In a season full of surprises, none was bigger than 22-year-old defenseman Ryan McDonagh.
The former Wisconsin Badger was stolen from Montreal in the laughable Scott Gomez salary dump, arguably Glen Sather’s greatest transaction as general manager of the New York Rangers.
McDonagh spent the first half of the 2010-2011 season quietly honing his game in Connecticut before being called up on January 3, 2011.
He immediately clicked with Michael Sauer, bolstering New York’s second defensive pair just in time for the playoff push.
But even McDonagh’s stellar rookie season couldn’t prepare us for his monster 2011-2012 campaign.
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Now that the 2011-2012 season is behind us, many have already turned their attention to free agency. But before you do, a word of caution.
July 1st always represents a feeding frenzy and fans pay close attention to the mercenaries that could be brought aboard to hopefully take their teams to the next level. The Rangers are notoriously active on the free agent market and will surely be a major player again this summer.
But before getting too excited about the players that could sign the dotted line with New York, remember that many of the men that switch teams won’t make quite as big an impact as we may convince ourselves to believe leading up to the kickoff of the signing period.
That’s not to say that all of the impending free agents have inflated values – Ryan Suter and Zach Parise are both bona fide superstars and could buoy their future employers to the next level as Brad Richards did for the Blueshirts.
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The signing parade continues. This time around, Oscar Lindberg has agreed to terms with the Rangers on an entry level contract. Lindberg was acquired by the Rangers in May of last year in exchange for prospect Ethan Werek. Lindberg was originally a 2nd round pick in 2009 by the Coyotes, and was acquired for his ability to add speed and face off prowess to the bottom six forwards.
Lindberg is not a high scorer (24 points in 87 games through two seasons in the SEL), but he is a prototypical defensive forward with speed who will dominate the face off circle. As noted this year, face offs are a big weakness for the Rangers, and Lindberg should help in that regard should he make it to the NHL.
The Rangers are beginning to make waves with their prospects and ATO candidates. Just a day after announcing the signing of Jesper Fast, the Rangers have announced that they have agreed to terms with UFA winger Marek Hrivik. Hrivik earned a lot of press coverage when he exploded in the AHL playoffs, leading Connecticut in goals (5) and points (9) in nine playoff games.
Hrivik will likely join the Whale for next season as well, but he’s a player you should keep your eye on. He could provide some nice scoring depth in the future. The press release is after the jump.
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The Rangers have agreed to terms with forward Jesper Fasth, their sixth round draft pick in 2010. Fasth was one of the Swedish Elite League’s top scorers before suffering a gruesome ankle injury that ended his season. In 21 games, Fasth had 16 points (5-11-16) and a +9 rating. The Rangers needed to offer the 5’11″ 176 lb winger a contract prior to the end of June or they would lose his rights.
Fasth has two years remaining on his SEL contract, but it is expected that he will join the Rangers organization before that contract expires.
The Rangers acquired this sixth round draft pick in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Rangers sent Bobby Sanguinetti to Carolina in exchange for this pick and a second round pick (used in the Tim Erixon trade).
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.
Update 5:20: So I missed the tweet where McKenzie corrected himself. The ELC is a three year deal (which makes more sense because Kreider isn’t 21 yet…that part had me confused). The Rangers intend on burning this year of the ELC, which means the Rangers intend on having him play in the playoffs.
Update 3:50: McKenzie is reporting that Kreider’s deal is a two year ELC, and that he will report to Rangers practice tomorrow. Kreider is eligible to play in the playoffs, but will burn a year of his ELC if he even shows up for practice.
Moral of the story: if Kreider is at practice, the Rangers fully intend on using him in the playoffs.
Original post: The details are still a little bit hazy, but Bob McKenzie is reporting that the Rangers have agreed to terms with top prospect Chris Kreider. Kreider has been the topic of much debate, and until details are known, we won’t know if the ELC starts for this season or next. But, the one thing we do know is that Kreider will be with the Rangers organization next season at the latest.
The Rangers and Connecticut Whale have announced that they have signed forward Marek Hrivik to an ATO with the Whale. Hrivik played with Moncton of the QMJHL, where he averaged roughly a point per game over his three years with the Wildcats. The 20 year old winger would still be eligible for an overage year in the QMJHL.
The press release is after the jump.
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The gents at Capgeek have the scoop that the Rangers have signed prospect Andrew Yogan to an entry level deal. The deal is a standard two-way, three-year ELC worth with a $655,000 NHL cap hit. The deal itself includes $80,000 per year of signing bonuses, and a base salaries of $630,000, $655,000, and $680,000 over the life of the deal. If Yogan remains in the AHL, he will make $55,000, $60,000, and $62,500 for the three years of the deal.
For those wondering why he didn’t just sign right now, instead of going through an ATO with Connecticut, it’s a CBA thing. No NHL team can have 50 players signed and in the professional ranks at any given moment. The Rangers currently have 49 players (this does not count Dylan McIlrath, J.T. Miller, or Christian Thomas, who have had their ELCs slide a year because they are in Juniors). Signing Yogan would have put them at that 50 player limit. Another reason: if he were signed for this year, it would burn a year on his ELC.
All in all, it’s a smart move for the Rangers to sign Yogan. The kid has some serious potential, but injuries have been an issue over the course of his junior career. With seven forwards in the AHL set to become free agents (RFA or UFA), the Rangers will need some bodies to fill out the roster. The move was officially announced by the Rangers a few minutes ago.
WHALE SIGN JORDAN OWENS TO AHL CONTRACT
Fifth-year Pro has Two Goals in Twelve Games
HARTFORD, November 7, 2011: Connecticut Whale general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today that the Whale has signed forward Jordan Owens to an American Hockey League contract.
Owens, a fifth-year pro who is in his second tour of duty with the Whale franchise, had been playing this season on a Professional Tryout (PTO) agreement with the Whale. The 6-0, 193-pound Toronto native has scored two goals and has 11 penalty minutes in 12 games on the year.
Owens, 25, played 160 games in a Hartford Wolf Pack uniform starting in the 2006-07 season, registering 25 goals and 45 assists for 70 points, plus 163 PIM, before being traded to the Detroit Red Wings for current Whale teammate Kris Newbury March 3, 2010. After the trade, Owens skated with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit’s AHL affiliate, to which he contributed six goals and 14 assists for 20 points, while serving 101 minutes in penalties, in 60 games last season.
In 249 career AHL games with the Whale/Wolf Pack and Griffins, Owens has totaled 34 goals and 63 assists for 97 points, along with 297 PIM. Prior to turning pro with the Wolf Pack late in the 2006-07 campaign, he spent three seasons in the OHL with the Mississauga IceDogs.