There have been several reports that some variation of the package the Rangers sent to Columbus for Rick Nash on Monday was on the negotiating table for months before the deal was finally consummated. But Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, who is one of the more clued in reporters in the business, tweeted that defensive prospect Tim Erixon was in fact only added to the deal last week. Portzline added that there was “no question” that Shea Weber’s offer sheet with Philadelphia pushed the Rangers to sweeten their offer and include Erixon.
That nugget drew little attention in light of all the other subplots surrounding the blockbuster trade, but if Portzline’s report is correct, then that tells us even more about GM Glen Sather’s negotiating tactics over the last few months.
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Only five players have scored more goals than Rick Nash since 2003-2004. His 272 goals is indeed an impressive total. To date, Nash has scored 83 powerplay goals in his NHL career, a number that would surely have been larger had he had a better supporting cast during his time in Columbus.
While Nash only scored six powerplay goals in each of the last two seasons that number should grow when considering the presence of Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik and players such as Ryan Callahan and Mike Del Zotto on the power play.
Nash is a legitimate threat who is not afraid to shoot the puck, something that the Rangers powerplay hasn’t nearly done enough. With over 300 shots per season over the last two years Nash comes to a Rangers team with players to feed him the puck unlike in Columbus. The premise is that with more opportunity should come more production.
Perhaps the biggest Achilles heel of the Rangers last year was their ineffective powerplay. The presence of Nash adds elite skill, makes the team bigger, more trigger happy but also from a personnel point of view, deeper on the powerplay. The big winger will bump several players down onto a second unit, and will round out a first powerplay unit that should be explosive.
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On top of avoiding surrendering prized young players like Derek Stepan and Michael Del Zotto in yesterday’s blockbuster trade, GM Glen Sather also did an effective job of keeping the Rangers in good shape with the salary cap.
The Rangers are now on the hook for the remaining six-years, $46.8 million of the eight-year, $62.4 million contract Rick Nash inked with Columbus in 2009, but they still have plenty of room to operate.
Some thoughts on the financial impact of the deal:
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It should come as no surprise, but Glen Sather fleeced a rival general manager yet again.
After months of speculation and negotiations, Sather’s patience finally paid off this afternoon as the Rangers completed a trade for Rick Nash. Derek Stepan wasn’t involved in the deal, neither were Michael Del Zotto, Chris Kreider or Ryan McDonagh.
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There are two bits of news today, which is rare for late July. The first is that the Rangers have traded forward Casey Wellman to the Florida Panthers for a fifth round pick in the 2014 draft. Wellman was initially acquired with a conditional seventh round pick from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Erik Christensen. In the end, the Rangers essentially dealt Christensen for two draft picks, which is a solid return for a waiver-wire pickup.
Also, the bigger news of the day is that Shane Doan is indeed in New York visiting the team. He is meeting with management to work on a deal that could potentially bring the winger to Broadway, assuming he doesn’t stay in Phoenix. This is likely just another step in the process of Doan exploring all of his options. He won’t make a decision any time soon, but it’s good to know the Rangers are at least doing what they need to do to woo him.
Though it has repeatedly been reported that GM Glen Sather considers Derek Stepan “untouchable,” that hasn’t stopped many from debating whether he should be included in trade offers for superstars like Rick Nash and Bobby Ryan.
Anaheim is specifically seeking a #2 center-man as part of a package for Ryan and has almost certainly requested Stepan from the Rangers (if the Ducks considered Artem Anisimov or Brandon Dubinsky to be suitable second-line pivots, it’s very likely that Ryan would already be a Blueshirt).
So should Sather actually consider dealing Stepan for Ryan? There is an argument to be made for each side.
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Add another name to the ever-churning trade rumor mill. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that Anaheim GM Bob Murray has been receiving numerous calls regarding 25-year-old left wing Bobby Ryan.
You’ll recall that Ryan was in the thick of swirling trade winds in November, but the firing of coach Randy Carlyle quashed those discussions for the 2011-2012 season.
But now McKenzie reports that Murray is again at least willing to discuss Ryan’s availability, even if Anaheim isn’t actively shopping him.
Make no mistake; the Ducks aren’t in a position where they must dump Ryan quickly as Columbus is with Rick Nash. However, it does make sense for Murray to consider trade offers for a couple of reasons:
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As expected, other options have begun to emerge as potential solutions for the Rangers’ offensive woes outside of Zach Parise and Rick Nash. Parise has already declared his disinterest in signing with the Rangers and Columbus’s asking price for Nash is still through the roof, but there are other players that could help supplement the Blueshirts’ attack.
Trade rumors are building steam as the draft approaches and it does seem as though some significant names could be available. One of particular interest is Winnipeg Jets left wing Evander Kane.
The 20-year-old, a restricted free agent, is reportedly unwilling to negotiate a new contract with Winnipeg, spurring speculation that he could be trade bait this week.
Plenty of teams would heavy interest, but if Kane is indeed available, GM Glen Sather should get Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff on the phone.
Kane was drafted fourth overall in 2009 and is still younger than Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan. He has only begun to scratch the surface of his ability, yet has put up goal totals of 14, 19 and 30 in his first three seasons with the Jets/Thrashers.
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According to @TSNBob McKenzie, defensemen Kyle Quincey was traded from the Avalanche to the Lighting for Steve Downie and then flipped to Detroit for a 1st round pick and minor leaguer Sebastien Piche. Not that we have a crystal ball, but this is the third player we covered in the scouting the deadline series to be traded recently. I know, shameless plug. The others were Pavel Kubina and Dominic Moore.
It should be noted that both Quincey and Downie are RFA’s, so it still remains to be seen how much this will impact the trade market as we move closer to the deadline.
It looks like the Rangers have at least temporarily solved their surplus forward problem, as they have dealt Erik Christensen and a 7th round pick in 2012 to the Wild for Casey Wellman.
Christensen had been a spare part for the Rangers for a long time, and hadn’t played in a NHL game since December 17. The enigmatic and inconsistent center had once shown some chemsitry with Marian Gaborik, but that was short lived. His inconsistent effort quickly made him an afterthought in the Rangers organization.
Wellman is a 24 year old center who has played 41 games at the NHL level over the past three seasons, totaling four goals and nine assists for 13 points. Wellman was an undrafted free agent signed by the Wild after his senior season at UMass-Amherst, where he was a point-per-game player. Per Hockey Wilderness, it doesn’t appear that Wellman got a legitimate shot at the top six in Minnesota, and spent most of his time playing with Brad Staubitz on the third and fourth line.
Christensen was in his last year of a two year contract that paid him $925,000 per season. Wellman is in the final year of a two-way contract that pays him $850,500 at the NHL level. Wellman will be a RFA at the end of his contract.