New York Rangers: News, Notes & Rumors

The New York Rangers had a busy day following the NHL Expansion Draft as they announced the signing of center Barclay Goodrow.

 New York Rangers President and General Manager Chris Drury announced Wednesday that the team has agreed to terms with Barclay Goodrow on a six-year contract. The contract is for $21.85 million with an AAV of $3.641.667 million (Per CapFriendly.com). The deal also includes a 15 team no-trade clause.

Goodrow, 28, skated in 55 games with Tampa Bay this past season, registering six goals and 14 assists for 20 points, along with a plus-16 rating and 52 penalty minutes. He established a career-high in plus/minus rating in 2020-21, and he led the Lightning in plus/minus rating during the season.

The 6-2, 203-pounder has skated in 331 career NHL games over parts of seven seasons (2014-15 – 2020-21) with San Jose and Tampa Bay, registering 32 goals and 61 assists for 93 points, along with a plus-13 rating and 304 penalty minutes. Goodrow is a two-time Stanley Cup Champion, as he helped the Lightning win the Stanley Cup in back-to-back seasons in 2019-20 and 2020-21. He established career-highs in several categories in 2019-20, including goals (eight), assists (18), points (26), average ice time (15:55), and hits (162). Goodrow has recorded at least 100 hits in each of the last three seasons (Via NYRPR).

Schedule Release

The National Hockey League also announced its schedule for the upcoming 2021-2022 season. The Blueshirts will begin their 95th NHL season with a back-to-back set on Wednesday, Oct. 13 against the Washington Capitals at Washington and on Thursday, Oct. 14 against the Dallas Stars at Madison Square Garden.

The Blueshirts will play their first all-time game against the Seattle Kraken on Sunday, Oct. 31 at Seattle. In addition, New York will host Seattle for the first time on Sunday, Jan. 30 at MSG. The Blueshirts will play nine of their first 12 games this season, as well as 14 of their first 21 games this season, on the road. The Rangers will conclude the season with 10 of their final 14 games at MSG (and with their four road games during the stretch at New Jersey, Philadelphia, NY Islanders, and Boston).

Rumors

The NHL Entry Draft is slated for Friday night where the Rangers are scheduled to have the 15th pick in the first round. They should actually be selected 16thm but the Arizona Coyotes do not have a first-round pick, so they will move to position 15.

As of Wednesday night, the club has not announced any trades that would change their selection, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been plenty of rumors about what may happen prior to the draft.

Frank Seravalli reported some news that caught many fan’s attention in his Ice Breakers column for Dailyfaceoff.com

-Sources said the Kraken were underwhelmed with the options at center presented in the Expansion Draft, so they may pursue bulking up at the position via the trade market. Ryan Strome has been linked to the Kraken. Would Strome make any sense in Vegas, who is also looking for centers?

-The Rangers have attempted to move arbitration-eligible RFA Pavel Buchnevich for weeks now. New York has been seeking a suitor for goaltender Alexandar Georgiev. The ask is believed to be a first-round pick. It’s unlikely Georgiev, who is also seeking a fresh start, will fetch that price.

Jack Eichel trade has picked up some steam over the last 24 hours. Are the Rangers the leading contender to acquire Jack Eichel? Sources say the Rangers have quietly checked with each of the teams holding a pick inside the Top 10 of Friday’s Draft, inquiring about the price to acquire it.  The belief is the Rangers would like to package that pick in a transaction for Eichel, as the Sabres are reportedly seeking another lottery-range pick to go with their No. 1 overall selection.

The last interesting report for Seravalli involved some current Vegas Golden Knights. Is Gerard Gallant Gerard interested in attempting to pluck one of Jonathan Marchessault or Reilly Smith out of Vegas? Both are available.

Brendan Smith To Test Free Agency

Rangers beat reporter Larry Brooks reported that the Rangers and defensemen Brendan Smith will part ways with Smith testing free agency on July 28.

Smith has been with the Blueshirts for the past five seasons and became one of the leaders of the team this past season on and off the ice. This is of no surprise as Smith is expected to get a long-term deal offered to him.

MSG Network To Offer Live Programming

MSG Networks announced on Thursday special programming to get fans ready for all the upcoming action.

