New York Rangers: What to do with center Mika Zibanejad?

New York Rangers’ Mike Zibanejead is entering the final year of his contract with the Blueshirts. His future with the club may be in doubt depending on what the two sides are willing to give up to stay together.

Breaking up is hard to do.

In the case of Mika Zibanejaed and the New York Rangers, the two sides have a small amount of time to figure out what is in the best interest of both camps. Will the New York Rangers sign the pending UFA or ask him to waive his NMC and trade him prior to the NHL trade deadline?

A Little History

Zibanejad, then just 22 years old, was traded by the Ottawa Senators along with a 2018 second-round pick to the Rangers for Derrick Brassard and a 2018 seventh-round pick on July 18, 2016.

The young Swede had just recorded two consecutive 20 goals seasons for the Senators and now was headed to the Big Apple.

It was a trade the Rangers won from the onset. Over the next five seasons, Zibanjead flourished into a leader on the ice. He has played in 323 games in a Rangers sweater compiling 283 points, 136 G, 147 A, emerging into a New York Superstar.

For his career his stats display the improvement coachs’ and organizations strive to attain.  He has played in 604 games for both the Senators and the Rangers and in that time he has scored 200 goals and 4334 points. His best season was in 2018-2019 where he netted 30 goals with 74 points.

Zibanejad is a leader off the ice as well as mentoring the younger players in the locker room, on the road, and in practices.

Yet the question of what he is worth to this team, in a time of flat salary caps and trade rumors, has become a focal point during his offseason.

Contracts, Money, and Loyalty

The Rangers have been in the middle of the Jack Eichel sweepstakes for a few months now. Though no deal has been completed to trade for Eichel, the club has to be looking at what they would need financially to afford Eichel’s high AAV, $10 million for the next four seasons, and what to offer Zibanejad as he approaches a big contract year.

The Rangers have some big contracts to pay over the next several seasons.

Added to the equation is the fact that the club will have six players who will be restricted free agents, Adam Fox, Sam Blais, Vitali Kravtsov, Kappo Kakko, Julien Gauthier, and Alexandar Georgiev.

Zibanejad could ask for what would be considered a “hometown discount”, maybe in the neighborhood of $7 million per year for seven years?  Chris Kreider just signed a seven-year, $45 million contract that has an AAV of  $6.5 million. Zibanejad would want more than that, but how much is too much for the Rangers to payout?

If negotiations start out high and Zibanejad is looking at the $9-10 million per year kind of money, which he probably will, the Rangers won’t have that much time to make a decision should they ask him to waive his NMC.

The Jack Eichel drama has more of an influence on what will happen with Mika Zibanejad this season. If Eichel changes his address to Broadway he and his $10 million would almost certainly force Zibaenjead out the door.

Unless the Rangers think they can work out to have two $10 million dollar contracts without jeopardizing their future.

Touch Decisions

President and GM Chris Drury has to juggle a lot of pucks at one time with every conversation he has with his team and the Buffalo Sabres.

The pieces Drury trade the other way should a deal be completed has to involve talent and salary cap implications.  The best way to balance out some of the salary cap issues would be to move a player or players that would free up some space at the same time.

Ryan Strome’s name has been mentioned recently.  It makes sense as he also is a UFA after this season.

All of this has been ongoing without really knowing (we assume) what Zibanejad is looking for on his next contract.

Building a competitive team has plenty of components.  The hardest one to predict is where the GM believes his team will be two or three years from today. Transactions made now will influence how the team looks later on, but one thing is certain.

The future of the organization may be riding on a center hitting the prime of his career in Zibanejad and a gamble on a center who still needs surgery with a lot of potential in Jack Eichel.

New York Rangers: Igor Shesterkin decides not to file for arbitration as deadline passes

New York Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin was not in the group of 17 players who filed for salary arbitration that was announced on Sunday evening.

The New York Ranger’s lone restricted free agent with arbitration rights, Igor Shesterkin, did not file for salary arbitration per an announcement that was put out on Twitter by the NHLPA on Sunday night.

The process of arbitration as per CapFriendly.com is as follows;

  • Salary arbitration is a contract negotiation method that uses a third-party arbitrator 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, as shown in the list below.
    • Eligibility for salary arbitration is dependent on entry-level signing age, and professional experience (CBA Reference 12.1 (a)):
      • 18-20: 4 years professional experience.
      • 21: 3 years professional experience.
      • 22-23: 2 years professional experience.
      • 24 and older: 1-year of professional experience.

      Signing age is the age the player is on September 15 of the year they signed their contract unless they turn 20 from September 16-December 31, in which case they are considered 20.

