Filed under: News | Tags: Boston Bruins, Brandon Dubinsky, Brendan Shanahan, hockey, John Tortorella, Lauri Korpikoski, Mike Sullivan, New York Rangers, NHL, Phoenix Coyotes, Scott Gomez, Tampa Bay Lightning, Trades, youth
In a move that has been expected since last season’s hiring of head coach John Tortorella, Mike Sullivan will re-join his former boss on the Rangers bench as associate coach. Sullivan has ties to the organization as he was drafted 67th overall by the Rangers in 1987, yet remained at Boston University and never suited up for the Rangers. During his NHL career as a player, Sullivan had 54 goals and 82 assists in 709 games. After retiring, Sullivan was hired to coach the Boston Bruins in 2003 and led them to a 41-19-15-7 record and first place in the Northeast Division. After the lockout, his teams had problems regaining their momentum and he was fired by the Bruins. He then joined John Tortorella’s staff in Tampa Bay in 2007. Sullivan was under contract to the Lightning until earlier this month.
In other news, Lauri Korpikoski, who was traded to the Coyotes on Monday, signed a two year deal. RFA Nigel Dawes, who was waived by Phoenix after filing for arbitration, has been claimed by the Flames. Former Ranger Jed Ortmayer has signed on with the San Jose Sharks.
Larry Brooks of the NY Post scored an exclusive interview with John Tortorella during which the coach discussed the Scott Gomez trade, the possibility of Brandon Dubinsky as first line center and the team’s reliance on youth during the upcoming campaign. To read the full interview click here. There have been some rumors of Brendan Shanahan possible making a return to Broadway. I personally think that bringing back Shanahan would be a mistake (although he is a positive locker room presence) and that the ice time given to him would better benefit a younger player with more to prove than a surefire hall of famer trying to put a cap on a marvelous career. For more on Shanahan and the rumors click here.
Updated (7:50 PM) The Rangers have traded D Brian Fahey to the Colorado Avalanche for D Nigel Williams. Fahey, 28, had 4 goals and 20 assists in 66 games for the Hartford Wolfpack last season. Williams, 21, was a second round pick of the Avalanche in 2006. The 6’4 226 lb. prospect posted 7 goals and 21 points for Lake Erie (AHL) last season. Hockey’s Future ranks Williams as the Avalanche’s 3rd highest prospect and says he has “unusually good puck-handling and skating skills for a player of his size.”
Just like with the Gomez trade when Sather got Ryan McDonagh from the Canadiens, it looks like he has pulled off another robbery turning a depth defenseman into a top young prospect with size. If nothing else, Sather has added to his stockpile of impressive young defensive prospects and trade chips.
Filed under: prospects | Tags: Brandon Dubinsky, Derek Stepan, hockey, New York Rangers, NHL, prospects, Shattuck-St.Mary's, Wisconsin Badgers
Derek Stepan, Center
6-0, 168 lbs.
Date of Birth: 06-18-1990
Drafted in 2nd Round of 2008 NHL Draft
Stepan is an intelligent playmaker who possesses an all around game and loves to play along the boards and in the corners. After leading his prep school Shattuck-St. Mary’s in scoring (44 goals and 67 assists) during the 2007-08 season , Stepan was drafted by the Rangers. This past season he attended the University of Wiscoinsin and posted 9 goals and 24 assists in 40 games as a freshman. Where Stepan really impressed his coaches was off the ice as the freshman showed the ability to work hard, pick up on the coaching and be a team leader by example. The Rangers scouts see his maturity as a sign of things to come and project him to be a future second line center and possibly claim a leadership role upon his entry at the NHL level.
What the Scouts are saying:
“Derek Stepan has the ability to make plays and score goals. He understands how to do all the little things defensively that are such an important part of winning hockey games.” Ray Clearwater, Rangers’ amateur scout.
The word so far on Stepan has been that he is “consistent, hard working and a leader”. Sounds alot like another Rangers prospect who has graduated to a spot with the big club and shown his value to the franchise over the last two seasons, Brandon Dubinsky. If Stepan continues to develop physically and sticks to building his all around game, he could grow into the type of player that could pay huge dividends in the second line center spot for the franchise. Here is some video of Stepan during his freshman season at Wisconsin (He assists on the first goal, then scores the second on a shot from in front):
Next Week: Ryan McDonagh
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.