Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hossa Stays a Ranger!

Of the two remaining Ranger free agents to make a deal with the NY Rangers -- 'one down, one left to apologize to Slats'.

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to terms with restricted free agent forward Marcel Hossa, avoiding any bloody, classless, Avery-like arbitration hearing. The terms appear to be one year at $780,000.

The Dark Ranger thinks this is unexpected great news for the team and not good news for Mr. Sean Avery.

Hell hath no fury like a Glenny scorned!


Monday, July 30, 2007

Sean Avery Temporarily The Gimp!

Turns out our Sean Avery boy has been knocked down a couple of vanity notches by Glen Sather, GM of the New York Rangers, on the alleged terms in his arbitration hearings. The inner-dealings of arbitration have been leaked by someone (hhmmm....let me guess?) and such speaking to the press will persuade a third party in reaching a fair deal for the Rangers. The good news is that he will remain a New York Ranger for at least one more year.

My collegial bloggers have said it best, especially Dear Lord Stanley - whose sarcasm is priceless and the picture is unmatchable. Press here.

Other articles of note are here, here, here, and here

One thing is for sure post-arbitration hearings, he will come out fighting this season and we will see a Ranger machine determined to prove to the 'Avery Haters' that other teams will want to compete for this loud-mouthed, hopeful $2 mill +, instigator during free-agency season next summer.

I love the guy! I get him. He understands The Dark Ranger's needs!


Sunday, July 29, 2007

You Can Take The High Road Or You Can Kevin Lowe!

Brian Burke, general manager of the Anaheim Ducks is in a hairy situation. His left winger Dustin Penner is currently being poached by Kevin Lowe of the Edmonton Oilers, for a mere $21.25 million for a five-year contract. The Ducks have the right to match the offer in order to keep him.

While saying he had no problem with any team tendering an offer sheet to a restricted free agent such as Penner — a rarely utilized mechanism within the parameters of the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the NHL Players Association — Burke made it clear he is none too happy with how Edmonton general manager Kevin Lowe went about it. Burke said. "I certainly think this could have waited until Monday. I think it was a classless move, timing-wise. I was not notified until the agent faxed it in. I would have thought Kevin would have notified me. I thought that was gutless."

Burke also pointed to the seven-year, $50 million offer extended by the Oilers earlier this month to Buffalo's Thomas Vanek, a bid the Sabres immediately matched to retain the high-scoring left wing. "This is the second time this year, in my opinion, that Edmonton has offered a grossly inflated salary," Burke said. "It impacts on all 30 teams. I think it's an act of desperation by a general manager who is fighting to keep his job."

Additionally, it raises questions on the Michael Nylander case of 'Did he take the job or didn't he take the job?', as Kevin Lowe is considering legal actions against Michael Nylander for taking a deal with the Washington Capitals after supposedly agreeing to a mult-year free agent deal, leaving my Blueshirt New York Rangers franchise. Not sure I believe Kevin Lowe's side of it at this point.

So here is the downside to Kevin Lowe's behavior -- Dustin Penner is a good forward, not a great forward and the Anaheim franchise is yet to secure their two powerhouses, both yet contemplating retirement -- Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne. To address those potential voids, the Ducks signed unrestricted free agents Mathieu Schneider and Todd Bertuzzi in July, bringing the club less than $2 million from the salary cap for next season. These level of offers are driving up the cost of mid-range players and will set dangerous precedent for what players will expect to be paid -- soon to reverberate throughout the League.
(on my greed side, I will admit the ridiculous five and seven year deals with Chris Drury and Scott Gomez were over-the-top; I may regret my 'glee' three years into these contracts).

These are dangerous times in the NHL, and though currently occurring in the Western Conference, beyond the cost of players skyrocketing, the gentlemanly ways of hockey GM's talking to each other may be on a down slide. We are seeing a transitional stage of the NHL post-lockout, when rules were put into place to protect franchises and 'even' the playing field for all owners; we are now going into an NHL where ethics are in question and players' loyalties are threatened by the big dollar.

