After weeks of anticipation, the New York Rangers finally made a significant roster move this summer. On Monday, they dealt center Derick Brassard and a seventh-round pick in 2018 to the Ottawa Senators for center Mika Zibanejad and a 2018 second-round selection.
In shipping out Brassard’s $5-million annual average salary through 2018-19 for Zibanejad’s $2.65 million in 2016-17, Rangers GM Jeff Gorton freed up an additional $2.35 million. He can put that toward re-signing a restricted free agent forward such as Chris Kreider or Kevin Hayes. He could also use it to his roster via trade or free agency.
Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News speculates Gorton could use the savings to acquire St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. He could then re-sign the blueliner, who’s eligible next July for unrestricted free agency, to an extension worth $6-million annually. Leonard also wonders if Kreider could be swapped for Shattenkirk before the winger’s arbitration date on Friday. Read more
We just had an honest-to-goodness hockey trade in the middle of summer. The New York Rangers have sent Derick Brassard and a seventh-round pick in 2018 to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Mika Zibanejad and a second-rounder in 2018. Let’s get into the details, shall we?
Things are looking up for J.T. Miller and now the talented center has a new contract to show for it. The New York Rangers avoided an arbitration hearing with their young pivot by signing Miller to a two-year deal with an average annual value of $2.75 million. Who says the bridge deal is dead?
Heading into mid-July, the New York Rangers have yet to make a significant move to shed cap space or shake up their roster. Signing veteran left winger Michael Grabner to a two-year deal ($1.65 million annually) and acquiring defenseman Nick Holden from the Colorado Avalanche were their biggest deals thus far.
The Rangers carry $12.4 million in salary-cap room. With restricted free agents Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes and Dylan McIlrath to re-sign, there’s not enough space to retain those players and bolster the lineup via trades or free agency.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports Blueshirts GM Jeff Gorton hasn’t been idle in the trade market, but he’s been unable to find suitable deals. Brooks claims Gorton is reluctant to move center Derek Stepan, won’t trade defenseman Ryan McDonagh, can’t find equal value for left winger Rick Nash and isn’t shopping Kreider.
Free agency is well under way but the opportunity to negotiate a new deal has led a number of restricted free agents to salary arbitration.
The NHLPA announced the dates for the 24 arbitration hearings that are slated to take place between July 20 and Aug. 4, though some players have already reached agreements with their respective clubs ahead, helping both sides avoid arbitration.
The most productive player to avoid arbitration thus far is Kyle Palmieri, who posted 30 goals and 57 points in 82 games with the New Jersey Devils in 2015-16. Palmieri had filed to take the Devils to arbitration to hammer out a new deal on July 5, but New Jersey and Palmieri landed on a five-year, $23.25-million deal just two days later. Others who have filed but since settled include Detroit Red Wings minor-league goaltender Jared Coreau and Philadelphia Flyers winger Jordan Weal, both of whom signed deals worth over $600,000.
There are some big names still without contracts for the upcoming campaign, however. Here are five key arbitration hearings that could impact some important players: Read more
The most notable exclusion from the 24 players who filed for salary arbitration Tuesday was Petr Mrazek, but that doesn’t mean the Detroit Red Wings goaltender won’t be included in the process. Sources have told thn.com that the Red Wings will take Mrazek to arbitration before teams are required to file at 5 p.m. (eastern time) Wednesday.
This is a bit of a chess game here. Had Mrazek filed for arbitration, the Red Wings would have been able to choose either a one- or two-year reward. With the Red Wings filing, Mrazek will now have the choice of a one- or two-year award. Regardless, it means Mrazek is guaranteed to have a deal with the Red Wings for at least one season and will be available to the Red Wings for the start of the season. Mrazek is expected to be the Czech Republic’s No. 1 goaltender for the World Cup of Hockey.
They didn’t call defenseman Lou Fontinato, who died on Sunday at 84, “Leapin’ Louie” for nothing. He earned the nickname although by the time he became the undisputed favorite of New York Rangers fans in the late 1950s, some New Yorkers preferred the appellation Louie The Leaper, as in Jack The Ripper. No matter how you called him, the Guelph, Ont., native got that handle because his boiling point was so low that when called for a penalty Fontinato reacted like a gushing oil well, spurting all over the place as he leaped in protest.
But that wasn’t the beauty part of his game. Fontinato’s lust for hefty bodychecks, his unadulterated passionate play and, most of all, old-time, two-fisted fighting inspired fans to scream in delight at the old Madison Square Garden. I speak firsthand about my old pal, Louie, since we simultaneously broke in with the Rangers in 1954-55, him on the ice and me in the club’s publicity department.
It’s early July, so obviously there’s another important day coming up on the hockey calendar. Coming up next: the deadline for restricted free agents to file for arbitration, which is on the docket for Tuesday.
This will likely be a procedural day for many players because so few actually end up going the full distance in arbitration, but one thing it will do is tell us which players will definitely be in uniform for their teams at the start of training camp in the fall. That’s because arbitration forces a ruling on both sides, meaning the player is under contract for either one or two more seasons.