Latest Rangers Speculation – March 19, 2018

Latest Rangers Speculation – March 19, 2018

Could the New York Rangers pursue Erik Karlsson or Ilya Kovalchuk this summer? Read on for the latest in your NHL rumor mill.

 NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis noted there’s been some speculation over the possibility of the New York Rangers pursuing Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson this summer via trade, perhaps by the 2018 NHL Draft (June 22-23) in Dallas. However, he dismissed that notion, suggesting a hefty contract extension for Karlsson wouldn’t fit into the Rangers’ rebuilding plan. Cyrgalis doesn’t see much upside in trading prime assets to acquire the Senators’ superstar blueliner and expressed concern over Karlsson’s “limited explosiveness” this season, the result of a late start to the season owing to recovery from offseason heel surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers are committed to a rebuild. While they might consider adding one or two short-term veteran options, I don’t believe they’ll seriously consider pursuing a trade this summer for Karlsson. The cost in assets and in retaining him beyond next season isn’t worth it. 

Could the New York Rangers pursue former NHL winger Ilya Kovalchuk this summer? (Photo via NHL.com)

Cyrgalis’ colleague Larry Brooks believes the Rangers should pursue former NHL winger Ilya Kovalchuk when he become eligible for unrestricted free agent status on July 1. Brooks feels their young players would benefit from a veteran leader such as Kovalchuk, citing Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur recently calling the Russian sniper ” one of the best teammates I’ve ever had.” Brodeur believes the Russian star be a good addition to whatever NHL club signs him this summer. Brooks acknowledged Kovalchuk could seek more than a one- or two-year contract, but noted the Rangers “refreshed feeder system” is lacking goal scorers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks also said the St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers could also pursue Kovalchuk this summer. Still, there’s been suggestions he might prefer playing in New York. If so, the Rangers would be the front-runners for his services. Even on a three-year contract, if his cap hit isn’t extravagant they could be willing to bring him aboard to provide experience and perhaps mentor some of their promising young players. 

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Rick Carpiniello was asked about the chances of the Rangers signing New York Islanders center John Tavares this summer. While agreeing Tavares would accelerate the Blueshirts’ rebuilding efforts, he’s doubtful the Isles captain would leave one rebuilding club to join another. 

Carpiniello doubted the Rangers can re-sign all of their restricted free agents. He suggested one or more could be shopped at or before the draft. He also thinks they could shop veteran winger Mats Zuccarello if they can get a good return for him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Larry Brooks also doesn’t see Tavares going from one rebuilding club to another. While anything’s possible, I’ll be surprised if the long-time Islander joins his current club’s most hated rival. Cap Friendly lists forwards Ryan Spooner, Kevin Hayes, Vladislav Namestnikov and Jimmy Vesey, as well as defensemen Brady Skjei, Rob O’Gara and John Gilmour as the Rangers’ RFAs this summer.

Despite missing several games to injury this season, Hayes reached 20 goals for the first time in his career. Considering how difficult it is for find quality center, the Rangers could retain him.

Spooner and Namestnikov were acquired before the recent NHL trade deadline. Spooner’s been on fire since coming over from the Boston Bruins, netting 13 points in 10 games. Namestnikov, however, has only three points in nine games, which is a significant drop from the 44 points in 62 games he had with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Vesey, meanwhile, hasn’t shown much improvement in his sophomore season. Perhaps he could be the one on the trade block. As for their blueliners, I don’t see Skjei going anywhere while it won’t be expensive to re-sign O’Gara or Gilmour

 











NHL Rumor Mill – November 1, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – November 1, 2017

Speculation over the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators &  Edmonton Oilers in your NHL rumor mill. 

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Darren Dreger telling Montreal TSN 690 he found it curious so many high profile members of New York Rangers management (including president Glen Sather and assistant general manager Jim Schoenfeld) took in Monday’s game in Ottawa between the Senators and Montreal Canadiens. He believes the Rangers “are definitely interested in doing something. Whatever that something is, I think they’re pretty wide open for business.”

Dreger also notes Senators GM Pierre Dorion was in Brooklyn the same evening scouting the NY Islanders and Vegas Golden Knights. He also feels the Canadiens, despite their recent improvement, still haven’t suitably replaced the absence of Andrei Markov from their blueline. 

Nichols also cites Dreger’s colleague Pierre LeBrun appearance on Vancouver’s TSN 1040, during which he was asked which NHL GMs are making the most calls for trades right now. He believes the Rangers’ Jeff Gorton, the Canadiens’ Marc Bergevin and the Senators’ Dorion could be the most active. He notes how banged-up the Senators are at forward. 

Meanwhile, Elliotte Friedman appeared on Vancouver’s Sportsnet 650 noting the Canadiens, Rangers and Edmonton Oilers have been busy shopping around for help. He believes the Habs’ Bergevin hasn’t found anything worthwhile and is now putting the focus on improvement from within. He notes the Oilers’ Peter Chiarelli has some balls in the air, including gauging interest in winger Jussi Jokinen and perhaps calling up young winger Jesse Puljujarvi.

As for the Rangers, he doesn’t think they want to tear it down but hope to add young pieces. He expects veteran winger Rick Nash, who’s eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency, could be dealt later this season. He also thinks they will get a lot of questions about winger Chris Kreider. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers may be “open for business” but they’re probably not finding many trade partners willing to make a deal that could immediately improve their roster. Given their concerns at center and on defense, I doubt they’ll find any help from the Habs in that regard. Same goes for the Sens, who could use some healthy bodies at forward. Given Nash’s expensive salary, I think the earliest he could be dealt is in the new year, likely close to the Feb. 26 trade deadline. 

Canadiens GM Bergevin last week claimed he’s not giving up on Galchenyuk, but he’s the same guy who last year said he wasn’t trading P.K. Subban. If he gets a solid offer for Galchenyuk, I think he’ll pull the trigger. 

The Oilers need scoring depth at right wing and more help on the blueline. Dangling a fading veteran such as Jokinen won’t bring in a return that addresses either need. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the “sensible takeaway” for the Rangers scouting the Canadiens-Senators game was doing due diligence on Habs forward Alex Galchenyuk. He also said the Blueshirts are known to like Montreal forward Andrew Shaw. While the narrative out of Montreal claims the Rangers will do anything to land Habs captain Max Pacioretty but wonders why, citing Pacioretty’s poor performance in last spring’s playoff series between the two clubs. 

Brooks cites sources saying Kreider and J.T. Miller aren’t on the trade table. He wonders if the Habs would want winger Mats Zuccarello or perhaps defenseman Brady Skjei. 

TVA SPORTS: Renaud Lavoie and Danny Dube don’t like the idea of the Canadiens trading Shaw. Dube points out the chemistry Shaw’s built with center Phillip Danault. He feels moving the winger could upset that line’s stability. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Rangers are seriously interested in one or two players on the Canadiens. Galchenyuk and Shaw could be the obvious targets. But with Galchenyuk showing improvement of late despite skating on the fourth line and Shaw playing well with Danault and Pacioretty on the second line, Bergevin could be reluctant to move them right now. Of course, it depends on what the Rangers are willing to part with.