Filed under: News | Tags: Blair Betts, Brad Richards, Brandon Dubinsky, Chad Johnson, Dallas Stars, Dane Byers, Dany Heatley, Enver Lisin, Freddie Sjostrom, Glen Sather, hockey, KHL, Lauri Korpikoski, Marion Gaborik, New York Rangers, NHL, Nikolai Zherdev, Phoenix Coyotes, prospects, Russia, Ryan Callahan, Sergei Zubov, Trades
In a surprising flurry of activity after a quiet weekend, The Rangers continued their recent roster overhaul by re-signing one of their core youngsters and sending another one packing to the desert.
Earlier today, The Rangers agreed to terms with RFA F Ryan Callahan on a 2 year deal worth 4.6 miilion dollars. If you were to ask most Rangers fans what signing they were hoping to see sooner than later, it would be Callahan’s. The 24 year old right wing enjoyed a breakout season in 2008-09 scoring 22 goals and posting 40 points while becoming one of the team’s most physical forwards. The signing helps the team to avoid having to go to arbitration against one of it’s up and coming stars. It also may give the team a comparable starting point in negotiations with fellow RFA and young star C Brandon Dubinsky, whom the team is also interested in signing to a long term deal. The deal also leaves Nik Zherdev as the only remaining player headed for arbitration with the club.
Later in the day, The Rangers moved one of their youngsters to Phoenix in an exchange of players with seemingly bright futures. Lauri Korpikoski, who enjoyed a fine first season with the Blueshirts (but was recently the subject of reports linking him to interest from teams in the KHL), posted 14 points in 68 games while excelling on the team’s highly ranked PK unit was sent to the Coyotes in exchange for Enver Lisin, a 23 year old 6-1, 190 lb. right wing who scored 13 goals in 48 games last season.
As I watched this offseason play out and began formulating possible line combinations in my head, I often found myself wondering where Korpikoski would fit amongst the newly acquired forwards and most of the time I didn’t see a strong fit. It looks like the front office did not either. While Korpikoski was sound defensively, he did not give the Rangers much in terms of offensive upside (much like Blair Betts and Freddie Sjostrom, who have also been jettisoned this offseason). Lisin gives the Rangers another speedy winger with the potential to put pucks in the net either at the NHL or AHL level and another option to look at in camp (or another chip should the Heatley situation rear it’s head again) if Zherdev is not brought back next season. I think this was a good deal by Sather to get something promising for Korpikoski before his offensive shortcomings became fully realized by other GM’s around the league.
Here is a highlight video of Enver Lisin from Youtube:
I didn’t get the chance to catch up on much local news while in New Orleans over the weekend but there were some interesting reads on the web beginning with Larry Brooks’ artcle in the NY Post here and his interview with new Rangers sniper Marion Gaborik here. The Dallas Morning News puts in their two cents on both the Brad Richards and Sergei Zubov rumors here. The Rangers also re-signed RFA Dane Byers and G Chad Johnson over the last few days. The official releases are here and here.
I hope that gets everybody caught up. Tomorrow we will continue our Prospect Spotlight series. If anything else happens, we will have it for you right here.
Filed under: Free Agency | Tags: Blair Betts, Colton Orr, contracts, Donald Brashear, Enforcer, Free Agency, Jaromir Jagr, Madison Square Garden, Maple Leafs, Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers, NHL
After making only a tiny ripple during the first few hours with their signing of tough guy/cheap shot artist/scourge of Ranger fans Donald Brashear to a 2 year 2.8 million dollar pact, The Rangers made the big splash in the free agency pool that everyone had been waiting for later in the day when the team agreed to terms with superstar winger Marian Gaborik on a 5 year 37.5 million dollar deal to bring him to the Garden.
The Brashear signing was met with mostly anger and disbelief from the blueshirt faithful as this was the same player who ended Blair Betts season prematurely during last year’s playoffs with a cheap shot elbow that broke Betts’ orbital bone. Brashear has been a lightning rod for controversy in the past with his endless taunts and late hits of Rangers players such as Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan and others. GM Glen Sather explained the signing of this seemingly past his prime, one dimensional enforcer as a necessity after losing fan favorite and character guy Colton Orr to the Maple Leafs (4 years @ 1 million per) earlier in the day.
The bigger and more welcomed news came as the frenzy of early signings seemed to be slowing down, The Rangers announced they had come to terms with the Minnesota Wild’s all time leading scorer, winger Marian Gaborik on a 5 year deal. Gaborik is one of the NHL’s fastest and most dynamic talents and is a threat to score every time he is on the ice(a component the Rangers haven’t had since the departure of Jagr). The only question mark concerning Gaborik is his history of hip and groin injuries which have kept the mercurial winger out for extended periods over the last few seasons. According to GM Sather, the team has been in touch with the surgeon who performed Gaborik’s hip surgery (the same doctor who performed A-Rod’s surgery) last season and also had their doctor’s look over the reports and everything came up clear before they decided to make the commitment. Gaborik is a world class talent who has scored 40 goals in a season once and reached the 30 goal plateau in 5 of his 8 professional seasons. If he can stay healthy, he brings to the Garden a dynamic one on one presence that will excite the fans and put pucks in the net on a consistent basis. He is a game changing forward. If the injuries persist and Gaborik can’t stay out of the trainer’s room, this will be a long season and the Rangers might be stuck with another albatross of a contract but all indications and hope from the front office point towards the opposite being the case.