Thursday, June 17, 2010

No more hockey?!? OH NO!

With no more games to watch, I figured I should chime in with some offseason thoughts.  Plus, today is a holiday in my ends in approximately 23 minutes.  That could also be 47 minutes, depending on how long the last 60 seconds of game time takes.

So, here are my thoughts on the Rangers and their offseason plans:

  • Playoffs
    • I was very happy to see the Chicago Blackhawks pull out the Stanley Cup victory over the Flyers.  Seeing the Flyers lose the Cup at home made it even more enjoyable, and the Philly fans displayed their ever-present class in booing the Stanley Cup.  (That karma bites, Philly, doesn't it?
    • Chris Pronger taking pucks and throwing them out shows just how ridiculous and childish he is.  It's just 1 more reason for me to dislike him and the Flyers.
  • Rangers RFAs - Rangers have right to match or receive compensation from signing team (only if they tender a qualifying offer to the player).
    • Marc Staal - Must be resigned, and will be.  $3.5-4m, 5 years. (might need to go higher)
    • Dan Girardi - Should be and will be back.  Has yet to miss a game since his call up to the big club in January of 2007.  That's 280 games, the longest current games played streak on the Rangers far.   $2.2-2.6m, 3 years.
    • Brandon Prust - His heart and compete level are much larger than his diminutive stature.  $600-850k, 2-3 years.
    • Enver Lisin - Likely will not return.  Has definite upside, but spent a good deal of time in Torts' dog house thanks to defensive lapses.
    • Erik Christensen - Should absolutely be resigned.  Christensen was the waiver pickup of the year around the league in my eyes.  $800k-$1.1m, 2 years.
    • Mike Sauer - Coming back from injury, and still has upside potential. $500-800k, 2 years.
    • Andres Ambuhl - Rumors have him returning to Europe after not cracking the Rangers lineup at all in 2009-10.
    • Ilkka Heikkinen - Has some definite upside, but has to be willing to play in Hartford extensively. UPDATE: Heading back to Europe.
  • Rangers UFAs - Rangers have exclusive negotiation rights until July 1.
    • Jody Shelley - should be resigned, no questions.  I'd give him $700-900k, 2 years.
    • P.A. Parenteau - should come back, showed he can play at the NHL level.  $600-800k, 1 year.
    • Vinny Prospal - should absolutely be resigned if the price is right.  $1.5-2.5m, 1 year.
    • Olli Jokinen - played his first and last game as a Ranger in 2010.
    • Steve Valiquette - good guy, but won't be back.
    • Alex Auld - would love to have him back, even if it's only for his mask.  Unfortunately it sounds like the Rangers don't share my opinion.  $700-900k, 1 year.
    • Anders Eriksson - proved valuable to the Rangers during their stretch run.  Provides veteran experience and a nice point shot.  $750k, 1 year, 2-way.
    • Corey Potter - I could go either way on Potter, but I think he needs a 2-way deal.  Still hasn't proven he belongs at the NHL level.  $500-700k, 1 year.
    • Corey Locke - Should be resigned, but likely will be a career AHLer.  $500-700k, 2 years.
    • Matt Zaba - Is he willing to keep playing in Hartford? $600k, 2 years.

  • Free Agency
    • Ilya KovalchukPatrick MarleauAnton Volchenkov - The Rangers should kick the tires on all of them, but don't realistically have the cap space to make a move on any of these top UFAs.
    • Pavol Demitra - is eligible for a low base salary with bonuses and played exceptionally well with Gaborik in the Olympics.  $1-1.5m plus performance bonuses, 1-2 years.
    • Zbynek Michalek and Matthew Lombardi - They have both become big names on the next level list.  Michalek is a D-man in his prime at 28, with a great skill set and still more upside potential.  He'll likely command more money than the Rangers are willing, or should be willing, to spend.  Lombardi is also 28 and posted a career-high 53 points last season (19 goals).  He's scored 20 goals before (2006-07 with Calgary) and is a 16-18 minute a night center.  I would make a play on him, especially with the Rangers' struggles at center.  Problem is, he made $2.35m last year and will likely be looking for a raise.  $2.5m, 2 years.
    • Hugh Jessiman - They should sign him away from the Predators and try to prove that they didn't really mess up THAT much when they drafted "huge specimen". JUST KIDDING.  3 years, he pays the Rangers $500k.
  • Prospects
    • Pavel Valentenko - Beyond the Blueshirts is reporting that Valentenko, who came over in the Scott Gomez deal, will be returning to North America from the KHL this year.  He has 1 year left at $850k on his entry level deal before becoming a RFA.
    • Bobby Sanguinetti - This might finally be the year that Sanguinetti makes it full time in the NHL.  He'll be in the last year of his entry level contract, earning $855k.
    • Dane Byers - Byers just resigned a 1 year deal worth $500k.  Common thought is that Byers is going to get a shot to prove himself at the NHL level this season as a 3rd or 4th liner.  Here's to hoping that's the case.
    • Evgeny Grachev - He had a pretty dreadful rookie year as a pro, considering the expectations he had.  If he wants to be on the opening day roster, he's going to need a MONSTER training camp.  Otherwise, it's back to Hartford and more development time.
    • Mats Zuccarello Aasen - MZA, or "The Hobbit" as some have referred to him, scored 104 points in 90 career Swedish Elite League games.  He also had a strong showing with Team Norway at the Olympics and also at the World Championships by all accounts.  Look for him to jump right in as a 2nd or 3rd line winger this season.
  • Current Roster
    • Wade Redden should start looking for a new apartment. He's going to need a place to stay in Hartford for the 2010-11 season.  I expect that the Rangers will ship him to the AHL to allow them to sign more top 6 forward talent.
    • Glen Sather is trying his best black magic to find this summer's Bob Gainey.  That's because he desperately need to find someone to take Donald Brashear and his $1.4m salary off the Rangers' books.
    • I wouldn't be surprised to see Aaron Voros traded or sent to Hartford at some point.  He cleared waivers twice this past year, so Hartford is more likely.
    • It also would not surprise me to see Matt Gilroy sporting a Wolfpack sweater this season.  I think the Rangers will either send him to Hartford or trade him for a prospect or a pick.  His play was decent last season, but certainly not strong enough to warrant the $1.75m they're paying him.
    • The Rangers currently have $10.5m in cap room, but only 15 players under contract.  Once Redden is dispatched to Hartford, the $17m is cap space becomes a bit easier to live with.

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