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Oceanside, CA • United States • 33 Years Old • Male
Even though things have slowed down terribly in the hockey world as far as UFA signings and trades go, it only takes a spark to set off some genuine interest again. I’m sure that most of us have talked of our favorite team’s off-seasons to date ad nauseam. We all have a good idea of where our team is strong and where it is weak. For me at least, there have been a couple of recent moves that have made available a couple of potentially useful players for a team like the New York Rangers and this has sparked my interest.

Look, I try very hard to be a realist. I understand that the Rangers are not a strong Stanley Cup contender. As the roster is currently constituted, the Rangers are likely going to be in a battle with the New Jersey Devils for 3rd place in the Atlantic. Given the strength of the Eastern Conference, that may translate to a 5th or 6th seed at best. Clearly Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are both better than the Rangers at this point in time. Looking at the Rangers available cap space, their roster and the names of the players available I don’t see any quick-fix additions that would turn this squad into anything more than what they are now.

However, come playoff time, almost anything can happen. If a team with the stellar goaltending that the Rangers have gets hot at the right time, they can certainly go deep into the playoffs. While there may not be anyone available to the Rangers right now to help us finish in the upper echelon of the East, there are a couple of players that could help increase our chances of making the playoffs and potentially going deep into them.

As presently constructed, the Rangers roster has two glaring holes to me; Center and Defense. Chris Drury has never been a number 1 Center and is probably better off as either the #2 or as a Wing on a scoring line. Brandon Dubinsky may not have the top-shelf offensive skill to be a true #1 either. He’s a gamer and will do anything to help the team succeed though so he could fill in as a #1. Conceivably, rookie Artem Anisimov could develop into a more ideal top pivot but it would be expecting a lot for him to perform at that level this year. Certainly the need for an experienced, offensive-minded pivot does exist on this roster.

On Defense, the Rangers have 2 vacancies among their top 6 after letting both Derek Morris and Paul Mara exit via free agency. Last year’s Hobey Baker award winner, Matt Gilroy, is expected to fill one of those slots. The other slot will be filled from a pool of candidates that include: Bobby Sanguineti, Michael Del Zotto, Michael Sauer, Corey Potter, or Iikka Heikinen. There are several good prospects on this list and Gilroy looked good at the prospect camp but remember how poorly Rozsival and Redden played last year. Essentially, the Rangers have only 2 returning defensemen that performed well at the NHL level last season; Marc Staal and Dan Girardi. If Rozsival and/or Redden don’t ramp up their games this season and even if a couple of the rookies step in and perform well, team defense will still be a weakness.

It’s possible that our solution(s) just hit the open market last week as the Tampa Bay Lightning bought out the final 3 years on the contract of C Vinny Prospal and the Carolin Hurricanes did the same with the final year of D Frankie Kaberle. Since both players will receive at least a portion of the salaries in their bough out contracts, they may be amenable to signing short-term, low-cost deals with new clubs.

Prospal, in particular, is an interesting player. He seems to alternate good seasons with bad seasons and if that holds true then he is due for a good year. Regardless of his inconsistencies, Prospal has averaged 0.77 points-per-game in the 4 seasons since the lock-out (91 goals, 160 assists, and 251 points in 325 games). He has also appeared in no fewer than 80 contests in each of the last seven seasons. Prospal’s On-Ice/Off-Ice +/- rating for the last two seasons were -0.75 in 2008-2009 and +0.83 in 2007-2008. The low rating from last year is somewhat scary given how poor the entire team as a whole was. However given his track record, it’s a good possibility Prospal will rebound. Another factor to keep in mind is that Prospal had some of his best seasons playing for Rangers Head Coach Jon Tortorella in Tampa, including the Stanley Cup season. It would seem worth calling Prospal’s agent to see if Vinny would like to set-up for Marian Gaborik next season.

Kaberle might be a tougher sell as he is 35 years old and has had injury problem in 2 of the last 3 seasons. Over that time, Kaberle has missed 109 of a possible 246 games. As recently as 2005-2006 though, Kaberle recorded a line of 6g – 38a – 44pts in 77 games for the Carolina Hurricanes. He has never been a physical player but has been a solid puck mover throughout his career. Given the Rangers hopeful reliance on returns to respectability by Wade Reden and Michal Rozsival and the expected addition of two rookies to the lineup, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a reliable vet like Kaberle around if Sather’s plans/hopes do not come to fruition.

