Thursday, June 30, 2011

Callahan's Agent Thinks He May Get Offer Sheet

I said it earlier this week, Sather's number one priority should be re-signing the Rangers' restricted free agents before doing anything on July 1st. Unfortunately, Sather made it known after the NHL Draft on Saturday that he doesn't expect any of the team's RFAs to be signed by July 1st.

Ryan Callahan's agent is Steve Bartlett, who has a history of having client's signed to offer sheets. Back in the summer of 2007 Thomas Vanek was a 23 year old restricted free agent who received an offer sheet from the Edmonton Oilers - the contract was an incredible 7 year deal worth $50M. The Buffalo Sabres quickly matched.

Now four years later, Ryan Callahan is a restricted free agent and in the running to be the next New York Rangers captain after yesterday's buyout of Chris Drury. Could a team swoop in and sign Callahan to an offer sheet similar to the way the Oilers signed Vanek back in 2007?

According to The Sporting News:
The Rangers and Callahan have had ongoing contract negotiations that Bartlett described as friendly and “somewhat productive.” But there’s a gap. “We’re still a ways apart. I don’t think anything is going to happen over the next few days. We’ll see what July 1 brings in terms of what the marketplace holds for him,” Bartlett said. Callahan, 26, would be an ideal candidate for an offer sheet considering his wide range of skills to go with his leadership abilities. He’s a future Rangers captain if somebody doesn’t grab him first. “I think a guy like Callahan would be a real attractive target with his age,” Bartlett said.
It's obviously a risk, especially because Callahan is such a versatile player who is known to lead by his play, to be a fierce competitor and to leave it all out on the ice. But, at the same time you have to realize that Bartlett is doing what he thinks his best to bump up his client's value. So of course there is the potential for an offer sheet, but at this point I think that Bartlett is just talking out loud to try and get in some GM's head. I believe that Callahan wants to remain a Ranger but that's not to say that if another team came along and offersheeted him he wouldn't sign it and that would force the Rangers to either let him walk (which isn't likely) or seriously overpay for him.

If a team were to offer sheet Callahan and the Rangers walked away, since Callahan is a restricted free agent then the Rangers would be entitled to compensation based on the contract Callahan signed:
$1,034,249 or less: No compensation
$1,034,249 — $1,567,043: Third-round pick
$1,567,043 — $3,134,055: Second-round pick
$3,134,088 — $4,701,131: First and third-round pick
$4,701,131 — $6,268,175: First, second and third-round pick
$6,268,175 — $7,835,219: Two first-round picks, a second and third
$7,835,219 and higher: Four first-round picks
Sather, just do the right thing, sort out the players of the future that the Rangers already own the rights to. Once that's done, then go out and sign whoever you want - whether that be Brad Richards or a seventh defenseman.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sounds Like Jagr Will Be Signing In Pittsburgh

Image by Ari Lankin
It looks like Jaromir Jagr who last played on this side of the pond with the New York Rangers in 2007-08 will be returning to the NHL for at least one more season. Jagr has been rumored to be returning to the NHL several times since bolting to the KHL three seasons ago.


Last week the rumor mill once again started spinning as Jagr's agent said that Jagr wanted to return to the NHL and was interested in five potential teams. The Rangers were rumored to be one of the five teams (who I doubt returned much interest) and the Penguins and Red Wings are also believed to be amongst Jagr's short list of teams he'd be willing to play for.

Today the story got more attention when it was reported that Jagr was flying into New York from Europe and would make his announcement regarding where he'd play next season once State side. It's believed that it's now down to the Penguins and the Red Wings.

Mike Brophy of Sportsnet is reporting:
Hearing Jagr has signed with Pens, but not confirmed yet
It won't come as a surprise to me if Jagr does sign in Pittsburgh for a year with a salary somewhere in the $2M-$2.5M range.

I'm not a Penguins fan by any means but I have to admit I am interested to see a possible Sidney Crsoby/Jaromir Jagr combination. Jagr had his best years in Pittburgh playing alongside Mario Lemieux and now he'll have a shot at riding shotgun to Crosby. Crosby also had a chance to play with Lemieux during his rookie season in the NHL in 2005-06.

It looks like Jaromir Jagr will be padding his Hall of Fame career with at least one more season in Steel town. Jagr returns with 646 goals and 1599 points.


