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aacg015chris-drury-with-stanley-cup-6-9-01-photofile-postersThe consensus has been that if the Rangers were to sign Mats Sundin, they would move around spare parts (Prucha, Fritsche, Kalinin, etc.) and/or a big-name blueliner like Rozsival or Redden to make room for the big Swede.

Now, according to Adrian Dater at the Denver Post, the Rangers might trade their captain, Chris Drury.

Here’s one thing I’m hearing from people in the know: The Rangers are so intent on getting Mats Sundin that they may well trade Chris Drury to make room.

I would not be happy about this.  The other players, well, here’s my rundown:

  • Prucha: I would miss the little guy, but I’d be OK with it.  My sister would not be (She says, “If they trade Prucha I hope they lose every game the rest of the season!”  Uh, thanks Barry Melrose.)
  • Fritsche: Meh.
  • Kalinin/Redden: good riddance/peace out
  • Rozsival: we had some good times, but we’ve hit a rough patch lately, and maybe it’s time we go our separate ways.

But Drury?!  NO!  Put aside the fact that Drury might be the most only clutch player on this team.  (See Saturday’s shootout goal for the latest example).  Yes, his goal scoring may be down so far this year.   BUT, if the Rangers think they can get rid of his playmaking, defense, and heart… they are sorely mistaken.

This would be a big mistake.  I mean, Sundin is no spring chicken (whatever that means).  We’re talking about a 38-year-old power forward.  For the Rangers, this is a guy who is more likely to be the 2nd coming of Pavel Bure, Eric Lindros, or Wayne Gretzky.  Great players at one time, sure, but they were all just slightly better than average “the-sun-is-setting-on-my-career” players once they came to Broadway.

The Rangers should be happy to get Sundin, but should not be willing to part with Chris Drury.

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At least that’s what Bob McCown of The Fan 590 – Toronto’s Sports Radio – is reporting.  Here’s the direct quote from their Twitter:  “Bob McCown reports a source close to Mats Sundin says he will sign with the New York Rangers any day now.”

And Sam Weinman is reporting that the Rangers have offered Sundin a “framework” of what could be made available if Sundin selected the Rangers, which as far as I can tell means that the Rangers will be trying to move salaries and give him as much money as they possibly can.

I have a few thoughts on this:

1.  The Rangers will have a whole lot of centers and not a lot of wingers.

2.  If the Rangers move anyone, it will probably be one of their expensive Defensemen.  Rozsival is the most likely to be sent packing, although I suppose Redden is a possibility.  I’m not sure what the Rangers can expect in return for Rozy and his -13 plus/minus.

3.  This would mean Corey Potter will probably get called up to the big show on a permanent basis.  That’s good.  It also means that we would be stuck with Kalinin and his -16 for the rest of the season.  That’s bad.  I was hoping Potter would take Kalinin’s place.  It’s still a possibility that the Rangers could just waive Kalinin (and his $2.1 million contract).  Dear Glen Sather, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do this.  Regards, 5-hole blog.

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The NHL and the newly formed Russian Continental Hockey League (abbreviated KHL) agreed today at a meeting in Zurich to respect the validity of player contracts across all borders.

The immediate impact of the agreement will be to put an end to KHL teams offering big money to NHL players if they walk out on the remaining years of their NHL contracts.

In the long-term, this agreement will serve to stimulate the rapid globalization of the game of hockey.  The possibility of a 2012 Hockey World Cup was reportedly discussed but no concrete plans were made.

Is it out of the question to ponder the possibility of a worldwide league within a decade where the winner of the Stanley Cup would meet the winner of the Gagarin Cup in a yearly World Championship??

Read the full article here.

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The Rangers signed Wade Redden, formerly of the Ottawa Senators, to a 6 year contract worth about $6.5 million per year. Redden is 31 years old, and had 6 goals and 32 assists last season while logging an average of 22:12 of ice time per game. The Rangers hope Redden will be the Power Play quarterback they’ve been missing.

In other news, the Rangers will be bringing back MIchal Rozsival for 4 more years at $5 million per year.

