season for the Rangers. He was acquired at the end of February when the Rangers claimed him off of re-entry waivers. Auld will also be a UFA on July 1st. Could he be re-signed on the cheap and given the backup role? It's possible.

CapGeek has a list of the UFA goalies who will be available on the open market starting July 1st. There could be a few big name goalies available, but that certainly is not what Glen Sather will be looking for. The Rangers will likely be looking for a steady veteran who has been around the league and will be comfortable playing in 15 games or less.

The Rangers will have some decisions to make this summer and may find themselves trying to squeeze under the cap again after they have signed the players that they need to get under contract. Will that mean that in order to open up cap space for another roster player the Rangers will try and spend as little money as possible cap wise on a backup goalie?

The one good thing about there being a decent pool of goalies available this summer including Evgeni Nabokov and Marty Turco and the Bruins being rumored to be shopping Tim Thomas is that it may drive down the contract costs on some of the more middle of the road goalies like Biron, Leighton, Hedberg, Mason (probably getting the most money of these 5 goalies) and Niittymaki.

I personally am undecided as of yet. I think that any of the goalies that I just mentioned above in that last sentence could be good options on a one or two year deal with a cap hit of $1M or less.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Busy Day In The NHL; News From Around The League

  • According to Larry Brooks of the NY Post, The Rangers do not intend on tending a qualifying offer to Enver Lisin, he will become a UFA on July 1st. [Link]

  • The anticipated trade of Nathan Horton finally went down today. It was rumored for a few days that the Bruins were interested and that's where he went. Horton and Gregory Campbell were sent to Boston for Dennis Wideman, the 15th overall pick this weekend and a 3rd round draft pick in 2011. [Link]
     
  • Montreal re-signs Tomas Plekanec to a 6 year deal worth $30M [Link]

  • The San Jose Sharks will not be re-signing goalie Evgeni Nabokov. This certainly took me by surprise, it's not often you see a goalie of Nabokov's caliber hit the Free Agent market. It looks like he'll become a UFA on July 1st. Can the Flyers fit him under the cap somehow? [Link]

  • Former Rangers coach, Tom Renney, is the new head coach of the Edmonton Oilers. The promotion came after Pat Quinn moved from behind the bench to the front office. [Link]

  • The NHL announced the 2010 inductees into the NHL Hall of Fame: Dino Ciccarelli, Cammi Granato, Angela James go in as players; builders Jimmy Devellano and Daryl “Doc” Seaman. [Link]

  • Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer is hanging them up. Speaking of the hall of fame, he'll be there one day. [Link]

Rangers 2010-11 Regular Season Schedule Announced

Yesterday the NHL announced each team's home opener. Today, the rest of the NHL regular season schedule was announced for the 2010-11 Regular Season.

To see the full Rangers Schedule go here

To see every other schedule sorted by team, go over here

Monday, June 21, 2010

Rangers Will Open 2010-11 Season In Buffalo

The NHL will release the full 2010-11 regular season schedule tomorrow at noon ET. Today the NHL announced each team's home opener opponents.

According to NYR.com:
The Rangers home opener for the 2010-11 NHL season will take place on Friday, Oct. 15, against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden.
A quick glance around the other team websites shows that the Rangers first game of the season will be on the road October 9th in Buffalo.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Some Sunday Reading

  • Larry Brooks has a plan for getting rid of Donald Brashear. It's not a matter of anyone actually wanting Brashear to play for them at this point in his career, it's just that the Rangers may be able to find someone willing to take on cap room in order to save actual cash. [NY Post]

  • Puck Daddy takes a look at the Top 10 Left Wingers who'll be available as UFAs on July 1st. I bet you can't guess who #1 is :-) [Link]

  • Arnott back to New Jersey [Link] and Dan Hamhuis to the Flyers [Link]. Many NHL Insiders that this is going to be a busy week of trades prior to this weekend's NHL Entry Draft because of the lack of depth in this year's free agent pool.