      A player is considered to have completed a year of professional experience if:
      1. The player is aged 18 or 19 and has played 10 or more NHL games in the respective season
      2. The player is aged 20 or older and has played 10 games in a professional league, while under an NHL SPC.
      Due to the 2019-20 season being shortened by COVID, a pro-rating for the professional games requirement was applied as follows:
      1. If the player is aged 18 or 19 and is considered a Covid Roster Freeze Player, the 10 games requirement was pro-rated to 9 games (pro-rating of 70/82).
      2. If the player is aged 20 or older, the 10 games requirement was pro-rated to 9 games (pro-rating of 70/82).
      Due to the 2020-21 season being shortened, the professional games requirement was pro-rated to 7 games (56/82).

    The list of players who filed for arbitration are;

    Nikita Zadorov CGY
    Dennis Gilbert COL
    Adam Erne DET
    Jakub Vrana DET
    Michael McNiven MTL
    Dante Fabbro NSH
    Juuse Saros NSH
    Adam Pelech NYI
    Victor Mete OTT
    Zach Aston-Reese PIT
    Vince Dunn SEA
    Adin Hill SJS
    Zach Sanford STL
    Ross Colton TBL
    Jason Dickinson VAN
    Andrew Copp WPG
    Neal Pionk WPG

    The deadline for club-elected salary arbitration notification is Aug. 2 at 5 p.m. ET. Hearings will be held from Aug. 11-26.

A Deal May Be Close

The mere fact that Shesterkin avoided filing for arbitration is a good sign for both sides. The decision indicates that Shestterkin’s camp and the Rangers are having fruitful discussions that are leading towards a new deal being completed.

Since he was called up to New York, Shesterkin has appeared in 47 games compiling a record of 26-16-3 with a 2.59 GAA.

The 25-year-old was handed the torch from fan-favorite Henrik Lundqvist when the 2020-’21 season concluded.  He has a tough start to this past season, but eventually found his way out of his slump ending the season with a  12-2-7 record in his final 22 games.

 

Rangers add toughness, sign Ryan Reaves in trade with Vegas Golden Knights

New York Rangers President and General Manager Chris Drury announced today that the team has acquired forward Ryan Reaves from the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.

The New York Rangers solved their lack of toughness and grit when they traded for Ryan Reaves from the Vegas  Golden Knights on Thursday night. The Blueshirts sent a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft for the 34-year old forward.

Reaves skated in 37 games with Vegas this past season, registering one goal and four assists for five points, along with 27 penalty minutes. He led the NHL (min. 20 games played) in hits per 60 minutes of ice time in 2020-21 (23.02), and he also led the Golden Knights in hits (141) this past season. Reaves skated in 12 games during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs while helping the Golden Knights advance to the Semifinals.

The 6-2, 225-pounder has skated in 686 career NHL games over parts of 11 seasons (2010-11 – 2020-21) with St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Vegas, registering 49 goals and 52 assists for 101 points, along with 937 penalty minutes. Since the start of his first NHL season in 2010-11, Reaves ranks third in the NHL in hits (2,322), ranks seventh in the NHL in major penalties (75), and ranks eighth in the league in penalty minutes. He has averaged at least 20 hits per 60 minutes of ice time in each of his 11 NHL seasons, and he led the NHL in hits in back-to-back seasons in 2018-19 (305) and 2019-20 (316). Reaves has helped his team advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of the last 10 seasons, and he has skated in 84 postseason games in his NHL career. He helped Vegas advance to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017-18, and he also helped the Golden Knights advance to at least the third round of the playoffs in three of his four seasons with the team. Reaves was coached by current Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant for parts of three seasons with Vegas (2017-18 – 2019-20). (per NYR PR Department).

The Winnipeg, Manitoba native was originally selected by St. Louis in the fifth round, 156th overall, of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

Reaves has one year remaining on his contract with an AAV of $1.75 million. He will be a UFA at the conclusion of the next season.

New York Rangers: GM Chris Drury needs to consider Gabriel Landeskog

The NHL’s free agency is set to begin on Wednesday, New York Rangers general manager Chris Drury needs to consider the biggest fish in the pond, Colorados’ Gabriel Landeskog.

The New York Rangers have been making adjustments to their roster over the last 14 days. They have traded Brett Howden and Pavel Buchnevich while acquiring Barclay Goodrow. They completed their NHL draft with players built for the future.

On Wednesday, the start of the free agency period, the team has the opportunity to recruit the best player available on the market, Gabriel Landeskog.

The 28-year-old has played his entire 10-year career for the Colorado Avalanche. The 2011-’12 Calder Trophy winner ( Rookie of the Year) was named captain of the team in 2012 becoming the youngest captain in NHL history.

An End To An Incredible Career

Landeskog’s stats in Colorado displayed his hard work and will to win while wearing the “C” on his chest. While appearing in 687 games, he recorded 512 points which included 218 goals. At the face-off dot, he has won 53% of the draws he has taken.

