On the importance of July 1: “It’s an important day for us, because it’s a day where you have an opportunity to improve your team. I think we’re in a situation with our club right now where I think the past couple of years, we’ve kept our assets, and we’ve developed our assets, and stayed with it here. Then there’s a point of time where you’ve to got to say okay, they’re growing, we’ve got a good solid foundation. Now you start looking at areas where you add, maybe from outside the organization – free agency, trade, whatever it may be. I think we’re there. I really like the way Glen (Sather) has stayed with it, as far as allowing us, with our kids, to grow. I think we have a really strong foundation, and we’re at a different stage of the process. July 1 certainly comes into play.”On optimism about July 1: “I have no idea what’s going to happen. You never know what’s going to. Come July 1, it’s such a frenzy, you never know what’s going to happen. I just know our thinking is we’d like to improve our team in certain areas. Not just one particular area – you never know where it leads to. I know Glen and the whole organization feel, okay, there’s our kids, there’s our foundation, now let’s see where we can add and continue to try to get better. There may be a situation where, you know what, that didn’t work – let’s not just add for the sake of adding, and stay with it. That’s a key, come July 1, because it turns into such a frenzy that you get a little crazy. If it isn’t what we need, and it isn’t the right fit for us right now, then we have to stand pat and continue to develop.”
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Since this is a Ranger-centric blog, I'm going to talk about the Rangers and of course that means I'm going to revolve my life around…:cue dramatic music:...Brad Richards. Surprised, aren't you?
Before the trade deadline even came along, the only free agent talked about was Brad Richards. He's an elite center and can possibly show us that spark we saw from Marian Gaborik in his first season wearing a blueshirt. Sounds great, doesn't it? Now, let's add the fact that he was the Conn Smythe winner from 2004 when who was the coach? John Tortorella.
Brad Richards knows he is the best available free agent this year so he's being pretty greedy in what he wants....and he's gonna get it and possibly, he's gonna get it from Glen Sather. And why not? Why wouldn't Richards want to play in the world's most famous arena in front of a nearly sold out crowd every night? Plus he would be living in one of the greatest cities in the world.
Some people are incredibly excited to see Richards in New York...but how long will that last? He wants a 7+ year contract, one that will run through his retirement. What if he doesn't play as well as he gets closer to 40? Not everyone is Nick Lidstrom who gets better with age. The same people cheering now about how much they want him are the same ones who are going to drastically turn and call him useless when his production drops. If he doesn’t put up at least a point a game, the fan base will begin to find new names for him every chance they get, or my favorite move by the Garden Faithful, booing him if he’s in the starting line-up.
For discussion of Rangers offer sheets and predictions on what New York will do, join me after the jump.
“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.”There is no need to panic about this type of news at this stage. The fact that there is a gap between what the two sides think Callahan is worth does not mean he is leaving. That the talks are friendly and having productivity is a good sign for the final outcome of negotiations. He is widely presumed to be the next captain of the team and is the epitome of the identity that coach John Tortorella wants this team to have. However, I do believe there is a salary level that Callahan could receive an offer sheet that the Rangers would allow him to walk away for the compensation. Those who believe that the Rangers have to match Callahan at any level are overvaluing what he brings though I suspect anything at $4.5 million or lower would be matched.
The fact that these types of scenarios always seem to be possible for the Rangers is another frustrating thing about the way Glen Sather handles contracts. In the unrestricted market he is more than willing to vastly overpay players from other teams to come here, but with his own players he gets tough and has these situations linger on. There is no reason the Rangers could not have had at least a couple of the five restricted free agents already have their next contract done before July 1.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
The New York Rangers made official, what we have known since this morning, the buyout of captain Chris Drury.
Here is the press release:
RANGERS BUY OUT FORWARD CHRIS DRURY New York, June 29, 2011
–New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has bought out the contract of forward Chris Drury.
“Chris is a consummate professional, a tremendous competitor and an even better person,” stated Sather. “He gave his heart and soul to the Rangers organization in his time here and we wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
In four seasons as a Ranger, Drury registered 62 goals and 89 assists for 151 points, along with 116 penalty minutes in 264 games. He made his debut with the team on October 4, 2007, tallying the game-winning goal and adding two assists vs. Florida in the season opener. That season, he led the Blueshirts in power play goals (12) and game-winning goals (seven), tied for the team lead in goals (25), and ranked third in assists (33) and points (58). Drury led the team in power play goals (10) for a second consecutive season in 2008-09, en route to capturing his first of two Players’ Player Awards (2008-09, 2009-10).
Drury, 34, is a Stanley Cup Champion and the only player in hockey history to win both the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the top collegiate hockey player and the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year. The three-time Olympian, and two-time Olympic silver medalist with Team USA, was the winning pitcher for Trumbull, Connecticut in the 1989 Little League World Series vs. Taiwan. He has served as Rangers’ captain for the last three seasons, having been named the 25th captain in franchise history on October 3, 2008.
