When J.T. Miller was selected by the New York Rangers 15th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft he was headed to the prestigious college hockey program at the University of North Dakota. Last week it was announced that Miller was backing out on that commitment and planning to play for Plymouth in the OHL next season. Over at Hockey Buzz, Julie Robenhymer openly wonders if that plan will change again and see Miller sign with the Rangers and play in the AHL this season. The chances of that happening are extremely slim, even though it is technically possible.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
When New York re-signed Ruslan Fedotenko and added Mike Rupp during free agency it was obvious that Vinny Prospal was not coming back to the organization next season. After two years in which Prospal recorded 29 goals and 52 assists in 104 games, is moving on to the Columbus Blue Jackets with a one-year, $1.75 million contract. The move was announced by Columbus GM Scott Howson through his twitter feed.
This is a great gamble for the Blue Jackets who were looking for a top six type forward to replace the recently injured Kristian Huselius. The only question about the move is the condition of Prospal’s knee that caused him to miss 53 games last season. A healthy Prospal will do great things for the Blue Jackets both on and off the ice. If he plays with Jeff Carter and Rick Nash on the top line his playmaking ability will be extremely helpful to players who both know how to finish with regularity. He is yet another addition that will help with the Columbus power play that struggled so mightily last season.
Beyond just his skill he will bring great enthusiasm to the club and his experience will be invaluable for a team that is built mainly of players who have not experienced much winning in the league. New York wishes Vinny good luck and thanks him for all he brought the team these past two seasons.
Now that Brandon Dubinsky’s contract is done, the New York Rangers will now turn their focus to Ryan Callahan and finalizing a long-term deal with the presumed next captain of the franchise. The two sides have until July 28 to work out a deal before they would face an arbitration hearing, though most expect the deal to be done with a few days to spare. The signing of Dubinsky should help the process along, as according to Callahan’s agent, Steve Bartlett, the deal will be a basis for the negotiations between his client and the franchise.
"Any signing of a player of similar age and accomplishments affects players who share restricted free agency," Bartlett said. "Much like the real estate market one looks at comparables. We know we're looking at houses on the same block, now we need to find out what's inside."
According to Kevin Oklobzija of the Democrat and Chronicle, Callahan himself said the following about Dubinsky’s deal:
"I think it lays the groundwork for my deal," Callahan said on Thursday.
The fact that Dubinsky’s deal would be used in negotiations with Callahan is something that most have expected since the arbitration order was announced earlier this month. There has been debate over whether Callahan will get less, the same or more than Dubinsky, but based on what Bartlett had to say, you can expect that Callahan will be seeking more than what Dubinsky got in his deal.
Then there was this interesting quote from Callahan…
"I like where I am," he said. "Obviously the deal has to be right but I love New York and that's where I want to play."
There is absolutely nothing wrong with that and no one should begrudge him wanting to get the right deal for himself, but I cannot help but read that quote and wonder what the reaction would be if that had been said by Dubinsky a week before his arbitration hearing. Though it is often forgotten, this is a business and the job for Bartlett is to get Callahan as much as he can. Callahan is rightfully looking to get paid in a big way by the Rangers and they will certainly oblige him within the next few days and with it all the major work of the organization will be done for the summer and the team will have their foundation locked up for years to come.