The live draft and free agency coverage on MSG Networks will kick-off with an “NHL Draft Special” on Friday, July 23rd from 9:00-10:00 pm ET, featuring real-time updates and analysis from Rangers host John Giannone, Rangers analyst Dave Maloney, Devils host Erika Wachter and Devils analyst Bryce Salvador. The crew will recap the Devils 4th overall selection, as well as provide immediate reaction to the Rangers’ pick at 15. They will also preview the rest of the opening round, including the Devils’ additional first-round selection at 28.

On Wednesday, July 28th, John Giannone and Erika Wachter will be joined by Rangers analyst Steve Valiquette, Islanders host Shannon Hogan, Islanders analyst Butch Goring and Devils analyst Ken Daneyko for a live “NHL Free Agency.

Rangers’ Chris Drury preparing for first encounter with UFA’s & RFA’s as GM

President and GM Chris Drury has been a factor in the decision-making process of signing free agents in the past.  This season is a bit different as he now is the man who makes the final decision for the New York Rangers.

The New York Rangers are going to have some tough decisions to make when the 2020-2021 season officially concludes in July.

Unrestricted free agents along with restricted free agents are the keys to improving a hockey team.  Every decision is crucial to the organization and involves research and some luck in order to make the right moves to be a successful team.

The Rangers go through this every season as do most NHL teams, but this time around they are lead by a rookie GM with plenty of risk on the line.

RFA’s and UFA’s

A quick review of the team’s status via CapFriendly.com shows the hard work Drury has ahead of him. The decisions of who and how much to offer a player are hard enough, added to the equation is the Seattle Expansion draft, the NHL Draft, and the beginning of the free-agent signing period.

UFA

The Blueshirts have three unrestricted free agents on their roster. UFA’s are free to shop for other teams or negotiate with their current clubs.  The Rangers have no rights for these players once their contracts expire.

Philip Di Giuseppe, Brendan Smith, and Jack Johnson qualify as UFA’s at the end of this season.

RFA’s

Restricted free agents are players who have their contract expire but the club still retains their rights to play. Filip Chytil, Julien Gauthier, Brett Howden, and Libr Hajek are RFA’s at the end of this season.

There are also Arbitration Eligible restricted free agents. Here a third-party arbitrator is used to determine a fair contract term and length for an expiring RFA player. Arbitration can be requested if a player meets the following conditions (CBA Reference 12.1 (b)):

  • The player qualifies as a Restricted Free Agent (RFA).
  • The player has not signed an offer sheet.
  • The player has met the required professional years of experience. (via CapFriendly.com)

The Rangers have two players who qualify for this section, Pavel Buchnevich, and Igor Shesterkin.

Buchnevich signed a two-year, $6.5 million deal in July of 2019.  His AAV was $3.25 million for each of the last two seasons.

Shesterkin signed a two-year, $7.75 million dollar entry-level contract that was loaded with bonuses in May of 2019.

Decisions, Decisions

Let’s start with the no-brainer, the team will absolutely re-sign Shesterkin.  He had the torch handed to him from the Henrik Lundqvist era and though he struggled at points this season he will be the man between the pipes for years to come.  The numbers will work themselves out one way or another.

Buchnvevich is a tough one, I’d anticipate this situation at least being scheduled for an arbitration hearing.  Buch is coming off a strong year that saw him score 20 goals with 48 points in 54 games.  He became a leader on the ice as was evident in the Tom Wilson fiasco where he was punched in the back of the head, the picked himself up to defend Artemi Panarin in the same play.

He will be looking for a long-term deal that will end with him being an unrestricted free agent. How much and for how many years will be the result of a long and most likely uncomfortable process.

Brendan Smith is the most compelling story to tell. A few seasons ago he was in the AHL with Hartford and ended the season injured after having a fight in practice with a teammate.  Fast forward to this season and he has become a player the kids look up to on and off the ice.

He played different positions with David Quinn as his coach while becoming a valuable and trusted player on the ice.

Now the problem changes from do they want to re-sign him to how can the club re-sign him now. Plenty of teams will be inquiring about his service offering more money and more years than the Rangers may be willing to offer.

His time with the club is most likely over. It would be hard to offer a big contract to a defenseman who will be a third-pair player.  He is probably ranked sixth out of the six defensive spots behind Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren, Jacob Trouba, and K’Andre Miller.

