Rangers Stay Quiet at Deadline, No Nash, Acquire Scott

February 27, 2012

The weeks leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline are fun. The speculation of what players a team will acquire, what deals will be made, the breaking news; it’s all great. But sometimes it doesn’t live up to the hype. Today there were only about 15 trades, with one real headliner.

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash is staying put in Ohio, at least for the time being. According to the NY Post, the Rangers made one last ditch effort in the dying seconds prior to the deadline, offering up Brandon Dubinsky, 2011 first-round pick J.T. Miller, defensive prospect Tim Erixon, prospect Christian Thomas and a first-round pick in this year’s draft, but it was not enough.

In the same report, it is believed Columbus G.M. Scott Howson actually increased his demands, wanting Dubinsky along with either defensemen Michael Del Zotto or Ryan McDonagh, either Derek Stepan or Carl Hagelin, Boston College star and 2009 first-round pick Chris Kreider, and a first-round pick at this year’s draft.

Following the deadline, Howson said he was approached by Nash asking to be traded, less than two years after signing an eight-year contract extension.

The Rangers did make one minor move, acquiring defenseman John Scott from the Chicago Blackhawks for a 2012 fifth-round pick. Scott, 29, has one assist and 49 PIMs in 29 games this season.

At the end of the day, I think this was the right move for the Rangers to make. As I’ve written, Nash is a world-class talent, but he isn’t worth the asking price. Chris Botta of the NY Times Tweeted that this team as is, should be given a shot to show what they could do in the post-season. Nash will still be on the market, and if this team falls short of the Eastern Conference Finals, then go make a move.

Scott won’t be much of a difference maker. He’s a 6-foot 8-inches and about 260 pounds, but doesn’t bring much in terms of offense. 

I still would have liked to see the team add a scorer, but the market just wasn’t there this year. Too many potential movers re-signed with their teams, while others’ asking prices were just too high.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia


Reports: Rangers Back Out of Nash Sweepstakes

February 26, 2012

Though there is still about 21 hours remaining before the 3 pm NHL Trade Deadline, reports are trickling in that the Rangers are backing out of trying to acquire Columbus Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash.

Several reports, including Nick Kypreos of SportsNet.ca, are saying the Rangers’ unwillingness to meet Jackets GM Scott Howson’s demands — rumored to include one of either Michael Del Zotto or Ryan McDonagh and top-prospect Chris Kreider — will take them out of the running to land the 27-year-old Nash, who was taken first overall in 2002.

Rumors were the Rangers offered Brandon Dubinsky, defensive prospect Tim Erixon and a first-round pick for Nash.

Although the saga is still alive, this news leaves two teams still linked to Nash: the Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose SharksNash’s agent, Joe Resnick, said the hope was to get something done prior to the deadline rather than playing the season out and making a trade in June at the Entry Draft in Pittsburgh.

“We’re hopeful a deal can get done prior to the trade deadline that is fair and equitable to the Blue Jackets,” Resnick told TSN’s Bob McKenzie Saturday.

Aside from having the assets to land Nash, teams have to also deal with his cap-hit. Nash is in the second year of an eight-year contract with a cap-hit of $7.8 million annually through 2017-18, with a no-trade clause. In order to be traded, he’d have to agree to the deal.

We’re not out of the water yet, but things are looking good. There’s no deny Nash’s skill, but to justify the price and the cap-hit on a player that has only scored 40 goals once and has never broken 80 points in a single season would be a bad move for this organization. He would help the current squad, especially on the powerplay, but to sell the farm to bring him to New York would be a bad move.

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Rangers Trade Wolski to Florida

February 25, 2012

We’re about 48 hours away from the 2012 NHL Trade Deadline, and the Rangers have made their first move, dealing forward Wojtek Wolski to the Florida Panthers for a 2013 third-round pick and minor league defenseman Mike Vernace, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

This season, Wolski, 26,  had no goals and three assists in just nine games for the Rangers. He was injured in training camp and early in the season, and never found a regular spot in the lineup. He was acquired last season for defenseman Michael Rozsival from the Phoenix Coyotes.

In 37 games for the Rangers, he had six goals and 19 points.

A quick Google search shows Vernace is nothing special.

The Rangers were either going to waive or trade Wolski, so good for him that it was the latter and not the former. The kid has all the skill in the world, but can’t really get it together. At 26, the Panthers will be his fifth team since 2009-10. Something has to click with this guy before he’s traded again.

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Rangers Could Play Avery on Re-Entry Today

February 25, 2012

According to the NY Post, the Rangers may place forward Sean Avery on re-entry waivers Before you start celebrating, this isn’t the first step to seeing Avery back on Broadway.

The Post is reporting the Rangers would have to decide by this morning to place No. 16 back on re-entry to allow him the chance to play in the NHL again if he is picked up. If a team does claim him, the Rangers would be charged about $200,000 against the cap for the remainder of the season.

