New York Rangers: Latest Trade Rumors, Free Agent News, Post-Draft Buzz
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
The New York Rangers do not sit tight in the off-season.
They don't bide their time and hope for a prospect to come along and turn the team into a juggernaut. Whether you like Rangers general manager Glen Sather or not, he does not sit on his thumbs and play it safe. He makes moves in the off-season that he believes will make his team stronger.
He did that last year when he was able to convince Brad Richards to sign with the Broadway Blueshirts. Richards was the top prize in free agency last year and Sather wanted him. He was able to overcome substantial interest from around the rest of the league -- including a very strong overture from the Toronto Maple Leafs -- and secured Richards' signature to a Rangers contract.
This year, the top prize is Zach Parise of the New Jersey Devils. He has already said publicly that the Rangers are not his team of choice, but don't expect that to cause Sather to run in the opposite direction. The Rangers just might have the deepest pockets, and Parise may feel foolish when free agency begins July 1 if Sather comes at him with the biggest offer.
No matter what goes on with Parise, New York Rangers" href="http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/story/19400940/roster-report">Sather will try to add scoring to a team that has every other attribute needed to win the Stanley Cup.
After Nash Say Goodbye Colombus, Will He Be Broadway Bound?
It may be difficult to meet the Columbus price for Nash.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Rick Nash is a bona fide NHL goal scorer. His resume alone says he would make the New York Rangers a stronger team because of his size, strength, skating ability and his talent for making goaltenders look foolish.
Nash just turned 28 and he has scored 30 or more goals in five straight seasons. That's just what John Tortorella needs to help his team get over the edge. The most likely time to acquire Nash -- at least traditionally -- is on draft day. If the Rangers are going to acquire Nash, they may try to package draft picks with players to get him.
The Rangers remain on the short list of teams that Nash is willing to go to. But the problem is Columbus general manager Flyers have Nash, Ryan on radars" target="_self" href="http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/rangers/big_game_hunting_uZ0GrBW92nvDyTXdFfRpsN">Scott Howson, who does not seem to be realistic in his trade demands. Any of Howson's potential trade partners would seemingly have to gut their roster to acquire Nash. There is no way that Sather is going to cut the heart ouf of his team even if the need for a goal scorer like Nash is strong.
At some point, Howson will realize he is asking for too much and when he comes to that conclusion, calling Sather will be hsi first priority.
Pie in the Sky
If Anaheim is willing to move Bobby Ryan, the Rangers are interested.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
If Rick Nash first prize on the trade front, Bobby Ryan of the Anaheim Ducks is 1A.
Ryan may be a better all-around player than Nash and he has also been a consistent scorer with four straight seasons of 30 goals or more. The problem for the Rangers is that Anaheim would almost certainly ask for Flyers have Nash, Ryan on radars" href="http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/rangers/big_game_hunting_uZ0GrBW92nvDyTXdFfRpsN" target="_self">young and talented players like Chris Kreider or Marc Staal, and they would seem to be non-starters for Glen Sather.
However, as the draft unfolds, deals that may have seemed impossible to make just hours before can sometimes get done if both parties are willing to compromise. No matter how you slice it, the Rangers need scoring. Sather may have to make tough and painful decisions to make that happen.
Bringing Them Back
Backup goalie Martin Biron is vital to the Rangers' success.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
On the surface, it would seem that free-agent backup goalie Martin Biron is one of the least important players on the team that finished first in the Eastern Conference this season. That conclusion would be dramatically incorrect.
Henrik Lundqvist is undoubtedly the team's best and most important player, and is coming off a Vezina Trophy winning season. But when he needs time off, both head coach John Tortorella and Lundqvist know that the net responsibilities are in good hands. If the Rangers let Biron get away, it would impact Lundqvist and his state of mind as well as team chemistry. That's not likely to happen.
The Rangers like free-agent winger Brandon Prust, but he appears to be too expensive for the Rangers' tastes. Prust wants a contract in the range of three years for $6.6 million according to the New York Post, but the Rangers are not interested in paying more than $1.2 million per year. Prust earned $800,000 last season. Prust recently tweeted that he wished Ranger management wanted him as much as the fans seem to want him back.
Forwards Ruslan Fedotenko and John Mitchell may be allowed to test the market. If they left New York, it would not be a major issue. Defenseman Steve Eminger is also a free agent and does not appear to be a vital performer.
Restricted Free Agents
Michael Del Zotto is a difference maker on the Rangers' blue line.
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images
Restricted free agents don't usually move very often, but that doesn't mean it can't happen. Offensive-minded defenseman Michael Del Zotto is a restricted free agent and he would be an attractive player to just about every team.
He is an offensive-minded defenseman who can get his shot away quickly. Del Zotto scored 10 goals and had 31 assists last year and he looks to join the attack whenever he has that opportunity. He has always been viewed as a defenseman with a few liabilities in his own end, but he improved quite a bit in that area as the season progressed.
If Del Zotto receives a significant offer sheet, Sather would almost certainly match it. Losing Del Zotto would be a big blow for the Rangers to overcome. Defensemen Anton Stralman and Stu Bickel as well as forward Mats Zuccarello are also restricted free agents.
Rangers' Top Draft Pick Has "Bomb" from the Point
First-round draft pick Brady Skjei is a superior skater.
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
While the Rangers clearly need more firepower on the offensive end, they added defenseman Brady Skjei with their first-round pick.
Rangers director of player personnel Gord Clark told the New York Post's Larry Brooks that the primary reason they went with Skjei was simple: "Talent."
Skjei's primary attributes are his superior skating ability and his rocket-like shot from the point. Skjei gets leverage and velocity on his slap shot and Clark described it as a "bomb."
Second-round pick Cristoval "Boo" Nieves is another Ranger selection who has impressive skating speed. Nieves is a 6'3" center who has the instincts to develop into a solid player but need to improve his overall goal-scoring talent. Nieves is scheduled to play at Michigan during the upcoming season.
Fourth-round pick Calle Anderson is a tall, rangy defenseman who showed a knack for contributing on the offensive end. He had 9 points in 10 games for Sweden's U-18 team. Fifth-round pick Thomas Spelling is a right wing with a quick shooting release who has shown the ability to score regularly. He had 21 goals last year and this Danish prospect is planning to play in Sweden during the upcoming season