Training camp is here, the hockey world is back full time and the Rangers have what appears to be a significant amount of questions as they enter first camp under Alain Vigneault. Let’s hit the musings to open the season.
Derek Stepan: Over his first three years in the league he outscored highly rated youngsters such as Jeff Skinner and Evander Kane. He deserves a significant pay rise; it’s a lot harder to produce in a market such as New York than outposts such as Carolina or Winnipeg. That said, I’m in Sather’s corner; you do not give up your strong negotiating position. However, there has to be a comprise. Stepan is a smart kid; he should not risk his immediate future by missing camp.
Johan Hedberg – he should be cheap, knows the division but indirectly he is a huge acknowledgement by the organisation that – as is the case with Biron’s current situation – if the organisation loses Lundqvist or Biron then there is a huge vacuum of talent at the goaltending position. No one internally is anywhere near the NHL level.
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What’s the status of Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin?
Both players underwent surgery on torn shoulder labrums following the 2013 season and their initial recovery timelines indicated they could each miss the first month of the 2013-2014 season. However, both Callahan and Hagelin have been skating with teammates in the weeks leading up to training camp and have reported no setbacks. Neither is ready for contact just yet, but they both seem to be progressing quickly. It’s still a good bet that neither player will be ready for the season-opener, but we should get a clearer picture of their status during camp. Read more »
The Rangers would love the Dallas Stars version of Brad Richards to return.
Perhaps the smallest but most intriguing piece of news that has come out of Ranger land in recent days is that of Brad Richards already spending significant time on the ice ahead of the up coming season. Last season Richards wasn’t prepared (at all) for the abbreviated, condensed season and it showed all year long. The Rangers did fine without a strong season from Richards but it goes without saying that a well rested, fully functioning Richards makes the Rangers much stronger and more dangerous.
The fact Richards has been skating for the best part of a month is fantastic news. It indicates he is aware of the necessity of being in top shape in a critical juncture in his career and it indicates he’s willing to do whatever it takes to rebound. Barring an MVP like season it is likely Richards is heading into his last year as a Ranger but a good year for Richards means he could make himself attractive to other teams. The free agency market is not looking strong next summer and a 70+ point season from Richards would likely give him another chance to cash in.
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Like it or not, they need him.
It’s no secret. I was very vocal about using our last compliance buyout on Brad Richards this summer. Rather than run the risk of injury and getting stuck with his cap hit —for what will seem like perpetuity if he does get injured— the Rangers decided to give him one last shot at glory.
While I’m disappointed in the decision, I assure you I won’t put a target on his back this year just because the org disagreed with me. After all, my name isn’t Scotty. What’s done is done, and now the org needs to shift gears and figure out what exactly is the best way to get the most of Richards.
Whether or not you think he will rebound this year likely depends on several variables. A) Are you an optimistic person? B) Do you trust or are you very comfortable with advanced stats? C) Do you believe Alain Vigneault and his systems will be an antidote.
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AP Photo/Kathy Willens
Despite coming in at 17th and 19th respectively on various prospect website rankings, the Rangers need not worry when it comes to the talent pipeline just now. Everyone assumes cap mathematics will be the driver behind letting Brad Richards go in twelve months time, and this is indeed true, but the Rangers are especially blessed with promising centers making their way up the system.
With Cristobal ‘Boo’ Nieves, the Rangers have a highly thought of prospect that had an exceptional first year in college in Michigan. They have the Swedish playoff MVP on his way in Oscar Lindberg, and they have a player in Michael St Croix that has been a dominant scorer in the WHL.
Without considering the obvious merits of a JT Miller, the promise (albeit perhaps a little further down the line) of Steven Fogarty, or a talented yet underachieving prospect such as Andrew Yogan, the Rangers don’t need to panic about letting Richards go, nor should they worry about filling his eventual departure through free agency.
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He’s in New York for at least one more year (USATSI).
Rangerland is divided on Brad Richards. Half wanted the Rangers to use their second compliance buyout on the struggling center, while the other half wanted to see what one more year would look like. There were pros and cons of both decisions, but this humble (humble loosely defined) blogger believes Slats made the right call. Justin and I are the only two here that wanted another year of Richards, and we got our wish.
Everyone knows the riskiness of this move. If Richards gets hurt at the end of the season, and remains hurt during next year’s compliance buyout period, then the Rangers are stuck with his contract for the six subsequent seasons at a $6.6 million cap hit. If he retires before the end of the contract, then the Rangers get nailed with the new cap recapture clause, where the Rangers would be penalized with the following cap hits should he retire before his contract expires
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The Rangers have announced that they will not be buying out center Brad Richards this summer. The Rangers have one additional compliance buyout –they used their first on Wade Redden– but have until next offseason to use it. With a new coach in place, and without a pressing need to use the buyout this season, the Rangers have decided to see what they can get out of Richards this year.
Richards had been the subject of many buyout rumors, with seven years left on his deal at a $6.6 million cap hit. The Rangers still have $14.1 million in cap space to work with this offseason.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
As of yesterday at 11pm, the compliance buyout window is officially open. We do know that Danny Briere and Ilya Bryzgalov will be bought out by the Flyers. We know that the Canadiens will be buying out Tomas Kaberle. But right now, that’s all we know. There are rumors that Mike Komisarek will be bought out by Toronto, but that’s just a rumor for now. (Update: Vinny Lecavalier will be bought out by Tampa Bay.)
A few things to keep in mind: We will not be hearing news of Player X being bought out immediately. To be bought out, a player must be placed on waivers, clear waivers 24 hours later, and then the paper work must be submitted. If we really want to see who is being bought out, then follow the waiver wire. Briere, Bryzgalov, and Kaberle will be the first players placed on waivers. If one of them actually gets claimed, then there’s no need to worry about a buyout (the other team will just take the contract).
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Both poised for bounce-back years. Will they do it? (Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)
It’s no secret: Brad Richards and Ryane Clowe had disastrous seasons. Richards was a non-factor for the Rangers on the powerplay –something he was brought in to help bring back to respectability– and was even a healthy scratch for the last few games of the postseason. Clowe didn’t score a goal until he arrived in New York before suffering what is rumored to be two concussions over the span of the last week of the season and his two playoff games.
What we do know is that they were both awful. What we don’t know is whether or not these were off-years or the sign of a complete downward spiral for both players. However, handy-dandy puck possession metrics and shooting percentages can give us a bit of insight into what to expect from them next year, be it in New York or elsewhere. Yesterday I looked at the puck possession leaders for the Rangers, and both Richards and Clowe were among the top five for the Rangers, which may allude to the fact that there’s still gas in the tank. Insert “watch the game nerd” joke here.
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(Winslow Townson/Associated Press)
This week Dave has already touched on Mike Ribeiro as a free agent possibility. He certainly makes for an appealing candidate who has had a productive career. I’m going to discuss why the Rangers should stay well clear of players like Ribeiro.
Once again the Rangers will likely have a hole in the middle of their line-up this offseason. If speculation is true and Brad Richards is to be bought out this summer, the Rangers will have plenty of cap space to play with. While they have to address their own roster first (McDonagh, Stepan, Zuccarello, maybe Clowe, etc) there should be some money with which to enter the free agent market. This is where it gets dicey.
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