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Chris Drury Will Be Bought Out Today

The news many Rangers were waiting (and hoping) for looks like it will become official at some point today.

According to today's NY Post:
The buyout ending Chris Drury's career as a Ranger will become official today, The Post has learned.

The 34-year-old who played four seasons on Broadway, the last three of them as team captain, will become an unrestricted free agent after deciding against applying for a medical exception due to a left knee condition.
It looks like Drury might even actually make more this year than if he had actually played the final season with the Rangers.
It is believed Drury, who would have received the full $5 million due for the final season of his five-year, $35.25 million contract had he been declared medically unable to perform as opposed to the $3.333 million he will collect on the buyout, will seek to continue his career, perhaps in Buffalo, from whence he came on July 1, 2007.
So he'll collect his $3.333M from the Rangers as a result of the buy out and then can negoitate with any other team in the NHL on a new contract.
If you're wonder how this effects the Rangers cap situation:

The Rangers, meanwhile, will be cap-charged approximately $3.717 million for the buyout this season and $1.667 million next year, though the obligation for 2012-13 could be erased pending negotiations of a new labor agreement.
It's bitter sweet. Obviously you never like to see good guys like Chris Drury end his Rangers career this way. But, at the end of the day his tenure in New York was pretty bad and I didn't coin the term "Captain Invisible" for nothing.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Brad Richards Telling Friends He Wants To Play In New York

Larry Brooks has an excellent article in today's NY Post about Brad Richards saying he wants to come to New York. But also looking at a history of other players who "want to play in New York." Unfortunately, as Larry points out, players often want to come here, but that's because Mr. Sather has no qualms about flashing Mr. Dolan's checkbook!

If I heard it once, I heard it a dozen times during this Entry Draft weekend in Minnesota: "[Brad] Richards told [X] he wants to come to New York."
And the other players who have said they want to come to play for the Rangers in the past include:

Scott Gomez wanted to come to New York. He talked about it for weeks on his way out the door across the Hudson, but it took more than $50 million over seven years to get him to say yes to Sather on July 1, 2007.
Chris Drury wanted to come to New York. He made that crystal clear on his way out of Buffalo, but it took more than $35 million over five years (plus a no-move clause) to get him to sign the bottom line on that same day.
Bobby Holik wanted to come to New York. Everyone understood that, but it took $45 million over five years to get him into a Blueshirt on July 1, 2002.
For more on Brad Richards and other New York Rangers possible free agent signings check out my artcile from earlier this morning

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Rangers Free Agent Plans

With the annual free agency period beginning this Friday it's time to start thinking about what possible moves the team could be making either prior to July 1st or once the signing window is opened.

Obviously it's been rumored for quite some time (over 2 years now) that the New York Rangers are interested in Brad Richards. Not only is Richards a dynamic scorer, legit first line center, Stanley Cup winner and former Conn Smythe winner, he also has a history with John Tortorella when they were together in Tampa.

It's rumored that Richards is seeking an 8 year deal in excess of $50m. That's a whole lot of money and more significantly a lot of years. The main difference between previous free agent signings made by Glen Sather (Holik, Drury, Gomez) is that Richards has consistently been an offensive stud throughout his career. Whereas, Holik and Drury were essentially second line centers who primarily known for their two-way game, rather than being offensive stars.

Every year it's pretty much a lock that Richards will get 70 points if healthy. I have to admit, it would be interesting to see Richards on a line with Marian Gaborik. Richards can skate like the wind, is an excellent passer and can put the puck in the net. He makes players around him better, which could be scary as hell for opponents if the player next to him already has the potential to score 50 goals without an All Star feeding him the puck.

I'm all for getting Richards if the price is right, but I'm not sure if  an 8 year contract is ideal for a 31 year old. The only thing is, several other teams out there may be willing to offer that and if the Rangers want Richards as bad as it seems they'll have to up the ante. We all know that Glen Sather has a history of upping the ante (for better or worse).

Aside from Richards, the Rangers will likely attempt to make a few other signings. Obviously, if Richards signs elsewhere then the Rangers will have some additional cap space to make other moves. Priority as far as unrestricted free agents has to be adding some scoring, preferably a top 6 forward. Unfortunately, aside from Richards there are not too many other top forwards available via free agency. As of now it still looks likely that Prospal and Fedotenko (both UFAs) will be back next season.