Not sure if anything has changed. Should be fun to watch. Not sure I'd want to work for a hockey team!


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Whose Line Is It, Anyway?

It is around late July, months before the official start of the new season. Here is New York Rangers coach Tom Renney at his home, minutes after midnight, assembling the perfect opening game combinations. Mrs. Renney interrupts, "Tommy, when are you coming to bed for Christ's sake? And why are you writing in pen? Come here my free-agent signing plaid-blazer-wearing hunky-of a husband..."

Shortly after, toward the end of that very evening, all that was left was a piece of paper on the desk, hand-written with the following:


Dawes-Betts/Dupont-Dane Byers

Mara-Girardi (thanks Louis)

Sather, what do you think?


People in Ranger Land, what do you think?


It Just Feels Nice! xoxo, The Dark Ranger


- Brendan Shanahan, The Hockey News

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Marc Staal Knows When To Prevent An Offense!

From Reuters & Blueshirt Bulletin:

Marc Staal was not among the fourteen family members and friends who were arrested for harrassing motorists at the side of the highway at 4:00 AM Saturday morning -- the Cook County sherriff's office just read the names of five Staal family members from the list of those detained, and Marc was not one of them (nor was Jarred). See news reports in the Raleigh News-Observer and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

According the a press release from the Cook County Sherriff's office, the party at the Lusten Resort was warned prior to 1:00 AM about loud screaming and loud music after numerous complaints were lodged. At 3:00 AM, after repeated warnings, representatives of three law enforcement agencies helped resort staff shut down the Staal party and remove all participants from the property. At 4:00 AM, the group was arrested at the side of the road for disorderly conduct and obstructing the legal process. Some members of the group fled into the woods and were therefore not detained with the others -- we have no way of knowing at this time whether Marc was among this group, or if he was even at the party at all. Jordan was among four detainees released after booking -- the other ten, including Eric, were held overnight."


THE DARK RANGER thinks: First there was Jordan "Paris" Staal, then there was, Eric "Britney" Staal, and then there was Marc "Lohan" Staal. Setting a better example over his siblings was Marc "Ranger" Staal, who stayed at home like a good boy and went to training camp to become a Ranger. In truth, he will make the cuts during training camp and be one of the surprises on the "D" Blueshirt lines this season. I have seen clips of the kid play and he is a 'conservative but smart' player who isn't afraid to throw himself into a winger.

Mr. & Mrs. Staal should consider having some more kids to feed us bloggers!


UPDATE: Latest picture of the Staal Brothers (thanks Waiting For Stanley)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

An NHL-British Invasion?

The Dark Ranger is pissed. Unfortunately, not in the British way of having too much to drink. I read about the following a number of months ago, but I thought there was as much a chance of this happening as there was for a Hamilton Predators franchise.

On September 29 & 30, the NHL season opens with the Stanley Cup Champions, the Anaheim Ducks, playing their rival Los Angeles Kings in London at the O2 Arena in London. Did you hear that? As Brian Burke, general manager of the Ducks says, "This a great honour for us, to be chosen to play in the NHL's first regular-season games in Europe. Showcasing a great rivalry between two clubs from the Southern California market will be terrific for the NHL."

This is perhaps one of the most retarded hockey events ever. Most of Europe cares about hockey. Russia cares about hockey. Great Britain does not care about hockey that much. That is why all of the interested European countries already have their own hockey leagues -- good ones. The NHL will just further dilute itself in the world market.
Hey Bettman, here, The Dark Ranger, maybe a deal with those ESPN jerks instead?

Let us learn from the world of professional soccer, where the "world's sport" is attempting to penetrate North America by importing David Beckham - one of the most famous soccer players in the world. With all the press here, still no one cares. They are even cross-promoting his semi-hot wife, Posh Spice, as the British Invasion! They are promoting and buying their way through the media into our living rooms.
Will anyone really care at the end of the day? The British press is currently declaring David Beckham's coming to America as something embraced by Americans resembling Beatlemania, when we've seen almost nothing of it. We don't care. Good press does not buy the public interest , especially in sports.