The Rangers now figure to (finally) have a solid core of defensemen, and will (finally) have some depth at the position. My guess is that Redden, Rozsival, Staal, Tyutin, and Girardi will form the core, and that Bobby Sanguinetti will get the call up to the big show. Christian Backman is also on the roster and should see some ice time (unfortunately).

In other other news, the Rangers added some more size up front with the signing of 6’4″ 220 lb. Patrick Rissmiller away from the San Jose Sharks.

I should also note that the Rangers re-signed backup goaltender Stephen Valiquette. The terms have yet to be disclosed.

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I spent a little more time on NHLnumbers.com (my new favorite website)… And you know what I realized? Glen Sather loves to overpay for defense.

Take a look at the Rangers defense from this past season (in reverse order of suckitude):

Michal Rozsival – $2.4 mil
Marc Staal – 850K
Dan Girardi – 550K
Fedor Tyutin – $1.025 mil
Jason Strudwick – 500K
Christian Backman – $2.2 mil
Paul Mara – $3 mil
Marek Malik – $2.5 mil
Darius Kasparaitis – $3.116 mil

How can you justify paying Backman, Mara, Malik, and Kasparaitis a combined $10.8 million? That’s inane/insane. And, in case you were wondering, Christian Backman is set to make $3.4 million next season! So, the Rangers traded a 4th round pick for a guy who A) might dress as the team’s 6th defenseman or more likely will spend the season riding the pine; and B) is going to make $3.4 million while doing that.

Good trade by Blues GM President John Davidson.

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Sean AveryAn inside source in the Rangers front office has told me that Avery is seeking “Scott Hartnell money”, which would be 6 years/$25.2 million, and that the hold-up is Avery would like the Rangers to consider more than just the numbers when they consider his value. Here’s the problem: the Rangers front office sees no reason to pay him more than what his numbers say he is worth. Furthermore, the Rangers front office knows Avery likes living in New York City, and hopes to use that as a bargaining chip.

As with any deal negotiation, there is going to be a lot of bluffing as the two sides play a game of chicken. Avery wants the Rangers to take the fact that he loves New York as a positive. The Rangers, unfortunately, are sticking to the numbers, and seem to be trying to take advantage of Avery’s affinity for the Big Apple.

I think I have to side with Avery here. Here are my arguments for Avery and why I think the Rangers should show him the money.

1) The numbers. Avery has put up pretty good numbers with the Rangers. He wants to make Hartnell money and, to be fair, his numbers are fairly similar to Hartnell’s this season. The Flyer winger has 20 G, 15 A, and 135 PIM in 64 games this season. Avery has 11 G, 14 A, and 125 PIM in 41 games this season. 10 fewer points for Avery in 23 fewer games. At 27, Avery is 2 years older than Hartnell, but still just entering his prime.

2) He is a catalyst for the lineup and a great teammate. Look no further than the Rangers record the last two years with and without Avery to see the difference his presence in the lineup makes. Look, I’m the first guy to say that this is a team sport and that one player does not make or break the team. But, it is a rare occurrence for Avery to play in a game and go unnoticed. The guy is everywhere. Plus, think about how many different linemates Jagr has had this year, and, who has he looked most comfortable with? Avery and Dubinsky.

3) Intangibles. Why shouldn’t the Rangers consider the intangibles? The guy clearly loves playing and living in New York. That should be a positive to his negotiations, not held against him as a bargaining chip. As we all know, many players have come to New York and had difficulty adjusting. Avery, on the other hand, has truly flourished. Plus, any player who goes and sits up in the blue seats for a game when he’s injured is okay with me.

My prediction: Avery will play out of his mind for the next 3 months and play a big part in a Rangers playoff push. As any fantasy sports manager will tell you, an elite athlete in a contract year can be a beast. Maybe that is the Rangers’ intention… to preempt any complacency and then re-sign Avery after the season before he becomes a free agent. Hopefully this doesn’t backfire, because I would sure love to see Avery stay in Ranger blue.

Rangers vs. Isles preview coming in a few …

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Girardi signed to new deal

Dan Girardi has signed a 2-year contract with the Rangers worth $3.1 million.  The 23-year-old defenseman has eight goals and 14 assists this season and has played in all 60 games.

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