In 2009-10, Drury led all NHL forwards in blocked shots (97) and was nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy by the NY chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA), awarded annually to “the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.” That season, he recorded his 250th career NHL goal and 600th career NHL point with an empty net goal on February 14 vs. Tampa Bay, and skated in his 800th career NHL game on October 19 vs. San Jose. Last season, Drury missed a total of 57 games due to injury.
Prior to joining the Rangers, Drury skated for three seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, serving as team co-captain from 2005-06 to 2006-07. He reached the 30-goal and 60-point plateaus twice as a Sabre, including a career-high, 37 goals and 69 points in 2006-07. He also led Buffalo and tied for fourth in the NHL with career-highs in power play goals (17) and game-winning goals (nine) that season. Drury reached the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career in 2005-06, leading the Sabres in goals (30) and power play goals (16), and finishing second on the team in points (67). In the 2006 playoffs, Drury established career-highs in playoff scoring with 18 points and five power play goals in 18 games. He tied for third in the NHL in goals (nine) and power play goals, and sixth in points while leading Buffalo to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The 5-10, 191-pounder has skated in 892 career NHL games with the Rangers, Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, and Buffalo Sabres, registering 255 goals and 360 assists for 615 points, along with 468 penalty minutes. He has reached the 20-goal mark in nine of 12 NHL seasons and surpassed the 50-point mark eight times in his career. Drury began his NHL career with Colorado in 1998-99, capturing the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s top rookie and being named to the NHL All-Rookie Team. He established a career-high and ranked second on the Avalanche with 47 assists in just his second season.
In Stanley Cup Playoff action, Drury has appeared in 135 career contests with the Rangers, Avalanche and Sabres, registering 47 goals and 42 assists for 89 points, along with 46 penalty minutes. Drury is tied for fourth in the NHL all-time with four playoff overtime goals, and ranks sixth among active NHL players in playoff goals. He has participated in the playoffs nine times, having advanced to at least the Conference Finals in five of those nine seasons. Drury captured a Stanley Cup Championship with Colorado in 2000-01, establishing career-highs in postseason appearances (23) and goals (11). His 11 goals in the 2001 playoffs ranked second in the NHL.
Prior to turning professional, Drury skated in 155 career games with Boston University of Hockey East (HE), recording 113 goals and 101 assists for 214 points. He won the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s top player in 1998, was runner-up for the Hobey Baker Award in 1997 and was a finalist for the award in 1996. Drury finished his college career first all-time in goals (113) and third in points (214) in Boston University history, and is the only Terrier with at least 100 goals and 100 assists. He captured the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey National Championship as a Freshman in 1994-95.
Internationally, Drury has represented the United States three times in the Winter Olympics (2002, 2006 and 2010), capturing the silver medal in 2002 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and in 2010 in Vancouver, Canada. He also participated in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, the World Championships in 2004, 1998 and 1997, and the World Junior Championships in 1996.
The Trumbull, Connecticut native signed with the Rangers as an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2007. He was originally a third round choice of the Quebec Nordiques, 72nd overall, in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft.
Via Down Goes Brown:
"It was a great honor and privilege to be a New York Ranger for the past four years, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity to fulfill that childhood dream. The Rangers are a first-class organization with great people in the hockey, public relations, team services and community relations departments.
"I would also like to thank Ranger fans. They always inspired me to do the best I could in whatever role I was asked to play. Playing before them in the Garden was a thrill of a lifetime. I wish all the fans and the entire Ranger organization the best of luck in the future."
The consensus among most out there is that the main competitors for free agent Brad Richards are the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs with the Tampa Bay Lightning there as a team Richards would love to play for if they can figure it out. Yesterday, Blue Seat Blogs examined what other teams could be involved in the running for the free agent center, but I would add one more to the list; the Buffalo Sabres.
Since the day that Terry Pegula was announced as the owner of the Sabres I have been waiting for him to use his fortune to make a flashy move that sends ripples through the NHL. He has made moves like trading for Brad Boyes and taking on the contracts of Ales Kotalik to acquire Robyn Reghr late last week, but nothing that screams going for a title. Signing Brad Richards would certainly be that sort of move.
Mentally I discounted the move after the Sabres took money owed to Reghr and Kotalik last week, but after talking about it with James Wrabel I looked closer at the numbers and Buffalo has the ability to make it work. The lack of need to fill the rest of the roster with large salaries, the inexpensiveness of their restricted free agents and potential prospects to fill certain spots makes the money they have to add smaller than it might seem. Add to that the fact they have salaries like Ales Kotalik that they can bury in the minors if the need arises and the cap is not an issue for the Sabres.
Joe Yerdon of Pro Hockey Talk broke down potential suitors for Richards earlier this month and included Buffalo with the following explanation..
Buffalo Sabres: With Terry Pegula owning the team and a guy like Tim Connolly coming off the books the Sabres are in desperate need of a playmaking center to help Derek Roy out. If Pegula wants to make a splash, finding a way to convince Richards to come to town would be a huge coup. Having Richards line up with guys like Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville would make the Sabres a serious offensive threat.As Yerdon is alluding to, the Sabres have the opportunity to give Richards just about everything he has said he wants in his next team. Pegula is the stable owner that he wants. Buffalo is a smaller market with less scrutiny than he would be getting in Toronto or New York. With a forward group consisting of names like Richards, Vanek, Roy, Staffod, Pominville, Boyes, Ennis, Gerbe there is plenty of offense. Reghr, Myers, Leopold, Gragnani is not the greatest defense corps ever, but it is solid and Ryan Miller gives them a goalie capable of winning a Stanley Cup.