Last season in 54 games, he netted 20 goals with 52 points while winning 56.6% of the face-offs he had the opportunity to take. The Stockholm, Sweden native has had a 50% or better face-off winning percentage in every season since 2017-2018.

Understanding that Landeskog is normally a left-wing, his skill and success at the center position and on draws, in general, would absolutely help the Blueshirts with puck possession.

The center position has been a topic of conversation with the Blueshirts for several seasons. Chris Drury has addressed the situation twice this offseason. The first time when he traded for Goodrow and then at the expansion draft when he elected to protect Kevin Rooney and expose Colin Blackwell. Blackwell was selected by the Seattle Kraken subsequently.

Failure To Sign In Colorado

His current contract ended at the end of this NHL season. It was a seven-year deal worth $39 million and included an NMC clause in the final three years.

Landeskog is probably looking for $6 million a year for six years.  The question is are the Rangers willing to make that kind of commitment?  A signing of this magnitude could be detrimental to future signings of players such as Alexis Lafreniere, Kappo Kakko, Mika Zibanejad, and Igor Shesterkin.

The club has been intrigued with the possibility of making a trade with the Buffalo Sabres for Jack Eichel. Eichel is four years younger than Landeskog, but signing him would save the Rangers a decision of who to give up in a trade with Buffalo.

Salary wise, the Rangers would be better off signing the Avalanche captain.  The team would be able to work out a deal with Landeskog that fits better into the salary cap structure as opposed to trading for Eichel who has four years remaining on his contract with an AAV of $10 million.

Let’s not forget the almost certain neck surgery Eichel is anticipating having which could see him missing the first three to four months of the season.

Chris Drury has had a rocky start to this offseason in the opinion of many throughout the Rangers Twitterverse. Though most do not know what the GM’s plans are, one thing is certain. The Blueshirts need to acquire a string center who can win faceoffs and contribute on the scoresheet.

Landeskog checks all the boxes on the team’s punch list. If he gets to free agency on Wednesday, the Rangers need to jump on this opportunity.

Rangers buyout defenseman Anthony DeAngelo (Report)

Anthony deangelo

The New York Rangers to buy out the contract of defenseman Anthony DeAngelo.

The worse kept secret is about to become reality as the New York Rangers are beginning the process to buy out the contract of defenseman Anthony DeAngelo.

Frank Seravalli Tweeted the the club would be behind the process to buyout DeAngelo by placing him on waivers.

He played his final game for the Blueshirts on Jan.30 in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

There were several incidents throughout the early part of the season that had DeAngelo in the crosshairs of the organization.  The Sewell, NJ native was benched for two games by former head coach David Quinn after he incurred an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty for slamming the penalty box door and yelling at referees late in an opening-night loss to the Islanders.

He was warned by then-GM Jeff Gorton that if there were further issues, “the time is going to come where we’re going to put you on waivers and move on.”

DeAngelo was acquired in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes along with a first-round pick for Antti Ranta and Derek Stepan.

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, Barclay Goodrow close to agreeing on new contract

The New York Rangers and center Barclay Goodrow appear to be close to agreeing to a new contract that will keep the recently acquired player off the free-agent market.

Reports have been circulating that the New York Rangers are nearing a deal with Barclay Goodrow. The 28-year-old is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent on July 28. The two-time Stanley Cup Champion was acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday for a seventh-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

“We’ve talked,” Rangers general manager Chris Drury said to NHL.com’s Mike Zeisberger on Monday. “We’re making progress but nothing to report now. But I don’t anticipate any issues getting him under contract.”

The Rangers have been in desperate need to find a center after this season’s struggle at the position.  Goodrow has won 52% of the draws he has taken in his career that spans seven seasons in the NHL.

In this year’s post-season, he won 52 of the face-offs he took(40%).

GM Chris Drury Likes His Versatility

General  Manager Chris Drury likes what Goodrow brings to the rink every night as he recognized his string game on the ice.

“I think he’s pretty versatile,” Drury said. “I could see him do all different things for Gerard, whether that’s more time in the middle, whether it’s face-offs in the [defensive] zone. But we think he’s got a pretty complete game. He’s going be able to help a lot of different areas.

“He’s a guy that we targeted and obviously went out and made a deal with Tampa early to get a jump on it.”

The 6′-2 203lb native of Toronto, Ontario will fit in the lineup and should be a huge asset to head coach Gerad Gallant he looks to bring an in-your-face, hard to play against game to Broadway.

In his career in the NHL Goodrow has scored 93 points (32 goals, 61 assists) in 331 regular-season games with the Lightning and San Jose Sharks, and 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 65 playoff games. The Lightning acquired him from the Sharks on Feb. 24, 2020.

The Rangers may have a deal in place with Goodrow, but can not make a formal announcement until Thursday, the day after the Seattle NHL Expansion Draft.

Rangers protected list inlcudes Kevin Rooney, exposes Colin Blackwell

The New York Rangers protected list has been released for the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft which will be held on July 21.

The New York Rangers had one player who surprisingly made their protected list. Kevin Rooney will be protected which means Colin Blackwell will be exposed for Wednesday’s draft.

The Details

Here is the list announced this morning.

Barclay Goodrow is not being protected based on Frank Seravalli’s tweet.  This should be of no surprise as it would be a risky pick for the Kraken to select a UFA with one of their selections. The Washington Capitals did the same thing with superstar UFA Alex Ovechkin.

Julien Gauthier, outcast defenseman Anthony DeAngelo, and goalie Keith are the players along with Blackwell that is on the exposed list.

The New York Rangers confirmed list by the NHL of all players exposed and protected is listed below

Available
Colin Blackwell (F)
Jonny Brodzinski (F)
Phillip Di Giuseppe (F)
Gabriel Fontaine (F)
Julien Gauthier (F)
Tim Gettinger (F)
Barclay Goodrow (F)
Anthony Greco (F)
Ty Ronning (F)
Anthony Bitetto (D)
Brandon Crawley (D)
Tony DeAngelo (D)
Nick DeSimone (D)
Mason Geertsen (D)
Jack Johnson (D)
Darren Raddysh (D)
Brendan Smith (D)
Keith Kinkaid (G)

Protected
Pavel Buchnevich (F)
Filip Chytil (F)
Chris Kreider (F)
Artemi Panarin (F)
Kevin Rooney (F)
Ryan Strome (F)
Mika Zibanejad (F)
Libor Hajek (D)
Ryan Lindgren (D)
Jacob Trouba (D)
Alexandar Georgiev (G)

The NHL Expansion protected/exposed team-by-team list.

Rangers acquire Barclay Goodrow from Tampa Bay, trade Howden to Vegas

New York Rangers President and General Manager Chris Drury announced today that the team has made two trades acquiring forward Barclay Goodrow from the Tampa Bay Lightning and sending Brett Howden to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Barclay Goodrow, who will become an unrestricted free agent on July 28, won the Stanley Cup with lightning last week.  The 28-year-old 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 also recorded six points (two goals, four assists) in 18 playoff games.

In the deal with Tampa Bay, the Blueshirts sent a seventh-round draft pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. 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. The Toronto, Ontario native is a two-time Stanley Cup Champion, as he helped the Lightning win the Stanley Cup in back-to-back seasons (2019-20 and 2020-21).

Brett Howden Traded To The Vegas Golden Knights

In a separate transaction, GM Chris Drury sent 23-year-old Brent Howden to the Vegas Golden Knights for defenseman prospect Nick DeSimone and a fourth-round pick in the 2022 draft.

Howden skated in 178 games over three seasons with the Rangers, registering 16 goals and 33 assists for 49 points, along with 53 penalty minutes.

DeSimone skated in 22 American Hockey League (AHL) games this past season with the San Jose Barracuda and Rochester Americans, registering 11 assists and four penalty minutes.

 

New York Rangers: Kaapo Kakko confirms he had Coronavirus, looks for more responsibility in upcoming season

New York Rangers F Kappo Kakko confirmed to Finnish news outlet YLE.Fi that he had Covid-19 last season.

In a recent interview with Finland’s national public broadcasting company, YLE.FI, New York Rangers forward Kaapo Kakko confirmed that he was infected with COVID-19 last season.

Kakko says that he himself had a corona.

 Everyone had Corona and was anesthetized to play against the same teams all the time, says Kakko.

YLE.FI

Improving His Game

Kakko finished the season with nine goals and 17 points. he would have liked to have scored more points, but he was happy with the season.

Of course you would like more points. When I played in Finland, then it worked. Now a few seasons have been a little quieter. I am pleased with last season. I was able to improve my game. Personally, I think that points are starting to come and I’m going to take  [more] responsibility.

The team’s number one selection (2nd overall)  in the 2019 NHL Draft has been working out in Turku, Finnland going to the gym and running.  He will begin his on-ice program in a few weeks once his new equipment arrives.

For now, he will look to tackle the Stairs of Moon Mountain which he said was a must on his workout program.

New Coach

The hiring of new head coach Gerard Gallant gives the club some fresh energy with the same expectations of making the playoffs next season. Kakko hopes to be one of the stars that can get the team to the postseason in search of the elusive Stanley Cup.

For now, he will take it a day at a time in his home country enjoying his time with family and friends before the grind of an 82 game NHL season resumes beginning with training camp in September.