Trades, signings, or re-signings are how teams succeed or fail in today’s NHL. Drury needs to have a solid game plan for his first go-around or the teams can find themselves out of the playoffs next April. A scenario this club would prefer to go through again.

New York Rangers Announce Ryan Lindgren Extension and Team Awards

Chris Drury has started to assemble the New York Rangers for next season by agreeing to terms with defenseman Ryan Lindgren on a three-year contract. The contract is reported to be at the $3 million AAV.

The 23-year-old Lindgren skated in 51 games with the Rangers this season. He registered one goal and 15 assists for 16 points, along with a plus-20 rating and 35 penalty minutes.

He was one of only three Rangers who recorded 90 or more hits and 50 or more blocked shots this season. At the time he suffered an upper-body injury on Apr. 29, Lindgren was one of only four Rangers (and the only defenseman) who played in each of the team’s first 51 games of the 2020-21 season. He ranked second on the Rangers in average shorthanded ice time this season (2:30), and he currently ranks fifth in the NHL (min. 115:00 of shorthanded ice time) in power-play goals against per 60 minutes of shorthanded ice time in 2020-21 (4.22). Lindgren was not on the ice for a power-play goal against in 20 consecutive games from Jan. 24 at Pittsburgh to Mar. 9 at Pittsburgh (51:30 of shorthanded ice time over the span).

Lindgren also receives a team award from the New York Rangers

The New York Rangers also announced their team award winners for the 2020-21 season today. Adam Fox was named the Rangers’ Most Valuable Player, Lindgren was named the recipient of the Players’ Player Award, and Brendan Smith was named the winner of the John Halligan Good Guy Award.

The Players’ Player Award in 2020-21, which is given annually to the Ranger who, as selected by his teammates, “best exemplifies what it means to be a team player.” Lindgren established career-highs in several categories in 2020-21, including assists, points, plus/minus rating, and hits (98), and he led the team in plus/minus rating this season.

The Most Valuable Player Award was voted on by members of the New York Rangers media and has been given annually since the conclusion of the 1941-42 season. Fox has won the award for the first time in his career. He is the first Ranger who has won the award in one of his first two seasons in the NHL since Henrik Lundqvist in 2006-07, and the first Rangers skater who has done so since Brian Leetch in 1988-89. Fox, who also won the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award in 2020-21, became the seventh Ranger to be named the Team’s MVP (as chosen by the media) and to receive the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award (as chosen by the fans) since 1987-88, which was the first year the Steven McDonald Extra Award was presented.

The John Halligan Good Guy Award recognizes a player for their cooperation with the media throughout the season. The award has been presented annually since the 1974-75 season and was renamed in 2009-10 to honor the team’s late public relations director. The award recipient is chosen by members of the media who cover the Rangers throughout the season.

Smith skated in 48 games with the Rangers this season, registering five goals and five assists for 10 points, along with a plus-three rating and 73 penalty minutes. He established a career-high in penalties drawn (25) and tied his career-high in goals this season, and he leads NHL defensemen in penalties drawn in 2020-21. The Rangers posted a 25-19-4 record in the 48 games that Smith played this season.

 

 

New York Rangers Overcome Sluggish Start to Defeat the Sabres

Igor Shesterkin made 36 saves, and the New York Rangers keep pace in the East Division playoff race with a 3-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres.

In the playoff race, the Rangers are still four points behind the Bruins, who defeated the Penguins on Tuesday night. However, the Blueshirts are now just five points behind the New York Islanders, who fell to Washington. The Rangers and Islanders play in a home-and-home series on Thursday and Saturday.

Brendan Smith put the Rangers in front 1-0 at 2:22 of the second period. The Sabres tied the game on a Sam Reinhart goal.

Alexis Lafreniere broke a tie in the third period for the Rangers, who won their third straight to sweep the two-game series.

Mika Zibanejad extended the lead to 3-1 on a power play at 13:49 of the third period.

Ryan Strome picked up two assists in the game, which gave him his 300th career NHL point.

With Zibanejad’s goal, the Rangers are the only NHL team that has five players (Artemi Panarin, Adam Fox, Mika Zibanejad, Pavel Buchnevich and Ryan Strome) who have recorded at least 44 points in 2020-21.