Coincidentally and intentionally, the same joker who paid David Beckham $50 million a year to try and make something of the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer franchise, also happens to own the Los Angeles Kings hockey franchise AND the O2 Arena that the opening NHL 2007 season game in London is taking place! Coincidence? Phil Anschutz is the 31st richest person in the world, who owns the largest entertainment company in the world (AEG) (American Idol, the entire Elvis catalogue, etc.) and a multitude of arenas, soccer teams and 'soon-to-be' more hockey teams.

I am disappointed because this guy is vertically crossing his assets, not helping the NHL!!! He is buying and paying for a bad idea (as he has every right to do) and hockey will not benefit from this event, and it appears to me that Phil Anschutz is exploiting a hockey league that has clearly run out of ideas on how to brand itself. You may say, "let him pay for everything, it won't cost the league a thing" and you may be right -- but we are much better planning events that have something to do with the NHL and hockey in general. An example of one of the more interesting hockey events this upcoming season is the outdoor Buffalo Sabres vs Pittsburgh Penguins regular season game in January.... in an arena. This is spectacular -- 'and may it snow!' during the game and on the players!!!! Give hockey fanatics a little taste of what football "blowhards" are talking about. Cold, snow, hockey, outdoors, Buffalo -- all relate to the sport. London -- not really.

In the states, the NHL franchise is relatively unknown next to our Canadian brethren, but for the knowing and loyal American fans that lay down our paychecks every season, preach hockey every chance we get to strangers across our land, I can strongly declare that we are still 'keeping it real.'

A season-opener NHL hockey game in London is bollocks!


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Room to Breathe!!!! Please trade Marek Malik, with $6 Mill left to Sign Avery, Hossa and that "D" Man!?

CURRENT TOTAL: $45,330,976
1 Scott Gomez $7,357,143
2 Chris Drury $7,050,000
3 Jaromir Jagr $4,940,000
4 Henrik Lundqvist $4,250,000
5 Martin Straka $3,300,000
6 Paul Mara $3,000,000
7 Marek Malik $2,500,000
8 Brendan Shanahan $2,500,000
9 Michal Rozsival $2,100,000
10 Petr Prucha $1,600,000
11 Fedor Tyutin $987,500
12 Dan Girardi $750,000
13 Tomas Pöck $667,500
14 Stephen Valiquette $617,500
15 Blair Betts $615,000
16 Ryan Callahan $575,000
17 Colton Orr $537,500
18 Ryan Hollweg $512.500
19 Jason Strudwick $500,000
20 Nigel Dawes $496,333
21 Andrew Hutchinson $475,000
22 Sean Avery RFA
23 Marcel Hossa RFA
Above chart from www.outsidethegarden.com....

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Gimme a "D"!

You have to know when to get out of a bad situation, whether you're at work, walking down the street and a man with a bag over his head grabs you or if you have an amazing hockey team without a reassuring defensive unit.

With Matt Cullen again a Hurricane and contributing another $3 million to the Rangers salary cap limit and Sean Avery and Hossa going to be signed, it appears Glen Sather is willing to dump some of the current roster to strengthen our defense. (sorry Malik -- freeing up even more cap room soon -I think you'll be traded to Phoenix!)

So I offer the following "still available second-tier" free-agents that would fit into what the New York Rangers can afford at this point and physically round-out our little New York Ranger hockey team:

Andy Sutton: He's flown under the radar by playing in Atlanta for the last five seasons, but Sutton is an effective, top-four defenseman who adds a lot of size to the back end. Sutton is a good shutdown type who has been around the NHL for eight seasons, and he shoots the puck well from the point. He made $1.9 million last season.

Danny Markov: Sheldon Souray became the last of the high-profile defensemen available this summer when he joined Edmonton on Thursday, but Markov is a good bet for teams looking for a solid second-unit guy. Markov can move the puck and is a physical force in his own end, although he tends to get injured often as a result. He'll be 31 when the season starts and Markov made $2.5 million last season with Detroit.

