Red, White and Blueshirts


Mike Sullivan to join Rangers Staff

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.

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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.



Carolina In My Mind

Most of the news surrounding the Rangers search for a defenseman has centered on Sergei Zubov and Derek Morris but we want to add another possibility to the list. According to reports on ESPN, Carolina Hurricanes RFA Anton Babchuk is at a stalemate with the Canes over his contract and the team’s GM Jim Rutherford has told him “if he finds another team that wants him, they will attempt to trade him”. Enter the Rangers. Babchuck is the type of big bodied (6-5, 214) defenseman the Rangers desperately need but he is not just a big frame as he also has some offensive tools (16 goals and 19 assists and +13 rating last season) as well. More important than either of those things however, is the fact that Babchuk is still young (25) and looks to be coming into the prime of his career while Zubov (who missed all but 10 games last season with injury at age 39) and Morris (who has seen his point totals drop every year for the last 5 years) might be on the backside of their careeers. Babchuk would also give the Rangers another option for next season as both Dan Girardi and Marc Staal will be restricted free agents and one of both could possibly recieve offer sheets leaving Glen Sather to make a very tough decision cap wise. Like Patrick Sharp, who we discussed in this blog yesterday, Babchuk could probably be had for a package of a prospect and a pick and would not fall into that old Rangers tradition of trading prospects for “over the hill ” “Name” players. If the Rangers could get Zubov to come on a one year deal for a discount and hope he’s healthy enough to quarterback the power play and be a mentor to some of our younger D men , i’m all for it but if he wants long term or big coin to come then I think a trade for an up and comer like Babchuk is the smarter move all around.

In other Rangers news,  the two year deal signed by Brian Boyle yesterday was worth 525,000 per.  Pierre LeBrun at ESPN has updates on Zubov and the Babchuk-Hurricanes stalemate here. Steve Zipay speculates the Rangers may be looking west for a trade partner here and SNY Rangers blog has an article on the  reported interest of some KHL teams in Rangers forward Lauri Korpikoski here. (The Korpikoski story seemed like a longshot yesterday but after Detroit forward Jiri Hudler signed a deal with a team in the KHL yesterday afternoon, this may not be just the leverage ploy by Korpikoski’s agent most believed it to be at first…stay tuned)

As always if anything breaks, we’ll have it here.