As I stated earlier in this post; neither Prospal nor Kaberle can be expected to carry this team anywhere but either addition could make this team better and could help this squad qualify for the playoffs more easily. Once in the playoffs…….. anything can happen.
August 8, 2009 8:37 AM ET | Delete
Dude, Torts and Prospal HATE EACH OTHER!! HATE, I am talking hate.c'mon man, I can't believe you don't know that.
August 8, 2009 9:10 AM ET | Delete
besides.... prospal is what we need in nashville
August 8, 2009 9:29 AM ET | Delete
this is classic:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgfShDZ3f9Y
August 8, 2009 9:30 AM ET | Delete
August 8, 2009 12:25 PM ET | Delete
I will continue with my ludicrous trade proposals:.......Redden/Voros/Sauer/Paerenteau/3rd Rd Pk to TAMPA BAYfor Mezaros/Lashoff/4th Rd Pk....Thoughts? Because Tampa is giving up age, they would receive Sauer and Parenteau and the 3rd Rd Pk....Lashoff is an RFA and 9th on Depth chart in Tampa. Both teams end up with approx 7-7.5 mil in Cap Space after the deals......
August 8, 2009 12:27 PM ET | Delete
I would even do this deal without receiving a pick back from Tampa...This clears up Cap space to trade a 1st Rd Pk for Patrick Sharp or anyone in the world our hearts desire.
August 8, 2009 12:42 PM ET | Delete
Jimbo - I didn't say they were best friends; I said that he had his best seasons playing for Torts in Tampa. Remember after he left for Anaheim as a FA the Lightning traded to bring him back after the lockout.
August 8, 2009 12:45 PM ET | Delete
Corners, the Lightning gave up a lot to get Maszaros last year so I don't see them giving him up unless they improve their roster in the deal. Redden won't upgrade their roster and the prospects we would be sending them aren't top notch. I think we're stuck with Redden at least for another season.
August 8, 2009 1:07 PM ET | Delete
Ok lets look to the Hawks for some action then..lol...They clearly have to move Salary.....Keith ( RFA after this year and will need to get paid!)/ Sharp to NYR for Roszival/Voros/1st Rd Pk/McDonagh and Arnason ( if wanted or another Pick or Prospect )....Both teams will then be under the Cap. Chi would have a nice 23 man roster while the NYR will still need to resign Dubi and add a Pos player and still bring in 2 rookie d-men......
August 8, 2009 1:08 PM ET | Delete
If voros doesnt fit the needs or wants, trade him to Tampa for Lashoff or whoever for some bottom 6 dman with some kind of NHL exp.
August 8, 2009 1:12 PM ET | Delete
With Keith, Toews and Kane all hitting RFA next year I don't think that the Hawks will want to add any long term deals for this season. So I don't see them as players for Rozsi. Voros can always be sent to Hartford if we ned to clear his $1 million off the cap. I think Rozsi to a team like Dallas, Columbus or St. Louiis makes sense.
August 8, 2009 1:14 PM ET | Delete
I postulated before that I wouldn't mind seeing a Rozsival to Columbus trade that brings Raffi Torres to NY. He has 1 year at $2.25 million left on his contract so we would be shedding $2.75 this year and the other 2 seasons at $5 million left on Rozsi's deal. Then we'd have to add a vet D man either by trade or FA.
August 8, 2009 1:14 PM ET | Delete
Besides, Tampa needs bodies in their lineup. They have Depth at "D" but not on "O". Their roster is going to have serious problems after this season with a ton of UFA's. they need to address that situation, why not now? Throw some youth ( Parenteau-26, Voros-28, Rissmiller-30 ) They certainly wont trade Hedman, Ohlund, Smaby, Ranger....Mezaros can get them youth in return and not overly hurt them...They arent cup contenders either.
August 8, 2009 1:19 PM ET | Delete
Gk, I prefer the pressure deals that are intriguing.....If we did move Rosi, we would have 3 open D spots....I rather see a young dman come back to meld versus signing an older guy who will be gone after the year.
August 8, 2009 1:19 PM ET | Delete
Gk, I prefer the pressure deals that are intriguing.....If we did move Rosi, we would have 3 open D spots....I rather see a young dman come back to meld versus signing an older guy who will be gone after the year.
August 8, 2009 1:21 PM ET | Delete
GK, I know trading Rosi straight up wont yield much in return. That is why I would rather Pkg him with picks and prospects for a Young Dman that will grow with the youngsters we have coming up. I dont want to just shed Salary because it will still keep us from rebuilding.
August 9, 2009 12:53 PM ET | Delete
I'm all for letting our young guys play but if they struggle I'd like to have a fal back option if possible. A guy like Kaberle wouldn't cost much but can still contribute. Shedding long term salary now gives us space to re-sign Girardi and Staal who will both be RFA's next summer.
August 9, 2009 12:57 PM ET | Delete
As far as Tampa specifically goes, I think Meszaros is a big part of their rebuild and don't think they'd have much interest in moving him unless they get a young forward in return. If there was a way to get a player like Babchuk, Duncan Keith or even Cam Barker then I'd like that.
August 9, 2009 2:04 PM ET | Delete