The Rangers Tribune makes a case for signing left winger Jussi Jokinen. Wonder if Sather has any interest in fellow Carolina UFA, Erik Cole? Cole last year finished with 26 goals and 26 assists. However, I am skeptical because this was a contract year for Cole and the last time he had over 22 goals was in 2006-07.

If all else fails, there's always the possibility of going hard after Nikolai Zherdev who will be a UFA... I kid. Curious as to who exactly is a free agent forward? Glad you asked, check out the full list here.

The goaltending situation right now is set for next year with Lundqvist the clear number one and Marty Biron under contract for another season.

Sather is likely to attempt to sign a veteran low priced defenseman to add some depth. The Rangers defensive core was exceptional last year, including some pleasant surprises like Mike Sauer and Ryan McDonagh. At this point I'd guess that Steve Eminger won't be re-signed, but he wasn't awful, so re-signing him is still a possibility. Anyone amongst this list of free agent defensemen that you'd like to Sather bring to New York? It's unlikely that he'll be looking for anything more than a bottom pairing/7th defenseman.

Brad Richards or no Brad Richards, Sather's number one priority should be to re-sign the Rangers key restricted free agents; Dubinsky, Callahan, Boyle, Anisimov and Mike Sauer.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Mr. Sather and I are on the same page. Sather made it known after the NHL Draft on Saturday that he doesn't expect any of the team's RFAs to be signed by July 1st.

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Drury Buyout Once Again A Possibility

Two weeks ago the story broke that the Rangers were preparing to buy out the final year of captain, Chris Drury's contract. However, it was quickly reported that Drury planned on applying for a designation of being medically unable to play next season because of a degenerative knee injury. Thus, he'd be ineligible to be bought out by the Rangers but he would basically be forced into retirement due to his knee injury.

Larry Brooks is now reporting "that [the] captain is now leaning toward accepting a buyout, according to individuals familiar with the situation."

So how do the sides proceed from here:
The deadline for buyouts is Thursday, but procedure dictates a player must be placed on, and go through, unconditional waivers after official notification of the intent to buy out. The Rangers would have to place Drury on waivers no later than Tuesday in order to comply with procedures.
Basically, we may have an end to all of the speculation by Tuesday if the Rangers do in fact place Chris Drury on waivers. The cap ramifications as a result of the buyout (if it happens), were laid out by The Post:
If Drury does indeed accept the buyout rather than file for the medical exception, the Rangers would carry approximately $3.717 million of dead cap space on his deal through the summer and next season, a saving of approximately $3.333 million.

The club also would face a charge of approximately $1.667 million for 2012-13, pending a new CBA that could erase that obligation.
I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rangers Do Not Qualify RFA Matt Gilroy

Glen Sather spoke today at the NHL Entry Draft in Minnesota (I know it's quite shocking!!).

He disclosed to the media that the Rangers had issued qualifying offers to all of the Rangers restricted free agents except Matt Gilroy.

Gilroy is a decent player who will be a welcome addition for some team but honestly he's not worth the $2.3M that it would've cost to qualify him. Especially when you factor in that last season he spent 25 games out of the lineup as the odd man out.

Gilroy had signed a two year contract with the Rangers for $3.5M two summers ago. Gilroy never lived up to the contract, although he did show flashes of what type of player he could possibly be. Gilroy is an exceptional skater and has some offensive skill. He still needs help with his defensive game, which did start to look much better in the second half of last season. But, all signs indicate that he'll be improving his craft with a different logo on his jersey.

Two years ago Gilroy chose the Rangers over the Toronto Maple Leafs who were very interested in him. Is Brian Burke still interested in the former Hobey Baker winner?

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Rangers Trade Grachev To Blues

Update at 2:35pm ET
Apparently, according to Glen Sather, Grachev asked to be traded last year and the Rangers shopped him for over a year. The Blues were the only team interested.

Rangers fans for the most part were pretty annoyed after the trade was announced. I wasn't annoyed at all, or surprised for that matter as my initial post indicated.

I think many fans fail to realize that Grachev was selected by the Rangers in the third round, 75th overall in the  2008 NHL Entry Draft. Until I did some research I thought Grachev had been drafted earlier. To have a third round pick from three years ago, who hasn't done much in either the NHL (in limited action) or the AHL  request a trade and be able to flip him for an improved draft pick is actually not a bad thing at all.

