Via Darren Dreger, the Rangers have agreed to sign winger Taylor Pyatt to a two-year deal worth $1.55 million annually. The 30-year-old spent the last three seasons with the Coyotes, averaging 13-11-24 while playing in at least 73 games each year. Pyatt has also spent time with the Islanders, Sabres, and Canucks. I’ll leave the in-depth analysis up to our resident experts.
Via Larry Brooks, the Rangers have re-signed backup goalie Martin Biron for two years and $2.6M. The 34-year-old netminder posted a 2.46 GAA and a .904 save percentage in 21 games last year, capably filling in as the club was able to rest Henrik Lundqvist for the stretch drive. Re-signing Biron — or replacing him another solid backup — was a top priority this summer and it’s great to see it addressed in the days leading up to free agency.
Via Szymon Szemberg, winger Mats Zuccarello has signed a two-year deal with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL. The 24-year-old would have been a restricted free agent this summer. Zuccarello ends his brief Rangers career with an 8-18-26 line in 52 games while posting a 25-40-65 line in 73 AHL games. A broken wrist sidelined him for the end of the regular season and postseason, which was unfortunate because the blueshirts really could have used his speed and offensive skill in all three rounds.
***Update: This is now being denied by MZA’s agent.
Before people go crazy with this rumor, people have to realize that MZA is a restricted free agent, therefore Glen can’t work something out with him until after the draft. It would be a pretty dumb move on MZA’s part to defect to the KHL without waiting for an offer from the Rangers. You can’t have the KHL and the Rangers negotiate against each other if one party isn’t even allowed to negotiate yet.
12:47pm: Via Mark Spector, talks between the Rangers and Blue Jackets regarding Rick Nash have “advanced.” The reported package includes one of Ryan McDonagh or Michael Del Zotto, a prospect (apparently Tim Erixon), and a first round pick. The Rangers believe this offer gives them the edge over the Maple Leafs, and I would sure hope it would. That’s a serious haul.
As Dave said on Twitter, any deal bringing Nash to New York would have to involve Brandon Dubinsky going elsewhere for salary purposes. Columbus apparently doesn’t want him, which complicated things. It’s worth noting that Wojtek Wolski was not placed on waivers today according to Bob McKenzie, so his rather pricey salary will still count against the cap on Monday, trade deadline day.
I’m of the belief that the Rangers should look for an upgrade over the Stu Bickel/Steve Eminger/Jeff Woywitka trio, not subtract potentially two defensemen. We’ve seen the d-men get beat with speed quite a bit lately, and I don’t think that’s an accident. Dan Girardi, McDonagh, and MDZ have logged a ton of ice time this season, so adding another guy to soak up some minutes down the stretch makes sense. Anyway, I’ll update this post with any Nash-related rumors throughout the day.
Update (2:24pm): Per David Pagnotta, the Blue Jackets badly want Derek Stepan but will settle for Carl Hagelin. He mentions a package of Dubinsky, Stepan/Hagelin, Chris Kreider, plus a pick (not necessarily a first rounder), though it’s unclear if that’s on the table or if he’s speculating. Meanwhile, Larry Brooks hears that there’s nothing to the MDZ talk, but Erixon is in play. After the Wolski trade, the Rangers can add close to $11 million in cap hits at the deadline according to CapGeek. The money’s there if they want to do something big, or even two something bigs.
Via Darren Dreger, and Nick Kypreos, Pavel Kubina has been traded to the Flyers for a 2nd and 5th round pick, pending league approval. There weren’t any reports connecting the Rangers to the 34-year-old defenseman, though he made sense as a trade target given their need to upgrade the blue line and the John Tortorella connection. Dave looked at Kubina in greater detail earlier this week. On to the next…
Per the AHL transaction page, both Wojtek Wolski and Jeff Woywitka have been recalled following their two-week conditioning stints. Both guys got into six games with the Whale, with Wolski scoring three goals. He should step right back into the lineup tomorrow with Ruslan Fedotenko banged up, but Woywitka will probably have to sit on the sidelines a little longer. With any luck, Wolski will show something over the next few games and fetch something useful at the trade deadline.
Via Bob McKenzie, the Rangers have signed right-handed defenseman Anton Stralman to a one-year contract worth $900,000. The team has not yet confirmed the signing according to Steve Zipay. The Rangers’ interest in Stralman has been rumored for what feels like weeks now, and the move just adds some blue line depth given Marc Staal’s continued absence due to concussion-like symptoms.
Via Larry Brooks, the Rangers are holding Marc Staal out of scrimmages because of lingering post-concussion symptoms from that hit he took from his brother Eric back in late February. Doctors have cleared Staal for contact, but the team is being cautious after the symptoms resurfaced over the summer. John Tortorella will address the situation later today, but Brooks says the club’s top defenseman is expected to be held out of all three North American exhibition games.
I’ll update the post if any more info becomes available, but obviously this is pretty serious. Brain injuries are no joke, regardless of how important the player is to the team.
Update: Torts confirmed that Staal will not play in any of the first three exhibition games, but doctors have indeed cleared him for contact. Staal was diagnosed with a concussion after the hit, then returned to the lineup after passing a baseline test. He started experiencing headaches over the summer, and then passed another recent baseline test. Tortorella says Staal is progressing “very nicely,” they’re just being very cautious.
In other news, Brandon Prust will also be held out of the team’s first three exhibition games after having offseason shoulder surgery. No contact for him for another two weeks.
Via Bob McKenzie, the Rangers have re-signed Ruslan Fedotenko to a one-year deal worth $1.4M. I wasn’t sure if he would be coming back after the Mike Rupp signing, but I like it. Contract seems very fair, if not a little light for Fedotenko given some of the nonsense contracts that were given out today.
Via Michael Russo of The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Derek Boogaard was found dead at his Minneapolis home today by family members. The Rangers have confirmed the death according to Jesse Spector. He was just 28. No further word on the cause of death or anything, but obviously this is just awful. Condolences to Boogaard’s friends and family.
More to come, eventually.