Red, White and Blueshirts


Roster Reshaping Continues

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.

Ryan Callahan Signs 2 Year 4.6 Miilion Dollar Contract

Ryan Callahan Signs 2 Year 4.6 Miilion Dollar Contract

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.

Enver Lisin, acquired from Phoenix for Lauri Korpikoski, brings his speed to the Blueshirts

Enver Lisin, acquired from Phoenix for Lauri Korpikoski, brings his speed to the Blueshirts

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.

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New Beginnings

I decided to launch the website today because this is the perfect time to enter into the stratosphere of New York Rangers hockey. Just a few days ago, The Rangers made their selections in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft with an eye on developing young talent for the future of the franchise. Here is a rundown of their selections along with information on each of the newest members of the NHL and the Rangers and my analysis of each pick:

No. 19: Chris Kreider, C -The 6-2, 205 Forward who was ranked by many as the top skater in the draft is headed to Boston College next season. The high schooler (Andover)had an impressive 33 goals and 23 assists in 26 games last season.

 NY Rangers First Round Pick Chris Kreider (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

NY Rangers First Round Pick Chris Kreider (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

My Take: Kreider is a speed demon with a lightnick quick burst. While he won’t be ready to contribute at the pro level for a few years, He is definitely a nice chip to have in our organization with terrific upside. The only concern is that he has only proven himself against high schoolers and will have to put some size on his frame to compete at the next level but you can’t teach speed and he has plenty to burn.

No. 47: Ethan Werek, C – The 6-1 center compiled 32 goals and 32 assists in 66 games for Kingston of the Ontario Hockey League.

My Take: From all reports, Werek is a tough player who has no problem getting dirty to make plays in the corners. He may be shifted to the wing sometime before he reaches the NHL if that becomes a bigger need for the organization. We can always use more forwards who play a gritty game.

No. 80: Ryan Bourque, C – The son of NHL Hall of Famer Ray Bourque totalled 20-26-46 in 48 games in the U.S. Development program and will play in Quebec Major Juniors next season.

My Take: Bourque is smallish but energetic and has tremendous work ethic as you would expect from the son of a Hall of Famer. He will have to prove that he can play bigger than his frame but I think this was a good risk pick for the Rangers that could work out nicely in a few years. May also be moved to wing.

No. 127: Roman Horak, C – In Czech juniors, the 6-0 forward was 16-17-33 in 31 games.

My Take: Horak is a very mature kid who has played in both international competition and in the Czech Elite League. He is considered a strong on the puck forward and like the others may be moved to wing if needed. A good character pick from Sather.

No. 140: Scott Stajcer, G -The 6-3 backstop compiled a 3.57 GAA and .906 save percentage appearing in 35 games for the Ontario Hockey League’s Owen Sound.

My Take: Stajcer is a project. The Rangers have Henrik Lundqvist locked up for the near future so Stajcer, along with Chad Johnson (whom the Rangers acquired from Pittsburgh on Day 2 of the draft) will be vying along with Matt Zaba to one day be his backup at the NHL level.

No. 170: Daniel Maggio, D -The 6-3, 198 defenseman skated for Sudbury of the Ontario Hockey League and recorded 60 penalty minutes in 44 games.

My Take: I like this pick because it gives us a defensive project with size and a stay at home mentality to go along with our already deep group of offensive D man prospects like Sanguinetti, Del Zotto and Potter.

No. 200. Mikhail Pashnin, D – The 20 year old russian played for Mechel last season and had a stat line of 4-12-16. He was the No. 1 overall pick in the KHL draft earlier this month.

My Take: Pashnin could be an absolute steal or nothing but hype. He may never come to North America after being chosen first in the KHL draft. From all reports, he is a talented offensive defenseman with strong skating and playmaking skills but may have problems with his maturity level. I think this was the kind of talented kid you can take a flier on with your last pick. Another nice pick by Sather.