***UPDATE: Schultz agreed to terms with Edmonton.
In the end, the Wisconsin connection just wasn’t enough.
New York made it to the final six in the Justin Schultz sweepstakes, but in the end the 21-year-old Badgers defenseman chose to play elsewhere. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that Schultz won’t be joining the Rangers, meaning he’ll end up with Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, or Edmonton.
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Right before free agency opens up another desperate general manager on another desperate team has once again made Glen Sather look good. While there’s no doubting the Flames acquisition of Dennis Wideman was a solid move, the contract given to him by Jay Feaster smacks of desperation and makes Ranger contracts like Marc Staal’s and in particular Dan Girardi’s look like excellent value.
There’s no doubt that Wideman has a little more offensive pop to his game than either Staal or Girardi but is Wideman worth a full no movement clause and close to $2m per year more? Absolutely not.
Clearly, this was a GM who needed to add talent to a club unwilling to start from scratch and stopping a player from reaching free agency where he could cash in, in a weak class. However, when you consider the solid two way play of both Ranger linchpin’s – and above all their minute munching, defensive abilities – Sather’s ability to lock down both to reasonable mid-length contracts shows the general manager is doing right.
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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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In USA Today, Kevin Allen suggests that in addition to shopping Rick Nash, Columbus is willing to deal the second overall pick in the draft. Allen writes that though it’s highly unlikely, it would be quite the blockbuster if Nash and the second pick were packaged in the same deal.
The current asking price for Nash according to Allen is, “a premium young prospect, a first-round draft pick and a couple of players who can play immediately.” There are various other reports of Columbus GM Scott Howson demanding a king’s ransom for Nash and unless Howson laments and is willing to accept a lesser package, the Rangers won’t be acquiring the big power forward.
However, would the combination of young assets New York would be willing to part with increase dramatically if the second pick is involved too?
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According to reports there are as many as seven teams who have had serious discussions regarding Rick Nash. This is exactly the kind of market Scott Howson and the Columbus Blue Jackets will have hoped for and exactly what the Rangers will not have wanted.
With Zach Parise apparently ruling himself out of a free agency switch to New York, Nash likely becomes the most realistic target for the Rangers as they have both the assets and financial ability to trade for Nash and can appeal to his desire to play for a competitive team. If Nash wants to play for a playoff team then the Rangers are a major player for the power forward.
The problem is, should the Rangers give up too much to acquire Nash (becoming increasingly likely if the market is genuinely competitive for his acquisition) he not only becomes the well documented cap concern (especially with Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik and Henrik Lundqvist’s contracts already on board) but his acquisition may set the club back in terms of depth depending on what goes the other way.
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Glen Sather is renowned for his usually small circle of trading partners. That circle often includes clubs where a connection to either former staff (Maloney, Phoenix) or teams where Sather has history such as Edmonton. Perhaps there is an opportunity for Sather to revisit his former club once again.
The Oilers are crying out for defensive help while the Rangers need an injection of pure skill. Clearly, there is at least the opportunity to feel each other out to help one another. While it is highly unlikely the Rangers would trade one of their core defenseman – and it is equally unlikely the Oilers would want to trade down too far in the upcoming draft – the Rangers do have significant resources on the blueline. Resources that could perhaps prize the first overall pick from the Alberta club.
At the very least, Sather should ring Edmonton and ask what the cost of acquiring the pick is. It can’t do any harm to ask. If rumours of Edmonton’s long standing fondness for Toronto’s Luke Schenn are true, then the Rangers could certainly better any offer centering around Schenn.
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Zach Parise will not be signing with the Rangers. Parise went on record today to openly express the fact he will not be signing with the Rangers nor will he consider it. ‘Don’t make a headline out of it’ was his final response to beat reporters when pressed on the matter.
Parise removing himself from the Rangers’ future plans narrows the obvious options the Rangers are linked to in order to upgrade their offense. Perhaps Parise ruling himself out of the Rangers future saves the Rangers from themselves. Should the current Devil have been up for grabs on July 1st there’s no guessing how much and how long Sather may have been tempted to offer Parise.
Can the Rangers afford to have another massive contract on the books and still get deeper? With Lundqvist eventually due an extension and Brad Richards’ long term deal, not to mention all the young players’ expiring deals, perhaps giving Parise a long term, mega-money contract wasn’t the most efficient way – among other things – of spending the cap space the Rangers seem to have in the short/mid term.
The Parise announcement may also help Columbus. GM Scott Howson will have noted that the Rangers now have one less alternative in their quest to add more skill and may hold strong to their (unrealistic) demands for Rick Nash. With a weakening free agent pool and uncertainty around players such as Alex Radulov, the Rangers may be forced to go after Nash and pay more than they want to. The next few weeks promise to be very interesting following the Parise news.
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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The New York Rangers are scheduled to select 28th overall in the June draft (barring a trade for Rick Nash) meaning they will make their first pick later than they have since 2002, when New York selected center Lee Falardeau 33rd overall out of Michigan State.
By pick number 28, all of the “can’t miss” prospects will be long gone and there won’t be a whole lot of top talent still available, which leaves the Rangers in an interesting position.
The organization has done a tremendous job assembling prospect depth in recent years and currently boasts an embarrassment of riches.
On defense, the Blueshirts have three All-Star caliber players under the age of 29 and top prospects Tim Erixon and Dylan McIlrath on the way as well.
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The Eastern Conference Finals only provided further evidence that Zach Parise is a terrific player and would be an ideal fit for the New York Rangers.
There’s little doubt that GM Glen Sather is going to make Parise a massive multi-year offer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, but despite New York’s desire to convert the Devils’ captain into a true blue soldier, there’s a very small chance of that actually happening (despite my repeated attempts to convince myself otherwise).
The primary reason – Parise isn’t like past Devils’ versions of Benedict Arnold; he cares deeply about the organization that drafted him nine years ago and takes great pride in leading the Rangers’ bitter rivals. All the proof you need was etched onto Parise’s face as he was interviewed by the MSG Network immediately following New Jersey’s ousting of the Blueshirts on May 25th when Parise expressed immense satisfaction about erasing the memory of 1994 (1:25 mark).
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