Grachev played 8 games last year with the Rangers and didn't register any points. Truthfully, most of those eight games his time was spent on the fourth line. In 2009-10 with Hartford he finished with just 12 goals and 28 points in 80 games and then last season played in 73 games in Hartford and finished with a slightly better 16 goals and 38 points [Stats]. Not terrible numbers for an AHLer, but certainly not the type of numbers that indicate that a player is busting at the seams ready to make the jump to the NHL to contribute in a top six forward position.

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The St. Louis Blues traded pick number 72 of the draft (3rd round pick) to the NY Rangers for Evgeny Gradchev.

The Rangers then used the third round pick to select center Steven Fogarty.

Some Rangers fans may be very surprised by this move but honestly to me it's not all that shocking. Grachev has been given several opportunities with the Rangers and has never shown his coaches enough to stick with the big club, instead spending the majority of the time in Hartford. 

I like the first sentence of the scouting report that I just read on Fogarty, he "plays a physical brand of hockey, grinding it out on the boards and getting dirty in front of the net."

Wait, it gets even better:

[Fogarty] bullies his way around the ice, excelling at playing a power game. Has the ability to finish in tight and pick up his fair share of garbage goals. Has pretty good hands for a big guy and can stick handle with the best of them. passing could use a bit more touch but this is not a glaring weakness. Does not have elite speed but is a mule on his skates.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

The Rangers Select JT Miller With Their First Round Pick [Video Included]

With the 15th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft the Rangers selected JT Miller.

A classy move by the Rangers who had Derek Boogaard's brother Aaron announces the first round pick in front of his home state crowd.

Blue Seat Blogs had an excellent write up about JT Miller earlier this month when they previewed possible Rangers picks. Dave of Blue Seat Blogs wrote "
Miller appears to be a high risk, high reward type of player."

There's no chance of Miller being on the Rangers roster next season as he is committed to the University of North Dakota for at least one year.

After the selection Gordie Clarke compared Miller to other two way centers "like a Dubi, or Mike Richards. He plays every shift, expends everything he's got."


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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rangers 2011-12 Regular Season Schedule Released

The Rangers 2011-12 regular season schedule was released today.

New York starts the season in Sweden taking on the Kings October 7th and the Ducks the following night. Interestingly the Rangers then return to New York to play the Islanders in Long Island and then hit the road for a four game road trip to Western Canada before finally taking on the Leafs on October 27th in the MSG home opener.

The schedule can be located here

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A Look At The Rangers First Round Picks Since 1994


I think it's safe to say that over the past decade and a half the Rangers draft success with their first round picks has been pretty bad [that's putting it nicely]. Here are the New York Rangers first round picks in each NHL Entry Draft since the 1994 Draft. Especially the disaster in 2003, one of the most talented draft classes in recent years and the Rangers managed to select Hugh Jessiman. The picks after 2007 can hopefully continue to show progress.

Below are the picks that were made and players that the Rangers passed on who were later selected in the first round. I only listed the players who were passed on before 2007, because it's too early to make determinations on those draft years just yet.

1994 #26 Overall - Dan Cloutier [G]

1996 #22 Overall - Jeff Brown [D] passed on Daniel Briere

1997 #19 Overall - Stefan Cherneski [RW] passed on Brenden Morrow

1998 #7 Overall - Manny Malhotra [C] passed on Scott Gomez, Simon Gagne, Alex Tanguay & Nik Antropov

1999 #4 Overall - Pavel Brendl [RW] passed on Tim Connolly, Martin Havlat & Nick Boynton

1999 #9 Overall - Jamie Lundmark [C] passed on Martin Havlat & Nick Boynton

2001 #10 Overall - Dan Blackburn [G] passed on Ales Hemsky & R.J. Umberger

2003 #12 Overall - Hugh Jessiman [RW] passed on Patrick Eaves, Mike Richards, Ryan Kesler, Dustin Brown, Brent Seabrook, Steve Bernier, Zach Parise, Brent Burns & Ryan Getzlef

2004 #6 Overall - Al Montoya [G] passed on Mike Green, Andrej Meszaros, Travis Zajac, Cory Schneider & Alexander Radulov

2004 #19 Overall - Lauri Korpikoski [LW] passed on Mike Green, Andrej Meszaros, Travis Zajac & Cory Schneider

2005 #12 Overall - Marc Staal* [D]

2006 #21 Overall - Bob Sanguinetti [D] passed on Claude Giroux, Semyon Varlamov and Nick Foligno

2007 #17 Overall - Alexei Cherepanov RIP [RW]

2008 #20 Overall - Michael Del Zotto* [D]

2009 #19 Overall - Chris Kreider* [C]

2010 #10 Overall - Dylan McIlrath* [D]

* Player still NY Rangers property

Originally posted June 2009 prior to the 2009 NHL Entry Draft with last two draft picks updated

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rangers To Play Flyers In Winter Classic & Appear On HBO's 24/7!

