New York Rangers by Karan Bawa
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Rebuilding on the Fly Means the End of an Era

“In an on-air interview during day one of the two-day NHL Entry Draft, New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton let slip, perhaps intentionally, that his Blueshirts are officially “rebuilding on the fly”. This “slip of the tongue” occurred just minutes after TSN’s Bob McKenzie uttered the same words following the Rangers selection of Lias Andersson with the 7th overall pick — a pick that they’d acquired from the Arizona Coyotes along with defenseman Anthony Deangelo early Friday afternoon in exchange for Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta. If those words haven’t been ringing loudly in your head since surely you’ve missed their significance as signaling the end of an era. An era of wildly successful yet Championship-less hockey, that saw Broadway’s Blueshirts advance to their first Stanley Cup Final in twenty years amidst two other Eastern Conference Final appearances over the last six years.

While it’s not quite the promise of a full rebuild—something that generally entails a firesale of nearly every valuable veteran player for future assets, as well as at least one full season of tanking for a lottery pick—an “on the fly” version still promises significant overhaul. That process began when the Rangers bought out the contract of long-time defenseman Dan Girardi, and it continues in the aftermath of dealing Stepan to the West.

Though the lack of a championship will no doubt mar the optics of just how successful this collection of players was, the fact remains they are one of the winningest teams in the NHL in the postseason in the last seven years. That’s not an arbitrary range, either. It precisely overlaps a span of time in which Stepan, from his rookie season, and Girardi, from his fifth NHL season, overlap as New York Rangers.”

Recent

NHLPA, Buyout Window and Klein to Define Rangers' Off Season

It is every hockey fan’s favorite time of year…

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OK, OK, hockey playing time is over and hockey management time is upon us. While each member of the Pittsburgh Penguins is now planning their “day with the Cup” (Barf.gif), General Managers and their supporting staff are crunching numbers, reviewing contracts and making contingencies based on where the upper, and for some poor teams’ fans, the lower limits of the 2017/18 Salary Cap will level off.

Leveled off is precisely where the Salary Cap will sit if the NHL Players’ Association decides not to invoke a rule called the “escalator” which artificially inflates the cap ceiling up to five percent higher than the players’ 50% share of Hockey Related Revenue (HRR) dictates. That even split of HRR would keep the cap at right around $73M per team according to league estimates, the number it was at last season. In 2016/17 the NHLPA did decide to use that escalator, or else the cap that year would have been just under $70M per team.

Snap Shot

Rangers to Buyout Dan Girardi

:tweet: @NYRangers OFFICIAL: #NYR will buy out the contract of defenseman Dan Girardi.

We all knew it was coming, although probably there was just an inkling of doubt. Dan Girardi, especially in the last couple of seasons, was a very polarizing figure. Still, he’s been a huge asset to the Rangers over the years, considering he was undrafted. If we get similar value from a Kevin Hayes, Jimmy Vesey or others, we’ll have to count our self lucky. A warrior to the end, even as his body failed him.

Josh Manson by Bridget Samuels
Recent

Back to Front, Gorton Must Fix Blue Line From Strength

The Ducks are embroiled in a heated playoff series that will conclude in tonight’s game seven match with the up-and-coming Oilers, but the optics of the trade shouldn’t change regardless of the outcome. The Ducks still face the same protection configuration issue, as do the Rangers, which makes them ideal trading partners to solve one another’s problems.

Anaheim, however, like the Rangers, are a cap team with a lot of money locked up in their core of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen, and Cam Fowler. Trying to pull a deal off that sends someone like Nash, who I originally suggested, in exchange for Vatanen may not be all that palatable an idea from their perspective. Instead, perhaps a swap of younger players is in order. My suggestion – 24-year old J.T. Miller for one of Josh Manson (25) or Brandon Montour (23).

The framework behind this is the same as it was back when I first wrote about it in February. Miller, who was second in team scoring with 56 points in 82 games, should prove valuable to the Ducks desire to add scoring to their top-six, while one of Montour or Manson, both of whom are right-handed, would immediately improve the right side of the Rangers’ blue line. The difference here is Miller will be entering the second year of a two-year bridge deal worth $2.75M per season, and Manson and Montour each have one year remaining on their entry-level contracts and make less than $1M against the cap currently.

Recent

What if the Rangers Buyout Both Girardi and Staal?

It is time for the Rangers to get proactive. And the best they can do now is swallow the hard pill, in buying out both Staal and Girardi prior to this summer’s Expansion Draft.

No doubt it’s a lot of dead cap space to carry, but perhaps with the defensive prospects they now have thanks to some savvy work by Rangers GM Jeff Gorton on the young free agent market, he’s created the perfect time to rip the band aid right off.

Recent

NYR 2, MTL 0 - King Henrik Shines as Rangers Take Series Lead

Henrik Lundqvist was serenaded with sarcastic “Hen-rik” chants in the Bell Centre, where he’s struggled in his career, to start the Rangers’ playoff run, but on Wednesday night, the chants did nothing to get the King off of his throne. He was sparkling, making 31 saves en route to a 2-0 win in the series opener. Thumper Tanner Glass’ surprising’ first-period goal, ended up as the game-winner.

The odds on Glass scoring the first goal of the playoffs for the Rangers were probably pretty slim, so drinks are on you if you placed that bet. Glass’ second-career playoff goal gave the Rangers the lead in a first period in which they were outshot 16-5. His line, with Oscar Lindberg and Jesper Fast, was excellent all night.