Lafreniere nets game-winner to help keep the New York Rangers in the playoff race.

Lafreniere talked about his game-winning goal during his post-game interview. “It was a great forecheck by our line. Stromer made a nice pass and I just tried to shoot it as quick as I could and was lucky enough to go in. Great play by my linemates.”

Per the NHL Public Relations, Lafrenière is the fifth teenager who has recorded 10+ goals in a season in Ranger history.

“The fact that we won six games from the Devils and Sabres is no small feat”, head coach David Quinn said in his post-game Zoom conference. “It’s the National Hockey League and it is not easy to beat teams.”

On the Lafreniere goal, Quinn said, “It was important that he scored that goal because of the circumstances. He’s really played well lately. He’s played really well in the last month. People have made a big deal about his stats earlier in the season but he has had a really good rookie year.”

The Rangers have won nine of their last 11 home games and have also earned at least one point in 11 of its last 13 home games.

 

 

The New York Rangers are Silent at the Trade Deadline…Which is just fine

With the NHL trade deadline come and gone, the New York Rangers have decided to stand pat with the cards they have at the table. There was not a lot of trade buzz around the Rangers, as the expectation was that the Blueshirts were very content with their roster unless something was offered that was too good to pass up.

Per the New York Rangers twitter, GM Jeff Gorton said: “We made a number of calls, took a number of calls, went through a number of scenarios, and it’s clear we have a plan in place. Nothing that came along was going to add to what we wanted to do and was something we felt was going to help us, short term or long term.”

One of the Blueshirts that many thought might be traded was defenseman Brendan Smith. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and will probably not be on the Ranger’s roster next season.

Smith talked about the possibility in his post-game Zoom conference after Sunday night’s game. I mean, I know, I’m not oblivious to it,” said Smith. “But I want to be here. I want to help this team win. I love being a Ranger. They are a good group of guys, and I want to help them win. I want to help these younger guys get to that next level. I want to be here.”

At least for now, Smith will get his wish and stay in New York as the young Blueshirts make a run at qualifying for the NHL playoffs.

What will go on with the New York Rangers after the trade deadline has passed?

After Monday afternoon, the Rangers can make four recalls from Hartford, plus any emergency recalls they may need. Also, the 23-man roster limit goes away after the deadline. During this COVID-19 year, the taxi squad continues to remain in play.

One of the implications of this is that Morgan Barron could be called up soon. Barron leads the Wolf Pack in scoring with eight goals and seven assists in 15 games.

In addition, Frank Seravalli of TSN has reported that the Rangers are close to signing third-round pick Zac Jones, who is coming off winning an NCAA championship with UMass. Seravalli also reported that he will join the Rangers after going through COVD-19 protocols.

“He’s had a terrific college career so far,”  Quinn said about Jones recently. “He’s someone I’m a little bit familiar with, watching him play before he got to UMass. He certainly has been a very, very good player there, and we think very highly of him as an organization.”

Meanwhile, the Rangers will face the New Jersey Devils, a team that has just traded three key players at the deadline. Today, the Devils traded Dmitry Kulikov to Edmonton for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2022. They also lost Sami Vatanen off waivers to the Dallas Stars. Last Wednesday, the Devils sent Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri to the New York Islanders.

The youngest team in the NHL is just about ready to get some lessons on the NHL playoff chase. Recently, those young players have stepped up and played well. In Sunday night’s loss to the Islanders, four of the six Rangers who tallied a point in the second period are 23 years old or younger. Three of those players are 21 years old or younger.

Playoff school is now in session, with the first-class starting on Tuesday night in New Jersey.

 

 

 

Resilient New York Rangers win in a shootout over the Philadelphia Flyers

New York Rangers, Alexandar Georgiev

The New York Rangers did not get the offensive explosion they were hoping for but solid defense and goaltending were enough to lead the Blueshirts to a 3-2 shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.

After giving a goal in the first 59 seconds of the game, Colin Blackwell‘s power-play goal in the second period tied it up. It was the first power-play goal of his NHL career. Blackwell has tallied a goal in two consecutive games for the first time in his NHL career. He has recorded five points (three goals, two assists) in seven games with the Rangers.