Ossi Vaananen: He's a big, durable, stay-at-home type of defenseman who loves to play a physical game. Vaananen won't put up much by way of points, but he won't hurt anyone in his own end and he's only 26. Vaananen's salary was slightly under $1 million last season with Colorado.

David Tanabe: He was a first-round draft pick in 1999, but Tanabe has never lived up to his potential in seven NHL seasons with three teams. He finished last season with Carolina, the team that originally drafted him, but even though he made only $900,000, the Hurricanes let him test the market. He can really skate and move the puck and he's about to turn 27, so he could be worth taking a chance on for a nominal price.

One of the above defensive free agents could bring a new element of play to the Rangers this fall. There is a floating rumor that Peca (C) will be filling the third line, which is additional good news -- our A, B's & C's are in order. Just missing that one strong "D".

Maybe you think otherwise.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It's Again Hurricane Season for Cullen

From The Blueshirt Bulletin:
The Rangers today traded Matt Cullen back to Carolina for defenseman Andrew Hutchison, prospect Joe Barnes, and a third round draft pick. In what is primarily a move to shed Cullen's remaining three years at $2.875 million out from under the salary cap, the Rangers also pick up a player in Hutchison projected as a power play quarterback, but who has yet to become an NHL regular at age 27 because of concerns about his defensive zone play and his lack of strength. Barnes, 21, is a center with size and offensive upside, but his first pro season last year was cut short after 15 games due to a major concussion.

The Dark Ranger says:
This will free up some cap room to allow the Rangers to solidify both Sean Avery and Hossa to avoid arbitration -- one would hope, because arbitration creates indifference with two sides pitted against each other, which typically leads to one year contracts and free agents jumping ship. In speaking with a source attached to the Hurricane franchise, Hutchinson was a rotating defenseman -- not someone of strength and generally the last option of defense - not someone to solve the Rangers defensive weakness. I think most people felt that Malik was going to be traded before others -- perhaps with Nylander out of the picture, the Blueshirt Brass didn't want to completely upset the European-card too much this NYR trading season, making our good friend Jamomir feeling 'not-at-home'.

Matt Cullen never clicked here in the Big Apple. It was probably a good move. The Dark Ranger approves this one.


Monday, July 16, 2007

2007-2008 Schedule Announced

Click on the picture for the full schedule.

Your Attitude Makes Me Defensive

Beyond all of the Rangers-friendly free agent signings now potentially establishing two of the strongest lines in the Atlantic Division, Glen Sather, general manager of The (new) New York Rangers, hasn't been addressing the biggest problem the Blueshirts face this upcoming season - our defense.

Yes - management avoided taking Henrik Lundquist (our prized goalkeeper) to arbitration and decided to work out their differences, he signed for a one-year deal for $4.25 million, which will probably lead to a five to six year extension deal sometime this fall; truth be told, the Rangers should have never dangled our defensive crown jewel in this fashion. The goaltender's price had obviously gone up in the aftermath of the large sums gained on the open market by free agent forwards Scott Gomez, Daniel Briere and Chris Drury, not one of whom is as valuable as the 25-year-old franchise goaltender. "The King" Lundqvist went 37-22-8 with a 2.34 goals-against average in 70 games last season -- his second in the NHL. The 37 wins were the second-most in a single season in Rangers history.

Henrik is an upcoming 'great' goaltender -- his inaugural last two seasons have instilled a pride in the team, a taste of the playoff life and the potential beyond, but no one goalie can cover for a weak defensive team. Our defensive roster needs to improve in experience and skill, and perhaps Henrik can maintain and never get hurt. I do believe he is the next Marty Brodeur, the biggest difference in that Henrik has a fan base that pays and shows up to the home games (on a side,
thanks Lou for Scottie Gomez, Detroit thanks you for Rafalski, you can have Rachunek -- and Devils fans should brace themselves for "Lamer-ello" to fire their next coach - preferably when you're in first place in the division and Lou decides he doesn't like you anymore -- Brent Sutter is the new coach of the New Jersey Devils, a rookie NHL coach...I know, another Sutter!? Good luck Brent, see you in Newark).