As has been rumored for quite some time, the Rangers and Flyers will participate in the 2011-12 Winter Classic. Even more exciting is the idea that the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers will be the spotlight of the HBO series 24/7 leading up to the Winter Classic.

On a side note, I'm willing to bet that John Tortorella drops more F-bombs in the first half an hour of the series than Bruce Boudreau dropped in the entire series last season :)

Also, I'm pretty sure there will be no more Vespa sightings this time around (at least I hope no Ranger is using one, I will lose all respect that I have for any player that is caught riding one).

Lots more information can be found over at The Score

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Boogaard Memorial T-Shirts Now Available

The competition that I told you about last week has wrapped up and the Derek Boogaard memorial t-shirts are now being sold on GlassBangers. The shirts will be sold until June 24th - so you have one week to get your hands on one!

All profits from the sale of the shirt will go to Derek Boogaard's charity Defending The Blue Line.

The shirts are selling for $25. I purchased a shirt last night as soon as they were available and the shipping was $5.50. That shipping fee may vary depending on the size of your order and location.

Great job by Kevin from The NY Rangers Blog for putting this together.

Any sales generated via any of our affiliate links on the site this month will be donated to Defending The Blue Line. 

Some of our Affiliate Links:
IceJerseys.com
Reebok.com
ING Direct
Best Buy
Hotels.com
Expedia
BodyBuilding.com
TicketLiquidator

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Jagr Coming Back To The NHL? NYR On Wishlist...

Source: ESPN
Ever since Jaromir Jagr left the NHL for Europe it's been rumored that he would be making a comeback in the NHL. Several times in the past few years rumors have popped up about a possibe return with the Rangers, the Penguins and even interest from the Edmonton Oilers.

And the rumors will start again as TSN is reporting that Jagr's agent has listed five teams that Jagr would like to play for next season in a comeback in the NHL.

According to TSN:
According to reports on MLive.com and the Detroit Free Press on Thursday, Jagr's agent Petr Svoboda has put out feelers to five NHL teams - the Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens - about the possibility of the future Hall of Famer signing on as a free agent.

Personally I'd be surprised if Jagr re-surfaced in the NHL next season and even more surprised if it were on Broadway. I don't think the Rangers will be interested and truthfully I don't think they should be. I do think that Jagr probably is capable of performing close to a level that he did when he last played on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, but the chemistry of the Rangers has changed a lot since Jagr was last in New York.

This is now a young team moving forward; this is Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky and Marc Staal's team now. In my opinion, no good could come from trying to bring Jagr's personality back into that locker room.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Competition To Design Boogaard T-Shirt

One of the contest entries
The NYR Blog is running a competition right now for their readers to design a logo to put on a t-shirt honoring Derek Boogaard who passed away earlier this summer.

After a winning logo is selected by way of a poll on the site, a t-shirt will be designed and the shirts will be available for sale one week for $25 each. All proceeds will go to Derek's charity Defending The Blue Line.

So get your behind over to The NYR Blog, vote for your favorite logo and head back within the next few days to buy yourself a t-shirt in honor of The Boogey Man. You'll get a t-shirt and you'll be supporting a great cause at the same time.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Rumor: Rangers To Buy Out Drury & Wolski

According to the NY Daily News:
[Sather] plans to buy out the final season of captain Chris Drury's five-year, $35.25 million contract.
Buying out Drury would save the Rangers $3.3 million against next year's salary cap, with a $1.6 million charge to the Blueshirts' ledger in 2012-13.
That may not be the only buy out that the Rangers make this summer.
The Blueshirts also appear likely to buy out the remaining year on midseason pickup Wojtek Wolski's deal, saving another $3.3 million next season while incurring a $666,667 charge in 2012-13.
These moves could clear up important cap space for the Rangers who plan on going after UFA Brad Richards and also have a few important RFAs of their own including Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky.

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