  • If you see an unbelievable rumor from a certain someone, then check out this site first before getting all worked up

  •  Blueshirt Banter will have a full week of Rangers Draft coverage and Jim Schmiedeberg who does an excellant job with BB will be covering the Draft live from Los Angeles next weekend

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Devils Acquire Arnott

Nashville made their second trade of the day with an Atlantic Division team today by sending center Jason Arnott back to the Devils for a prospect and a 2nd rd pick

Hamhuis Traded To Philly

According to Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night In Canada, Ryan Parent has been traded to the Nashville Predators for Dan Hamhuis and conditional 7th round pick in 2011.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rangers Prospect Valentenko Returning To North America

You may or may not remember Pavel Valentenko. He left North America for Russia two years ago while still a prospect with the Montreal Canadiens. He became property of the New York Rangers in the Scott Gomez trade last summer.

According to Beyond the Blueshirts:
UHC Dynamo General Director Andrei Safronov, in an interview on his club’s web site, 23-year old defenseman Pavel Valentenko plans to return to North America next season.

“In the near future we’ll terminate our agreement with the defenseman by mutual consent,” Safronov explained. “Valentenko’s contract is very large, and we can’t afford to pay that player such money.”

“According to my information, Valentenko plans to go back overseas,” Safronov added.

Halak "Traded" To Blues

Yeah, "traded" is being used very loosely in that headline.

According to TSN:
The Montreal Canadiens let go of the goaltender who led them through their incredible postseason run and anointed Carey Price as their undisputed No. 1, as the club has traded Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues.

In return, the Habs received forwards Lars Eller and Ian Schultz.

It might be early to bash the Habs too much because they did receive prospects in return. But, after Halak did so much for Montreal in the playoffs, you would think that he was worth a little more than that. Halak will be an RFA come July 1st and the Habs do have cap issues.

This could have an indirect effect on the Rangers, but it is an unlikely one. Since the Blues acquired Halak, it's unlikely that they will retain the services of Chris Mason who is set to become a UFA this summer. However, it's unlikely that Sather will make a play for Mason as he'll probably be asking more money than Sather will want to spend on a backup goalie.

John MacLean Will Be Devils Next Head Coach

In my opinion, this is long over due. John MacLean has served his time as an assistant coach and I thought that he would've gotten the job in the past but he was looked over.

According to Fire & Ice:
The Devils’ all-time leader in goals will be named the new head coach of the team at a news conference today at 2 p.m. at Prudential Center.

MacLean, who scored the overtime goal at Chicago Stadium in 1988 to put the Devils in the playoffs for the first time in team history, succeeds Jacques Lemaire, who announced his retirement from coaching four days after the team was eliminated by the Flyers in the first round of the playoffs.

MacLean, 45, spent seven seasons as an assistant coach for the Devils before taking over as head coach of their AHL affiliate in Lowell, Mass. for the 2009-10 season. In his first year as a head coach at any level, MacLean guided the Lowell Devils to a 39-31-4-6 record for 88 points and the organization’s first AHL playoff berth since 2000.

There is no word yet on the remainder of the New Jersey Devils’ coaching staff or who will replace MacLean as the head coach of the AHL team, which will move back to Albany for the 2010-11 season.
I am by no means a Devils fan, but I always thought that Johnny Mac was a good guy and really got shafted by Glenn Sather. I can't really wish him any success because that would of course mean I was wishing well on the Devils, but if anyone deserved that job it was MacLean.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Congratulations Chicago, 2010 Stanley Cup Champions


Check out Yahoo for more Stanley Cup celebration photos

Rangers Sign 2008 2nd Round Pick Derek Stepan

According to Larry Brooks of the NY Post, the New York Rangers today came to an agreement with 2008 second round pick Derek Stepan.
per the collective bargaining agreement, (the contract) cannot be registered with the NHL until July 1. It will be a three-year Entry Level deal expected to be close to the $875,000 base salary cap.
It's unlikely that Stepan will be wearing a Rangers sweater this upcoming season. Stepan will likely continue to develop in either the WHL (juniors) or the AHL. Stepan spent the last two seasons playing college hockey at Wisconsin.

Rob Blake Set To Call It A Day

According to CSN Bay Area:
Sharks captain Rob Blake is retiring from the NHL after 21 seasons, a source close to the situation has told Comcast SportsNet Bay Area exclusively.

The source said that Blake is waiting until the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Finals because he did not want to be a distraction while the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers are still playing.