GK, The Rangers are actually in pretty good shape as it relates to the cap next year. As the roster stands today ( CapGeek.com ), there are only Higgins, Lisin, Girardi and Staal to be immed concerned about. NYR have 45.8 mil in Salary locked in already for nxt year....there are only 3 other RFA's to consider re-signing other than these 4...Potter,Sauer,Valentenko,Byers and poss one of either Zaba or Wiikman.
August 9, 2009 2:09 PM ET | Delete
If they were to open the bank and pay Staal, Girardi and Higgins 3 mil each and Lisin 2 mil ( estimating on high side for all ), that would put them at the cap....assuming Dubinsky is signed for 2 mil. Thats without them moving anyone at this time. We lose Rissmiller/Voros 2 mil but will most likely add Grachev/Del Zotto 2 mil as a wash.
August 9, 2009 2:11 PM ET | Delete
So, we arent in dire straits....but it would be nice to move a Redden or Roszival contract to sign a free agent or two next season or for prospects ready to make a jump on deep teams.
August 10, 2009 12:15 PM ET | Delete
Gk, I have been doing some thinking ( Dangerous-I know ) this week about the Rangers 2009-10 Roster. I think they will be stuck pretty much where they are right now. Unless of course there is someone willing to take a large contract. So, with that said here are my line combos....
August 10, 2009 12:21 PM ET | Delete
Dubinsky-Anisimov-GaborikKotalik-Drury-CallahanAvery-Higgins-LisinBrashear-Boyle-VorosByers or RissmillerStaal-RoszivalRedden-Girardi?-PotterGilroy This I believe will be opening night.
August 10, 2009 12:24 PM ET | Delete
If Anisimov struggles, which he may until he gets some confidence, slide Dubinsky to center and move Anisimov to third line Center and Higgins to left side of first line. If they stand pat with this roster, they can as you suggested sign a Kaberle or stay at home vet to play the back line with one of the rookies.
August 10, 2009 4:00 PM ET | Delete
I think I'd rather have this: Avery-Anisimov-Gaborik, Higgins-Drury-Kotalik, Callahan-Dubinsky-Lisin, Brashear-Boyle-Voros. I like Avery up with Gabs and Dubs with Cally. These aren't traditional 1st, 2nd, 3rd lines; the top 3 lines can all score and the fourth can bang at opponents.
August 10, 2009 4:05 PM ET | Delete
I actually like your 3rd Line pairing to go against other teams 2nd lines....I dont think Gaborik would be thrilled with his linemates tho...it looks more like a 2nd line....unfortunately, thats all the Rangers have is 3 number 2 lines at this point...
August 10, 2009 5:27 PM ET | Delete
Hey GK, rumors are swirling again out of Carolina ( according to Hockey News ) regarding Rutherford looking to trade Babchuk. Heres my off the board suggestion: Sather makes a deal to acquire him, hes young and offensive with a huge body....A pick and a player/prospect will do it.Carolina has a set roster with approx 2.7 Cap space avail.
August 10, 2009 5:31 PM ET | Delete
Bring him here and sign him for a long term deal or whatever will work....He is a top 4 d-man. It also makes Roszival more expendable for picks in prospects if we NEED to move him. Any case, Babchuk would solidify the D and allow for easy transition for the Rangers to bring up one Rookie D or two and have them rotate.
August 10, 2009 5:34 PM ET | Delete
....and to boot, if Zherdev does sign in Russia this season, he may want to return to the NYR when he comes back to play with his pal Anton...just a thought for future services as well...ya know--big picture.
August 10, 2009 5:55 PM ET | Delete
Im thinking Potter/Rissmiller/maybe a late Rd Pk FOR Babchuk...............Higgins-Dubinsky-Gaborik, Kotalik-Drury-Callahan, Avery-Anisimov-Lisin, Byers/Brashear-Arnason-Boyle, Staal-Roszival, Redden-Babchuk, Del Zotto-Giriardi. 22 Man Roster/699,000 Avail in Cap Space with 1.975 1 yr to Dubi, 2 mil 3 yr to Babchuk. Add Parenteau for 23 Man at his 500,000 contract.
August 10, 2009 6:02 PM ET | Delete
Could actually drop Voros' 1,000,000 contract from the above roster ( which I included but didnt actually roster him ) and add either Boullion ( rumored to be signing ) at his 1 mil, or Heikkenens 885 and still have 399 Left under cap.
August 10, 2009 6:03 PM ET | Delete
I'd be good with Babchuk coming to the Rangers. i think his shot from the point would give us two triggermen with Kotalik to help get pucks to the net on the PP. He still ahs some upside as well and he has good size to boot. Not sure what Carolina would want but I'd be willing to ask them.
August 11, 2009 11:36 AM ET | Delete
Zherdev to KHL?! Rumors out of RDS.ca say he has signed on with Salavat Yulayev UFA. The report has not been confirmed, either in NHL News nor KHL News, it is nonetheless probable. There has been little interest in Zherdev since being released due to the type of contract he was seeking. The link below is very brief. (http://translate.google.com/translate?js=y
August 11, 2009 11:36 AM ET | Delete
August 11, 2009 11:36 AM ET | Delete
August 11, 2009 11:37 AM ET | Delete
Sorry about that...it is on RDS.ca, the link is not appearing for some reason.
August 12, 2009 3:34 PM ET | Delete
I don't think that any NHL team will match what the KHL can offer Zherdev. If he had been UFA as of July 1 he probably would have gotten something in the $3.5 - $4 million range but now any team that would have been interested in him is already too close to the cap to make a play.
August 16, 2009 10:25 PM ET | Delete
I guess Sather and Torts did think Prospal would be a good fit.
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