The Rangers took the lead in the third period on Brendan Smith‘s first goal of the season but the Flyers tied it up when Joel Farabee punched in a shot during a scramble in front of the Ranger’s net.

The Rangers defense was stellar on the night as they only allowed the Flyers to get 22 shots and killed all five of the Flyer’s power-play attempts.

The Flyers played their first game after 11 days off due to players being placed on the COVID-19 protocol. Claude Giroux, Travis Konecny, Scott Laughton, Oskar Lindblom, Jakub Voracek, and Justin Braun were out. None of the six will make the trip to Lake Tahoe on Sunday for Philadelphia’s outdoor game against Boston.

Alexandar Georgiev stopped two of the three Flyer’s attempts in the shootout and had 20 saves on the night. This was Georgiev’s third straight overtime game.

The New York Rangers were pleased with their resiliency

In his post-game press conference, Smith talked about how the Rangers did not get down after the Flyers scored late in the third period. “I think we didn’t break. I think with a lot of younger teams that they will break after giving up the tying goal. It was good resilience and a good effort. We really needed that.”

Artemi Panarin said after the game that “Today we played better and after the second goal against it was great that the team didn’t give up. It was a big win for us”

In his post-game Zoom conference, head coach David Quinn talked about how proud he was of his team. “I’m very proud. This has been a tough go for us and losing can wear on you. I don’t care how we needed to do it, I don’t care how pretty it looked, I don’t care how it came to fruition we needed two points and we got two points.”

The Rangers will be back in action on Saturday afternoon when they travel to Washington to face the Capitals with a 12:30 p.m. puck drop.

 

 

 

 

New York Rangers Brass Keeping Their Poker Faces On as Trade Deadline Nears

New York Rangers

The New York Ranger’s management team appears to heed the words of the legendary Kenny Rogers song The Gambler which includes the lyrics “know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, and know when to walk away.” With the NHL trade deadline approaching on Feb. 24, the Rangers have been very patient when it comes to whether to trade or keep many of their pending free agents. Sitting in their hand right now, ready to be dealt or held, are these five players: Chris Kreider, Alexandar Georgiev, Jesper Fast, Ryan Strome, and Tony DeAngelo.

The New York Rangers have an Ace in Chris Kreider

Insiders are referring to this trade season as a “buyer’s market”, meaning that teams wanting players may not have to give up as much with many teams looking to move players. However, these insiders are also stating that Kreider may be the exception to this, as his skillset and playoff experience has had many Stanley Cup contenders taking a good look at him. There is also some speculation that the Rangers may still want to sign him. All of this makes Kreider their most valuable trade chip.

Rangers’ top brass have been very patient with Georgiev

Alexandar Georgiev has been the goaltender that most thought would be traded after Igor Shesterkin was called up in early January. However, the Rangers did not panic and trade Georgiev for nothing despite the increased media and social media coverage that they have endured about their three goalie situation. The Rangers are holding out for what they perceive as value and will not move him until they get what they want.

Jesper Fast’s fate seems tied to Kreider

In this market, it seems that if Kreiders stays, Fast will go. If Kreider gets traded, the Rangers will probably try to keep and re-sign the forward.  It does not appear that the Rangers can keep both and stay under the salary cap next year.

The Restricted Free-Agent Conundrum

We detailed Tony DeAngelo and Ryan Strome’s issues for the Blueshirts in a previous article, so we won’t go into a lot of detail. However, it seems that DeAngelo may be the most likely to go as there seem to be more teams looking for defensive help, and the Rangers have quite a few capable defensive prospects in their system. The other RFA that we did not talk about much is Brendan Lemieux, but because he is a bit cap friendly in a position where the Rangers are not all that deep, he is not likely to move.

The New York Rangers have a few Wildcards

Brendan Smith ($4.35 million) and Pavel Buchnevich ($3.25 million) have been mentioned so the Rangers could free up valuable cap space. Brady Skjei is also a possibility, again as cap help and that there appear to be more teams looking for blueline help. Finally, the Rangers still have the Lias Andersson mess to deal with, and a trade deal either by himself or with one of the above players could put that to an end. The Rangers have many cards to play and February will be a busy month for Rangers management.