An official announcement could come as early as next week.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Looking Ahead At The Rangers Offseason

With another disappointing seasons in the books, Glen Sather is getting ready for another offseason as Rangers General Manager. Many Rangers fans were hoping that missing the playoffs in 2009-10 would signal the end of Sather's reign in New York, but that certainly doesn't appear to be the case. It looks like Sather will be back in charge of the Broadway Blueshirts for another season and John Tortorella will be back behind the Rangers bench.

Sather recently discussed some of his plans in the NY Post, his first comments since the Rangers were beaten in the final game of the season in Philadelphia. With limited cap space, several key free agents and several disastrous contracts on the books, Sather might have a harder time doing what he plans to do than he is letting on.

I recommend checking out CapGeek to see exactly who is under contract for next season, who isn't and also just to get a rough idea of what the salary cap situation in general looks like.

So Who Will Be Back?
Henrik Lundqvist, Marian Gaborik, Chris Drury, Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, Sean Avery, Michael Del Zotto and Artem Anisimov are all under contract for next season and are guaranteed to be back at MSG next season barring an unforeseen trade.

Others Under Contract Likely To Be Back?
Despite what many fans may be praying for, both Michal Rozsival and Wade Redden will likely be back next season unless Sather can either locate a trade partner or waive one of the two blue liners. Of the two, Redden is definitely the player that the overwhelming majority of Rangers fans want to see out of New York. Unfortunately, the only likely way to avoid seeing Redden in a Rangers jersey next season would be if Sather bought him out. With a guaranteed contract through 2013-14, that doesn't seem all that likely.

Matt Gilroy, Brian Boyle and Aaron Voros are also all under contract for one more seasons and will likely be back in New York. But, none of these three players are indispensable and any or all of them could be in another NHL or even AHL city by the time the new season gets under way in October.


Who Won't Be Back?
Donald Brashear won't be back in New York. Unless Glen Sather buys him out or finds another GM willing to unload Brashear and his remaining $1.4M contract for next season, Brashear will be buried in the AHL.

Olli Jokinen who came over from Calgary before the trade deadline is UFA and won't be back. I guess it's possible, but realistically Olli won't be back in New York for a second season. Jokinen will be getting a substantial pay cut from the $5.2M he made last season no matter where he goes next year, but it doesn't look likely that Sather will be the guy willing to offer even a substantially reduced contract.

Ilkka Heikkinen, who had a short seven game career with the Rangers after being signed as an RFA last season will not be back. Heikkinen has already signed to play in the KHL next season.

Steve Valiquette won't be back. He was mysteriously banished to Hartford after a few sub-par performances and his NHL career may be over, it certainly looks like his Rangers career has been exhausted.

Out of Contract But Coming Back!
Marc Staal, Dan Girardi and Vaclav (Vinny) Prospal are all free agents but all are expected to be back in New York next year. Regarding Staal and Girardi, Sather said "those two guys are part of our core; of course we’re signing them." Sather then went on to say that, “we want to keep Vinny (Prospal), and I think we should be able to do that if the contract request isn’t out of whack.”

Out of Contract...Likely Coming Back
Erik Christensen, Brandon Prust and Jody Shelley

Who Knows?
 Alex Auld, P.A.  Parenteau, Enver Lisin and Dane Byers [update: just minutes after writing this I see that Byers was re-signed earlier today]

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Some Offseason Signings

  • The Red Wings have re-signed Tomas Holmstrom to a two-year contract extension [Snapshots]

  • Colorado today re-signed goalie Peter Budaj and tough guy David Koci to one year contract extensions [Kukla's Korner]

  • The Vancouver Canucks have signed Cory Schneider, their first round pick in 2004, to a two year deal extension worth $900K per season [TSN]

  • Nicklas Lidstrom is returning for at least one more season in the NHL. "Lidstrom's new contract is worth just over $6M for the one year, down from the $7.4M that he made last season." [TSN]

  • It looks like Anton Babchuk will return to Carolina this season after a one year hiatus in the KHL. Nothing will be official until July 1st, but it sounds like the two sides will get something worked out and make it official when Free Agency opens July 1st [Canes Now]
Update: Friday, 6/4/10
  • Nick Kypreos reports that Shawn Thornton has signed a two-year extension with the Boston Bruins. Thornton will make $825K the first year and $800K in 2011-12 [Twitter]


Check out TSN's Transactions page for other minor signings recently made