Day After

Good morning, boneheads!

We needed a new post. Not going to assess what transpired yesterday, most of it was discussed at length. Big blow to uncle Lou, a lot of silly contracts given away by GMs around the league, and Buffalo getting a truck load back from St Louis in exchange of ROR. On top of that, St. Louis is writing him a bonus check of $7.5M this morning.

The Rangers? Gorton was true to his plan. Watching from a distance, NY made two moves. They signed 25 year old Fredrik Claesson to one way, $700K contract. Cleasson is a L handed D-man who didn’t receive QO from Ottawa. No risk there.

Gorton also signed Namestnikov to a 2 year contract at $4M per year AAV. It’s an underrated move, imho. Namestnikov, who is still 25, is a versatile forward and still has a lot to prove. He started well in NY, but slowed down later, probably due to a shoulder injury. He is a good insurance policy in case one of the young centers requires more time in Hartford. Or in case they find a good trade involving one of Hayes/Zibanejad. Also, at $4M per year he could be a good deadline trade option for someone who is looking to add some depth before playoffs start.

I’m sure Gorton is far from done. What we see now is different from what this team will look like on October. But so far, I like his patience.

 

It’s Go Time!

And so it begins. A few signings that everyone already knew about will become official, including the ridiculous contract given by Las Vegas to Ryan Reaves. Look, I’d love to have him in NY, but according to LB, he demanded more money ( if not terms ) from NY. The issue of high/low tax destinations is becoming more and more acute. This contract sets the tone for what the UFA will look like, no doubt.

The biggest UFA, John Tavares, still hasn’t made his decision, apparently. But since he didn’t sign with the Islanders by midnight he can only get a maximum 7 year contract from the rest of the league, including Long Island. Or is it Brooklyn? In any event, it doesn’t look like he is coming back. First big blow to uncle Lou? Maybe so, but something tells me Lamoriello will not shed too many tears even though he may not officially admit it.

As for the Rangers. Many sources ( click here and here ) suggest that they will not be hunting for big names, and will not commit to any long term contracts. Things may change, of course. Seeing what has been handed out by some teams already this could be the year when we are happy Gorton sits this one out. For the record, I don’t think Gorton will leave a large chunk of his Cap Space untouched. I think, if used properly ( read- acquiring some bad contracts, making trades ) it could be used to bring back a few NHL players and some prospects.

Last Day Before Free Agency

Good morning, boneheads!

Free agency begins tomorrow at noon. Some minor movements already happened, but nothing major with the exception of a behemoth contract extension given to Drew Doughty, reportedly 8 years at $11M AAV. Eric Karlsson, meantime, just put a down payment on 2000 acre private island in French Polynesia.

You can follow today’s moves, if any, on twitter. I doubt we will see anything of substance until John Tavares makes his move.

UPDATE: Click here to read Carp’s article on what the Rangers will ( or, rather, will not ) do this summer

 

Hold your nose and close your eyes

Good morning, boneheads!

If you are a CBA purist, that’s what you need to do for the next couple of days preceding and going after July 1st. Salary dumps, moving dead contracts for picks and prospects, obvious ( and less obvious ) CBA circumvention moves, etc…Some already happened ( click here and here ), some are sure to come, especially after the Tavares Decision. And, as LB wrote here, there is no reason for Jeff Gorton not to join the fray with a large chunk of free Cap space being available.

I will be busy for the next few days as the end of June/beginning of July marks the big switch in teaching hospitals from one group of residents to another. Fresh, young doctors coming in requires a lot of extra presence to avoid possible mistakes. Will be working all weekend, but will certainly check in. Also, my old, reliable blog friends know when to alert me if some major trades/signings happen. I am not complaining, I actually happen to like this time of the year as it brings new challenges. Otherwise life becomes stale, similar to what happened to our favorite team last couple of years, eh… 🙂

 

Rangers Prospect Development Camp

Good morning, boneheads!

The camp will continue through the end of this week and lead right into FA frenzy.

Most of the young players Jeff Gorton has accumulated over the last year or so are there. We are yet to be convinced they aren’t all busts. That will take a lot of work on their part. 🙂

Click here to read Carp’s first report about some of the kids, and about what Gorton said yesterday.

So How Did They Do?

 

I’ll give you this post so that you can continue your sarcastic remarks about them being set on the L side of their defense for years to come 🙂

The draft is over. The Rangers added 10 new players, three of them are 1st round selections:

6 Defensemen- 4 L and 2 R

3 Right Wingers, one playing off wing

1 Goaltender.

To see their names and bios, click here ( courtesy of NYR )

How did they do? We will not know until, at the very best, few years from now. One thing is for sure, none of them is making any impact for at least two seasons, if not more. Some never will, it happens every draft. But that just confirms the notion that Gorton isn’t looking for a quick fix. That doesn’t mean he isn’t planning to have a competitive team next year. I expect some trades, and I expect them to look for short terms deals come July 1st. Again, I doubt Gorton will leave a huge chunk of the available Cap untouched. They will spend. As long as they do not get involved in long term deals with players on the downside of their careers who will block young players, they should be OK.

UPDATE: Click here to read Carp’s evaluation of what Gorton and Co. were able to accomplish in Dallas. 

 

NHL Entry Draft, Day 2

Good morning, boneheads!

Festivities continue today at 11 am ( TV-NHLN ). The Rangers will have one less pick today than originally projected.

The Rangers selected Vitali Kravtsov with their 9th pick.  Kravtsov, a left shooting winger who plays off wing (typical for Russian power wingers) has size, soft hands and strong wheels. He doesn’t turn 19 until December, and is signed in Russia through 2018-19 season. But, according to some reports, he has an out clause and can potentially play in the US this season. This selection, expectedly, triggered a ton of lamenting and hand-wringing all over the place, including our blog. Did I mention expectedly? 😃

The thing is, according to multiple sources, and mainly this familiar one, Kravtsov was ranked second on the Rangers list of forwards all along. Which means they thought of him higher than Zadina, Tkachuk, Kotkaniemi, Wahlstrom etc. That is a big statement to make. Going against the grain, seeing it differently than most of the NHL scouts. That statement could make you a genius if it works long term, or get you fired if it doesn’t.

I liked what they did with their second selection. They targeted a specific player and moved up ( giving up their 26th and 48th selections ) to make sure they get him. Obviously they knew someone  ( Minnesota ? ) would pick him up. The defenseman they selected, K’Andre Miller, is a big blue-liner with tremendous upside who recently converted from forward position.

The third selection is a bit puzzling to me. Not because of who was left, but because they decided to go after another D-man. They picked a 17 year old Nils Lundkvist, R handed D-man. I know very little about this player. We’ll have to wait a long time on this one.

Have fun with the rest of the day!