The last 20 games of the regular season, we saw our Rangers demonstrate some of the strongest penalty killing in the league - a strong defense, consisting of an over-bloated/paid/rated veterans (Malik - the skating 2 x 4), Rachunek (now a Devil, "wimp"), Darius Kasparitis (soon to be a proud AHL Hartford star again and already 'outed') and surprisingly supported by a cast of farm team graduates, mostly due to a great up-and-comer Dan Girardi. Let us not forget the honorable mention of Fedor Tyutin and recent trade Paul Mara. October and November will show us if our 'killer on paper' roster has something called defense to worry about. A rarity, The Dark Ranger is concerned.

Without question Lundquist supported the defense of this team last season -- and now that most of the 2006-7 Blueshirts are re-signed, which includes Brendan Shanahan, Petr Prucha, and Sean Avery (in arbitration) we are at 'the cap' limit. A 'powerhouse-offensively-minded' machine with a Super Goalie. There is no question the upcoming season is an exciting and hopeful one, scary for all if the front lines don't connect.

Ode to The King.
'Cause You Have a Lot of Work Ahead of You.


Friday, July 6, 2007

C'est le temps pour ce monstre sombre de hockey pour prendre des vacances et quitter son amour d'écriture depuis seulement une semaine. Ces New-Yorkais vont prendre Stanley Cup cette saison prochaine. Il sera triste si vous n'êtes pas le fan d'un Gendarme à cheval.

Soyez sûrs. Soyez en bonne santé. Et hockey d'amour!

Au revoir et voir-vous la semaine prochaine....


Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Future New Jersey Devils Are Not Strong, They Are Weekes!

"Leafs Lunch" reports the New Jersey Devils have signed goaltender Kevin Weekes. TSN reports it's a two year, $1.375 million contract. They are scrap(p)ing for a team, and being on the other side of the river, Joi-sey better hope that Marty is in tip-top healthy form throughout the season, with Weekes as your backup. Here's hoping...

UPDATE: The better news is that the strong get stronger -- the Rangers re-signed Prucha for a two-year deal worth $3.2 million.

Free Agency 2007 - Part II

(Posted by TML 2007-2008, a Toronto Leafs fanatic)

Western Conference - a summary thus far

Detroit – Lost a couple of key players through Free Agency in Bertuzzi and Calder who were both rental players for the run last season. Losing Schneider is a loss but the addition of Rafalski gives the Wings a great one-two punch on defense with Lidstrom. Detroit will once again battle for tops in the West but needs to sign Hasek and pray for an injury free season.

Anaheim – Stanley Cup Hangover isn’t happening anytime soon with this great franchise. Burke has created a team built to win next year and compete for many more to come. Will Niedermayer retire? Does Selanne walk away a champion? The Ducks took a proactive approach and grabbed Schneider and Bertuzzi to help fill offset the potential loss. Look for Bobby Ryan to crack the Mighty lineup this season.

Vancouver – This team is on the cusp of something special. Teams that win in the playoffs all have one thing in common – great goaltending and Luongo’s the best there is. Unfortunately the new NHL economic landscape has capped Vancouver’s opportunity to win the big one for all of Canada. The twins cannot do it themselves as shown in last years playoffs. Without the budget to add suitable support, this team is in a holding pattern. Sanford is a nice pickup for a backup goalie and Ritchie and Isbister are decent 3’rd liners. Krajicek another decent pickup doesn’t get this team over the hump. Where have you gone Mr. Naslund? Pick up the phone and call your buddy Forsberg.

Nashville – Wow have things turned ugly in a hurry. The only music coming from the Predators is the smooth sound of Kansas City. They lost the majority of their stars and Greg De Vries won’t become Timmonen anytime soon. Radek Bonk and Ortmeyer won’t make the fans forget Kariya, Forsberg or Hartnell. Mason has big shoes to fill in becoming a starter for the first time in his NHL career. I feel bad for Arnott who signed a long contract last season.

