Rumor Roundup: Why the Rangers should target Kevin Shattenkirk

Kevin Shattenkirk (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

It’s been over a week since the New York Rangers were eliminated from the opening round of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs. That hasn’t dampened the speculation over their off-season roster plans.

Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News believes the Rangers should find a replacement for pending UFA defenseman Keith Yandle via the trade market. He suggests they offer up left winger Rick Nash to the St. Louis Blues for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.

Nash is signed through 2017-18 at an annual cap hit of $7.8 million. Shattenkirk, meanwhile, has only only one season remaining on his contract at a cap hit of $4.25 million. He’ll be eligible next summer for UFA status and could be too expensive to re-sign. This suggested trade would reunite Nash with Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, who Leonard thinks might get a contract extension. Shattenkirk, meanwhile, could play top-two minutes and thus push Dan Girardi into a secondary role.

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Former Penguin Dupuis highlights Masterton nominees

Pascal Dupuis (Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images)

Pascal Dupuis’ career may have ended under less than ideal circumstances, but at least he has a chance to collect some hardware as a parting gift.

Dupuis retired from the NHL on Dec. 8 as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins because he was suffering from blood clots. He had two goals and four points in 18 games this season before he stopped playing. Dupuis was first diagnosed with a blood clot in his lung in November 2014 and missed the rest of the 2014-15 season.

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So where exactly do the New York Rangers go from here?

Henrik Lundqvist  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

When the New York Rangers cleaned out their stalls Tuesday morning, defenseman Dan Boyle cursed out a couple of reporters he felt were unfairly critical of him and refused to start his breakup interview until they left the scrum. We’re going to chalk that up to a proud veteran who is going down swinging and will probably look at that incident after second sober thought with regret.

But in a way, Boyle and his rant – which will almost certainly be his last as an NHL player – provide a microcosm of the situation that is facing his soon-to-be-former team. Boyle could have gone quietly into the night or he could have come out with one last flurry. He chose the latter.

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Rumor Roundup: Kings, Rangers, Red Wings face tough decisions in off-season

Milan Lucic.

The Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings were the first clubs eliminated from the opening round of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs. Their early exits have given rise to considerable speculation about their off-season plans.

Having rebounded from missing the 2015 post-season, the Kings entered this year’s playoffs considered among the Cup favorites. Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times cites a lack of blueline depth for why they fell in five games to the San Jose Sharks. It’s an issue she believes GM Dean Lombardi will have difficulty addressing this summer.

A lack of salary-cap space will hamper Lombardi’s effort to bolster his defense. The Kings currently have over $65.9 million invested in 20 players for 2016-17, though center Vincent Lecavalier’s anticipated retirement should free up an additional $2.25 million.

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Getting to Know: Rangers goaltender Antti Raanta

Antti Raanta (via NHL/YouTube)

Status: New York Rangers goaltender.

HT: 6-0 WT: 192 pounds
DOB: May 12, 1989 In: Rauma, Finland

First Hockey Memory: “I think when I went first time on the ice, I got my players skates and stepped on the ice. That was the biggest celebration when you fell all the time, skating a little bit forward and I didn’t fall down. So I think that was my first memory. If you think about games, I think ’95 when Finland was in the World Championship, that’s the first memory I remember about the hockey and winning something.”

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Penguins lay beatdown on Rangers, look like serious contenders as they head to Round Two

Conor Sheary (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

No team was better than the Pittsburgh Penguins over the final two months of the season. If that hadn’t been clear through the first four games of their first-round series against the New York Rangers, it definitely was after the 6-3 drubbing they handed down to take Game 5 and advance to the second round of the post-season.

Over the final two months of the season, the Penguins dominated opponents with the league’s best offense, second-stingiest defense and a counter-punching attack that could turn even the slightest odd-man break into a goal. Pittsburgh also maintained the second-best possession rate in the league over that span, and it doesn’t hurt that they have arguably the world’s greatest player on the roster in Sidney Crosby, with a supporting cast that includes Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Patric Hornqvist.

Before the series began, the Penguins were considered contenders. After wiping out the Rangers with relative ease in five games, Pittsburgh looks like they’re among the class of the East. Read more

Henrik Lundqvist gets yanked early, Evgeni Malkin leads dominant Penguins to brink of series win

(Getty Images)

For the second time in eight days, Henrik Lundqvist had his start come to an abrupt end. But unlike Game 1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Rangers all-star goalie was yanked on Thursday due to performance.

Lundqvist’s Game 4 start lasted only 18 shots, and 26 minutes. He gave up four goals before he was pulled with the Rangers desperate for a boost. It didn’t work, and now the Rangers have to go to Pittsburgh for a must-win game on Saturday. The Penguins routed the Rangers 5-0 and head home with a 3-1 series lead.

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Suspend him or not: Kris Letang gets away with an absurdly violent slash in Game 3

letang slash

Full marks to the Pittsburgh Penguins for winning Game 3 against the New York Rangers Tuesday night. Details here. But, sheesh, things might have gone differently had the referees caught defenseman Kris Letang’s dastardly act in the third period.

The Penguins led 2-1 at this point, so the Rangers surely could’ve used a power play, and they deserved to get one here. Check out the over-the-top slash from Letang on Rangers right winger Viktor Stalberg:

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