Sather spent wisely. (Photo credit: Jim McIsaac)
It is definitely a concern that the Rangers’ association with the sad sack Blue Jackets has grown stronger this week. Putting that aside however and Glen Sather was right to exercise caution in a free agency period that may have been the most idiotic ever. The Rangers went out and added depth. They went out and acquired players who will not excite anyone but in Benoit Pouliot and Dominic Moore in particular, they brought in two players that should help the team down the road.
On a day when players who had just finished abysmal seasons managed to have their agents get them four year deals or significant pay rises based almost solely on availability Glen Sather spent minimally. Benoit Pouliot – whose 2012-13 season would have pro-rated to close to 50 points – got 1.3m while Moore got one million and Aaron Johnson got close to the league minimum. There should be no complaints over the money doled out.
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This is a bit late, but the Rangers have inked forward Benoit Pouliot to a one year, $1.3 million deal. Pouliot has been one of the top P/60 guys in the league over the past few years, and was at 2.44 P/60 last season. He will serve as a depth forward to provide tertiary scoring. In the grand scheme of things, having a guy that can put up over 2.0 P/60 for less that $2 million is a solid signing.
The Rangers also signed defenseman Aaron Johnson to a one year, $600,000 deal. Johnson is likely depth defense and will play in Hartford this season.
Per Larry Brooks, the Rangers have signed center Dominic Moore to a one-year contract worth $1 million. You may remember Moore played with the Blueshirts in 2005-2006. Moore sat out last season as a result of his late wife’s battle with rare liver cancer. Moore was someone we talked about signing before last season kicked off. Welcome back Dominic.
Aaron Asham and Darroll Powe’s time as New York Rangers’ may be over. Both bottom six forwards have been placed on regular waivers (not buyout waivers) and could be snapped up by other clubs or sent down to the AHL, eventually. These moves may be to clear cap space as the Rangers look to enter free agency with more cap room but regardless, both almost certainly signal that Alain Vigneault doesn’t plan with either player.
While Arron Asham was at times under utilized by John Tortorella and suffered injuries that hindered his time as a Ranger, Powe was a particular disappointment. Powe failed to provide any offense whatsoever and couldn’t help solidify a so-so penalty kill. Neither player has made an impact as a Ranger and wouldn’t be missed.
Glen Sather continues to be busy in the trade market, making his third trade in three days. This time, he sent 2010 second round pick Christian Thomas to Montreal for 2008 second round pick Danny Kristo. Last season with Hartford, Thomas put together a line of 19-16-35, but was very inconsistent while adapting to the higher speed of the AHL.
Kristo, a 5’11, 185 lb forward who just finished his senior year at the University of North Dakota, put together a line of 26-26-52 in his senior season. Kristo has a World Junior Gold (2010), an NCAA Championship (2010), and a WCHA rookie of the year (2010). Per Habs Eyes on the Prize, Kristo is very skilled, fast, and gritty. But his development path was a shaky one, as rarely do players stay in college through their senior year, and Kristo’s size and strength have been questioned regularly.
This is a bit of a surprising trade, as it was believed that the organization was very high on Thomas. However, the organization was once high on Ethan Werek, and they sent him packing for the highly touted Oscar Lindberg. I don’t know much about Kristo, but I like what I’ve read so far.
Leslie Treff at Hockeys Future noted that his off ice issues kept his value low, but he’s worked on those and is now more mature (Note: The “no maturity” is a typo that she clarifies in her next tweet), and still has that high end skill that could make him an interesting player to watch as camp begins in September. Corey Pronman also thinks the Rangers got better in this deal.
In a minor trade, the Rangers have sent forward Kris Newbury to Philadelphia for left-handed defenseman Danny Syrvet. Syvret, who was a teammate of Dan Girardi’s with London in the OHL, is essentially the defensive version of Newbury. Both players are solid at the AHL level, but neither can gain solid footing in the NHL. They are your quintessential AAAA players.
Newbury was never going to be given a shot with the Rangers, especially with his undisciplined play. Syvret adds more AHL depth on the blue line, something that was sorely needed. The trade also frees up top-six minutes in the AHL for forwards like Oscar Lindberg, Jesper Fast, Michael St. Croix, and Christian Thomas.
The Rangers continue to focus on defensive depth this offseason, which is something that was exploited during the Bruins series. Syvret, 28, has a line of 3-4-7 in 59 career NHL games.
In the first move of the day, the Rangers have acquired defenseman Justin Falk from Minnesota in exchange for Benn Ferriero and a 6th round pick in 2014. Falk, a left handed shot, had a line of 0-3-3 in 36 games this past season, with a -9 rating and 40 PIMs. Falk isn’t terrible on the metrics side of things, with a 2.0 RCorsi (-1.28 CorsiON), a -0.694 Corsi Rel QoC, and 47.9% OZone starts. Falk would slide in nicely as a bottom pairing, depth defenseman.
Falk is one big dude (6’5, 215 lbs), and is more of a stay at home guy with a big body. At just 24 years old, there is a lot of room for Falk to improve. Falk is an RFA, and made $825,000 last season. I’d expect him to get about $1 million, maybe a little more.
The Rangers have agreed to terms with 2011 5th round draft pick Sam Noreau. The big defenseman (6’5, 223 lbs) just finished his fourth season with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the QMJHL, where he put together a line of 7-25-32 in 66 regular season games, and 2-1-3 in 15 postseason games. Through his four years in the Q, Noreau had a line of 18-45-63 in 225 games.
Noreau is one big dude and improved greatly as his years progressed. This season, he served as BAC’s top shutdown defenseman and alternate captain. Like many big defenseman, Noreau needs to work on his skating, but this signing shows how much the kid progressed since his draft year.
The Rangers still have not signed fellow 2011 draftees Shane McColgan (5th) and Peter Ceresnak (6th), and it is unlikely they will do so before the deadline tomorrow, which means they will re-enter the draft.
I received word yesterday when I was in a meeting and Mrs. Suit texted me asking if the story of Tortorella’s firing was true. Seconds later my phone buzzed again and it was Dave with the same news. Within minutes my phone would blow up and it wouldn’t stop all afternoon. Whatever else happened in that meeting I was in I couldn’t tell you. Needless to say, I was stunned and I wasn’t in a setting where I could get answers.
Torts was my guy and I thought he deserved another year. It’s no secret I have been a staunch supporter of his over the past 4+ seasons, probably more so than anyone else who covers this team. I’ve never admitted it on this blog, but I have met Torts away from the pressures of the season on several occasions. Every time I came away with the same impression. That’s a guy I’d go to hell and back with. He takes over a room like few others I have encountered in this business.
And these experiences played a part in why I even contribute to this site. A few years ago I was reading a lot of irrational, knee jerk reaction type stuff about Torts and the coaching discipline in general. That inspired me to dig in on the inner workings of the game and seek out experienced hockey people who would help me shed light on the x’s and o’s.
With that said, my allegiance will always be with the Rangers. Not Tortorella, not Glen Sather, not even Henrik Lundqvist. They are all just disposable heroes in the end. My one true allegiance is to the crest, the blue, red and white. I hope all of you, even those of you who frequently disagree with me remember that.
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As expected, the Rangers have recalled several players to serve as this year’s “taxi squad” for the playoffs. With the Connecticut Whale out of the playoffs, the Rangers were able to recall ten players:
- Goalies: Cam Talbot, Jason Missiaen
- Defensemen: Stu Bickel, Dylan McIlrath
- Forwards: Ryan Bourque, Micheal Haley, Brandon Mashinter, J.T. Miller, Brandon Segal, Christian Thomas
Katie Strang is reporting that only Haley will practice with the team. The rest of the players will drive to Washington and travel with the team. They will all serve as emergency replacements if the Rangers get bitten by the injury bug.