San Jose – All this money to play with and they were unsuccessful in landing tier 1 free agents. This team is real close to bringing home Lord Stanley and Rivet on Defense helps bolster a young great lineup. Look for San Jose to dangle Marleau to bring in some strong supporting help of Thorton. I like the look of this team and consider them my favorite team (on paper) going into next season. They will be active on the trade deadline 2008. Rumor has Sourray signing with San Jose or New Jersey.

Dallas – This team is getting old and quickly. The young players must step up this season and make an impact. Having

their captain Morrow for a full season will help. Turco having exercised his playoff demons will once again show why he’s one of the best in the business. Playoffs – Yes. Stanley Cup threat – No.

Minnesota – This team is a gr

eat blend of veteran leadership and young stars. If Gaborik can stay healthy they will once again be a strong playoff team. Re-signing Welz is a good move. Backstrom will have huge pressure as Fernandez has found a new home in Boston. Belanger only adds more offensive depth to a good team.

Calgary – Welcome back Iron Mike. Good Bye Tanguay. Ooops that hasn’t happened yet. The Flames lost a couple of key defenseman but brought in Sarich and Aucoin. They made their biggest splash re-signing Iginla and Regehr. Along with Toronto and Ottawa, remain Canada’s greatest hope in bringing Stanley home.

Colorado – Things are looking great here. How long before Forsberg returns home to the Avalanche. This team has great forwards and a solid defense. An injury free season for Leopold will only help turn this playoff team (YES) into a cup threat. Colorado has one of the best recruiters in the game in Sakic whose call to Smyth and Hannan closed the deal at hello.

St Louis – The future is bright in St Louis although a trip to the post season is still a couple years away. Bringing back Tkachuk was a smart move although I suspect there was a secret handshake deal last fall. Kariya is a winner who helps this team on both ends of the ice. The Blues had an underrated defense corps that will surprise many this season and are well coached.

Columbus – Who knows…Worse off who really cares? Rick Nash, Brule and Vyborny (a star who people aren’t aware of) are being wasted highlighting their skills in a poor market. Columbus must trade Zherdev who has been a big distraction on this franchise. Look for Federov to been traded at the deadline this year to help push a team over the hump as a third line center. Federov (greatest NHL career by any Russian)

Edmonton – Wake up Lowe and drop the lawsuit. Tarnstrom, Grebeshkov and Greene won’t bring back the winning tradition. Trading Lupol for Pitkanen is solid for both organizations looking to develop these young stars. Garon adds depth between the pipes, as Rolly needs help with all the rubber he’ll see this season. Glad to see they re-signed Torres.

Chicago – I love what this team is doing. Can you hear the bandwagon start playing.. LOL!!! The addition of Toews, Samsanov and Lang help bolster the BlackHawk’s firepower. Havlat is a superstar in the making and their defense is deep. Can Ruutu finally play a full season? Congratulations on landing Kane.

Los Angeles – Welcome back to the NHL Kings. A great off-season will see this franchise back in the cup hunt. The Kings have one of the best defense corps in the NHL. The additions of Stuart and Pressing help bolster a great lineup. Calder, Handzus and Nagy round out some great young forwards in Cammalleri, Brown, Frolov and Kopitar. How may 20 goals scores will this team have at seasons end? How about Visnovsky who can score with the best of them on the power play.

Phoenix – Gretzky get out! This team is in real trouble. This is a team that should be moved to Hamilton. Loaded with strong defense Morris, Ballard, Boynton and Jovanovski. The rumor has Jovo rejecting the idea of being traded with his no trade clause contract. Prediction – Last in the NHL.

TML 2007-2008

Looking Scary?

Turns out Glen Sather has secured most of the team with about $11 million left to secure the following free agents: Petr Prucha, Sean Avery, Brendan Shanahan and Henrik Lundquist.

The absolute scariness is that prior to the Chris Drury and Scott Gomez signings ($5-6 mill each for multiple years), Glen Sather (GM) and Don Meehan (Lundquist's agent) have been negotiating a 4-5 year contract in the range of $4-5 mill per season and our Ranger GM has relied on those good faith negotiations in determining how much they could spend during free agency.

With two top-tier newcomers on the team, and next to Jags, Henrik Lundquist is probably the most important investment for the Rangers' future, and should be commanding equal to what the highest salary is as part of this franchise. Apparently, Sather is relying on Henrik to take less in order to sign all the needed remaining players this season.

A tall order as Sean Avery will be looking in the $2 mill plus range, Prucha will command over $1.5 mill, Brendan Shanahan will need at least $2 mill (plus non-cap veteran bonuses), which leaves only $5 mill for Henrik - with no room to move. This is dangerous in itself as there is no flexibility on the team's part, unless Sather has a trading scheme at hand.

The absolute priority is to maintain "The King" Lundquist -- one of the top tier goalies in the league - and it's only his third season. We expect him to guard our nets for the next ten seasons. Just as Sather took the time to lock up Callahan and Girardi quickly, he shouldn't have relied on talks prior to the free-agent-feeding-frenzy of this week.

Though, with the power of our first two lines, we could play an entire season 6 on 5 and leave the goalie home! The Dark Ranger will watch over an empty net.....prepare.


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Free Agency 2007 - Part I

(Posted by TML 2007-2008, a Toronto Leafs fanatic)

Eastern Conference - A summary thus far

Buffalo – Losing your top 2 centers and backup goalie will hurt. Strong youth movement will keep them a playoff team.

New Jersey – The loss of their top center Gomez and defenseman Rafalski turns this once great dynasty into a team wishing for a playoff spot next season. Even Lou and his magic wand cannot turn this one around.

Atlanta- Was active in acquiring some depth at forward with Todd White and Perrin. Klee will help their Defense and playoff in 2007-2008 is looking like a safe bet.

Ottawa – The Stanley Cup loss was a great learning experience for this team. Remember Edmonton lost to the NYI before winning the next season. Will lose Comrie in the next couple of days and Pressing was a key loss on their pp unit. Gerber needs to be traded and Razor Emery signed ASAP.

Pittsburgh – The strong get stronger. The youth movement (see Ottawa) has also had its first experience with playoff hockey. The signing of Whitney, Sydor, Recchi, Roberts and Sykora are great compliments to the core young stars. This team has become a legitimate cup favorite.

New York Rangers – Spending, Spending, Spending – Great signings with the only team left in the New York area. Drury and Gomez along with Cullen give the NYR a great team up the middle. Great Concern on the backend and Shanahan is left unsigned?
Sign him ASAP as he makes this team run. Playoffs are a lock. Time to trade some of the great young forwards for some defense help. Hello Callahan!

Tampa Bay – This once great franchise is a mess. What needs to be addressed is the lack of goaltending and defenseman. What did they go out and acquire on July 1’st? Michel Ouellet. Good young forward who will pop 20 goals and 20 assists for them. Could this be support for the departure of Richards via trade? Chris Gratton was also reacquired to help shore up their centers. Will fight for a 7/8 playoff spot. If this team ends up on the outside looking in come April won’t come as a surprise to many.

New York Islanders – Good Bye Long Island. I feel sorry for Garth Snow who has tried hard since taking over the reins last season. They gambled the farm on Smyth and it gained them 6 games of post-season action. Losing Smyth, Blake, Kozlov and Poti hurts.
Playoffs are years away as NYR fans chant Potvin Sucks.

Toronto Maple Leafs - Great weekend for the TML. Bolstering their goaltending by adding Toskala will help. Bell and Blake are great additions to an already strong scoring team. The TML were the 4th highest scoring team in the Eastern Conference last season and they’re about to get even better. Playoff Action in Toronto after several long golf seasons is a lock.

Montreal – This franchise is in big trouble. Good for them for getting rid of Samsanov who never found his groove in Montreal. Losing Rivet and Sourray stings. Playoffs aren’t happening here in 2007-2208 folks. Smolinski isn’t going to help fans feel any better about losing the Briere sweepstakes.

Carolina – For a team to win the Stanley Cup and follow it up with a non-playoff season is criminal. They aren’t active and don’t appear to be interested in doing much more than exploring a change in venue. Kansas City/Vegas?

Florida – Great moves to get this franchise back on the right track. After the Luongo trade (worst in 20 years) this team is headed in the right direction. Jokinen and Horton are young stars. Bouwmeester and Vokoun are great on the backend. The addition of Zednik, McLean and Dvorak adds depth to a solid team. Welcome back to the playoffs Florida.

Boston – The Bruins have some of the best young forwards in the game. Savard, Bergeron and Kessel will lead the charge for years to come. The pain in 2006-2007 came between the pipes as Thomas flopped around like a seal on many evenings. The addition of Fernandez is solid and Chara is still Chara. Prediction – 9th and just missing the last spot in the East.

Washington – Who knows any player on this team not named Ovechkin, Semin and Kolzig? The additions of Nylander, Kozlov and Poti will help but not nearly enough to make the playoffs. Is Chris Clark the most unrecognized captain in the NHL who scores 30 goals?

Philadelphia – Wow! This turn around situation started last season with the Forsberg trade and landing Biron. The additions of strong forwards in Briere, Upshall, Lupol, and Hartnell round out a young star team. The Defense has been bolstered with Jason Smith and Timonen. Good Bye Bobby Clarke and hello Lord Stanley?

Western Conference updates coming soon.

TML 2007-2008

Henrik Lundquist & Brendan Shanahan Unsigned

Go Here.......
good news!


Monday, July 2, 2007

Capitals Sign Michael Nylander.

The Washington Capitals have announced a four-year deal acquiring Nylander from the New York Rangers -- terms have not been released.

This is a surprise for most, as we all believed he was assisting the now barren team once referred to as the Edmonton Oilers. Nylander played for the Caps during the 2002-2003 season - so I can imagine he must have received something in the range of $20 million to support those six kids.

Ah, the wild ride of free agency.

More to come.


UPDATE: He signed for 4 years for $19.5 million. Not bad Dark Ranger....my original guess off by 500K.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

B'Way Bonanza ! Drury and Gomez Both Signed

The Rangers have confirmed that they have signed both Chris Drury and Scott Gomez to free agent contracts. Gomez, formerly of the NJ Devils is now a New York Ranger for seven years at $51.5 million and Chris Drury, former Co-Captain of the Buffalo Sabres, is now a NY Ranger for five years at $35.25 million. Dellapina is also saying now in Blueshirts Blog that the Rangers in the hunt for Sheldon Souray, although a big contract for Drury might make that impossible under the cap.

The Hockey Gods have spoken, um...I mean Glen Sather.

If I have to live with Scott Gomez "the superstar" from New-Jersey throughout the next seven years of contract as a Blueshirt, I will be thrilled. If I have to live with Scott Gomez "the Devils System Player Who Underdelivers" throughout the next seven years as a Blueshirt, I will be one angry Dark(er) Ranger than ever before. Echoes of "Lindros as Philly Flyer" ring in my head over and over. Never thought Gomez was worth this money and, especially a 7-year contract, but...in the spirit of acquiring two of the top three free agents, I am happy and less-Dark for the moment. May I be surprised.

Now Drury on the other hand....welcome! Jed Ortmeyer is now a Nashville Predator. At the time of this writing, all of the following need to stay a NY Ranger -- Henrik "the King" Lundquist is still unsigned, Sean Avery the firecracker is not yet signed, Brendan Shanahan is not signed and then there is Michael.

Poor, poor, Michael Nylander. We needed him as of twelve hours ago. This game of chicken worked in New York's favor, as a five million a year contract is too rich and bad advice given. I am certain Nylander is not happy about any of this knowing a contract was available to him four-weeks ago. He overvalued his stats in a season side-by-side to Jamomir Jagr's first line. The days ahead will show us where Nylander lands, unless he takes a Rangers paycut. This agent is now free....

This team keeps improving...my season tickets are beaming!


UPDATE: Word is Michael Nylander is heading to Edmonton. (Monday, July 2)

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