If Avery goes unclaimed, the Rangers would simply put him back on waivers and he’d be returned to the AHL, where he hasn’t played a game for the Connecticut Whale since late January.

I like the Rangers giving Sean another shot at the NHL. I still think he could have helped this team if he were given more of a chance this season, but it is what it is. He loved playing here and really never took a shift off, or never really became a distraction off the ice. 

That often gets forgotten when think about Avery. I don’t believe he’s as bad as people make him out to be all over one dumb remark he made four years ago. I can’t speak for all Rangers fans, but I really appreciate the work and dedication he put in during every shift. Also, who will ever forget his battles — and often victories — over Martin Brodeur.

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Kings Acquire Carter, Rangers Interested in Brown?

February 23, 2012

While the biggest domino from the Columbus Blue Jackets still hasn’t fallen, a slightly smaller one did, as Columbus sent Jeff Carter to the Los Angeles Kings for defenseman Jack Johnson and a first-round pick in either 2012 or 2013.

“Jeff is a proven goal scorer in our league,” Kings president and general manager Dean Lombardi said in a statement. “He brings goal-scoring abilities, speed and his age he is entering the prime of his career. We also like his versatility as he can play both center and win. We also want to wish Jack Johnson the best going forward.”

This has to be a blessing from God for Carter, who made it known that he was crushed when the Philadelphia Flyers traded him to Columbus last summer. He’ll now be reunited with former Flyers teammate and friend Mike Richards.

At the same time, how bad do you feel for Johnson, going from a decent team in Los Angeles to a God-awful team in Columbus. Ouch.

How does this relate to the Blueshirts? Well, with Carter, who as Lombardi said could play wing or center, it frees them up to shed some salary and deal captain Dustin Brown. The Rangers may see Brown as a cheaper option than Rick Nash. Brown has topped 20 goals in four of his six total seasons, and has 14 thus far this year. He carries a $3.175 million cap hit, per CapGeek.

Could Brandon Dubinsky and a first-round pick be enough to acquire Brown? Possibly. According to CapGeek, the Kings have enough space to add about $2.6 million. That number would leave them with about $1.6 million if they take on Dubinsky and his $4.2 million average.

Lombardi said he has no other trades lined up at the moment, but that could change very quickly.

It’s tough to choose who you’d rather have between Brown and Dubinsky. Even with the poor season, Dubinsky is loved by Rangers fans. I don’t think Dubinsky is as bad as his goal production says, and we’ve seen what he could do. Brown, though, is cap-friendly and has a shorter contract. He’s a New Yorker and his style of play would fit in perfectly with the Rangers.

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LeBrun Calls Rangers Front Runners

February 22, 2012

As a guest on TSN today, ESPN NHL Insider Pierre LeBrun was asked who he believed would land the big fish of the NHL Trade Deadline: Rick Nash. His answer? The New York Rangers.

He added that the Rangers are actually holding up other potential deals to see what happens with Nash, though how true that is is unknown.

Although LeBrun’s remarks will make headlines in Ranger land, both TSN analysts Bob McKenzie and Daren Dreger said he’d stay in Columbus or go the San Jose Sharks.

The Nash stuff is just getting bizarre at this point. I usually love trade season, but now I just want it to end. 

In the end, I don’t believe Nash will come here because I don’t think the Rangers are willing to part with too many of their top prospects, and that’s a good thing.

People saying the Jackets will have to lower their price are wrong. Nash isn’t a UFA. He’s there for the next six years. The Jackets could wait for the absolute perfect trade to ship out the only superstar that franchise has ever known. The notion that the Jackets have their backs against the wall is just untrue.

To move a player like Nash you have to get the return that your fanbase will say, ‘You know what? They made the right move.’ Rushing it to acquire Brandon Dubinsky and some prospects isn’t the right move for them, and in the end I don’t believe the Rangers will be willing to part with enough pieces to acquire Nash. I’ve been wrong before, though.

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Dreger: Rangers Are Frontrunners for Nash

February 20, 2012

Well, more Rick Nash trade talk. This time, is Darren Dreger from TSN stating the Philadelphia Flyers are out of the Nash mix, and the Rangers have taken over as the frontrunners to land the 27-year-old Columbus Blue Jackets forward before Monday’s trade deadline.

Running out of things to say here. There have been so many rumored packages the Jackets want that it’s getting difficult to keep track. If Glen Sather could somehow find a way to keep Chris Kreider I could get behind the trade. It would be tough to lose a player like Brandon Dubinsky, but you have to give to get, and Nash is no doubt an upgrade over the Alaskan native.

There is just something about that cap hit and its implications down the road when many of the team’s core young players are due for raises in the coming seasons. I still don’t believe this team needs a big shakeup, but like all other bloggers and pundits, it’s out of my hands. Just have to hope for the best.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia