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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Tomas Kaberle has been traded to the Bruins. Leafs GM Brian Burke has done an excellent job in getting good value for his best asset. The Leafs obtained Boston’s 2011 first rounder, good center prospect Joe Colborne as well as a conditional pick. Given the fact Kaberle openly wanted to go to Boston – leaving Burke with minimal leverage – it’s a great deal for the Leafs who have moved a very good but one dimensional defenseman.
How does this affect the Rangers? It affects them in several ways. First of all it further still sets the price of this years deadline. While it also removes a possible temptation for Glen Sather to remedy the power play with. Given what the Bruins gave up, a comparable price for the Rangers might have been Evgeny Grachev, their first round pick and an additional pick. At that price Rangers fans would have revolted so it’s nice to see the temptation to acquire Kaberle is gone.
On the negative side for the Rangers, it does strengthen a possible playoff opponent should they get there. A Bruins powerplay of Kaberle and Chara on the points could be lethal, so the Rangers would have to stay out of the box in that match up should it happen.
Happy Draft Day!
There will be a flurry of rumors, picks, rumors, squabbling, rumors, bad TV timing, and more rumors. I will do my best to update BSB with any credible rumors, but I won’t be around mid-day (12-3), or anytime after 7pm, so I highly recommend you going over to Blueshirt Banter. Jim is in Montreal at the draft, and will be live blogging everything he hears.
In the mean time, enjoy this rumor:
The Boston Bruins are in pursuit of Tomas Kaberle and a top 10 pick in today’s draft.
Sources tell TSN the Bruins have offered restricted free agent forward Phil Kessel to Toronto in exchange for the Leaf defenceman and Toronto’s No. 7 pick in the draft.
That’s a steep price for Kessel. But can you really pass on a 22-year old winger with one of the best wrist shots in the league?
With new GM Brian Burke trying to rebuild in Toronto, seemingly every player on their roster is available via trade. The most notable players available are Nik Antropov, Jason Blake, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Pavel Kubina, Tomas Kaberle, and Vesa Toskala.
Only Nik Antropov interests me of this group. The others are either overpaid (Kubina), locked up for too long (Kaberle, Blake), or just plain bad (Toskala). Ponikarovsky’s an interesting case, as he is similar to Antropov, but I don’t think Sather can afford to have him locked up for next year as well at his $2.15 million cap hit.
As for Antropov, he’s that big body the Rangers desperately need (6’6, 230lbs) in front of the net on the powerplay (note: Aaron Voros does not count). He would almost certainly bolt for that $4 million contract he will get at the end of the year, so there’s no long term committment. And to top it off, the Rangers can actually afford him because he’s only a $2.05 million cap hit from the beginning of the year.
I don’t know what it would cost to get him, but I would assume a mid level prospect and a mid level pick, plus whoever is needed to clear space (Voros/Fritsche?).
This is another one where you would hope the tires are kicked around a bit. He would be a good pickup at the right price.