The fact that Buffalo can offer Richards stability and a chance to win without the scrutiny he would get in New York or Toronto seems to make them the ideal option for the 31-year-old center to sign on with, if they want him. So while everyone is focused on New York or Toronto as the only places for Brad Richards, I am going to keep one eye to another team in the state of New York.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
There is no one b.etter to talk about why the New York Rangers selected J.T. Miller with the 15th pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft than Director of Player Personnel Gordie Clark. Jim Cerny did just that with Clark for the Rangers official website and Clark shared some interesting thoughts on Miller and his game. The discussion of Miller's versatility, playmaking and work ethic and effort should make fans happy. One of the easiest things for fans to wrap their heads around when talking about a player is who that player compares to that is playing now. During the course of his comments, Clark compared Miller to current Rangers' forward Brandon Dubinsky and new Kings' center Mike Richards. If Miller plays that same sort of all-around, abrasive game and develops in a similar fashion than Rangers fans will stop questioning the pick and and be elated with the results.
The 2011 Rangers development camp continued today, but there was more than just skating going on at the facility. The prospect practiced this morning and then had a scrimmage in which they played two 20 minute halves. While the scrimmage itself turned out to be an 8-3 blowout win for Team White, the most evident thing was just how deep the Rangers prospect core is right now. Huge games from McIlrath, Fasth, Thomas left the writers with plenty to talk about:
In Andrew Gross recap of the scrimmage at Ranger Rants the praise for the early work of Dylan McIlrath continued:
Dylan McIlrath, the 10th overall pick in 2010, was the strongest player on the ice as he led White to an 8-3 win over Blue this morning at the MSG Training Center. McIlrath, known more for his defense and physical play, had a goal and two assists as he displayed a nice shot from the right point.The work in this morning’s scrimmage follows up the praise for McIlrath’s skating improvement talk yesterday. More than the points he put up today, the excitement should be over the improvement of McIlrath’s shot over the last 12 months. He is not going to become a huge offensive player, but with stead improvement and continuing to add strength that shot is only going to become more of a threat from the point.
Jesse Spector singled out Jesper Fasth as the player of scrimmage this morning.
Jesper Fasth was the star of this morning’s scrimmage at the Rangers’ prospect development camp, scoring two goals with an assist to lead the White team to an 8-3 victory over the Blue.Fasth continues to improve and looks like a steal for a sixth-round pick that was very good at the WJC last season and held his own in the Swedish Elite League a year ago. Another year or two in the SEL and Fasth could become one of the Rangers best prospects and a threat to be a scorer at the NHL level.
Fasth was all over the puck, and knew what to do with it, showing off his skill particularly on a stickhandle through the slot to beat Scott Stajcer. He also scored off a very strong crossing feed from Tim Erixon.
Spector also praised the work of McIlrath, and said that Shane McCoglan was the most impressive of the rookies and that the experience of Hagelin is very evident in how he plays.
Beyond McIlrath and Fasth tearing up the board during the game Christian Thomas did what he does best in scoring with a penalty shot goal and an assist. Andrew Yogan had a goal, Tim Erixon an assist and Pashnin hit everything that moved. The hitting for Pashnin was not always a good thing as Gross pointed out in his recap because he was so focused on delivering the hit that he lost sight of the more important aspects of the game.
There were just 4-on-4 scrimmages, but the number of prospects who showed well for themselves exhibits the tremendous among the Rangers prospects giving even more hope for the future.
Andrew Gross has a story on what Ryan Borque learned watching the Bruins win the Cup.
|Bruce Bennett/Getty Images|
From what I hear, an NHL player can be placed on 24-hour unconditional waivers tomorrow and, if not claimed, be eligible for buyout Thursday. My understanding is that a player with a no-move clause must be notified 24 hours before a buyout and can accept or request a waiver,
Today was the deadline for the New York Rangers to place captain Chris Drury on waivers in order to be able to buy out the final years of his five-year, $35.25 million dollar contract. As Jesse Spector was the first to report, the Rangers chose not to exercise the waiver process today, so there no buyout will occur this week and the team will carry his entire $7.05 million against the summer salary cap.
The other option that could come into play would be the second buyout period in August, but that would require the Rangers to take one of their restricted free agents to arbitration, though that is not a great option.
Monday, June 27, 2011
As was said in my twitter conversation with @Juggs88 and @TheWrage, the determining factor, beyond price, is likely whether the Rangers believe that a player like Carl Hagelin can be ready for the season. I think Hagelin can be so I would likely pass on Kennedy, but it never hurts to have depth.
After hanging out with Kevin DeLury of The New York Rangers Blog during the draft party, and since today was mostly just opening day stories instead of action, we are going round-up some of the observations and stories from today in a sort of NYRangersBlog style: