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: AHL, Atlanta Thrashers, Chris Chappell, contract, Corey Locke, depth, Donald Brashear, Free Agency, Glen Sather, Hartford Wolfpack, Marion Gaborik, New York Rangers, NHL, Nik Antropov, Nikolai Zherdev, P.A. Parenteau, signings, Tyler Arnason
While the Rangers were quiet on the second day of free agency, a few notable moves took place. The first being the departure of Rangers winger Nik Antropov, who was acquired at last season’s trade deadline, when he signed a 4 year 16 million dollar deal with the Atlanta Thrashers. The Rangers had some interest in getting Antropov to return to the team early on but after Sather spoke to his agent and was told Antropov was seeking more than 5 million annually, the team instead turned it’s attention to the other options available both already on the roster (qualifying Nikolai Zherdev for next season) and in free agency (Gaborik). Some question whether the Rangers would have been able to fit Antropov into their plans at the 4 million per year he eventually signed for if they had not given Donald Brashear such a ridiculous 2 year contract but I believe that both sides had already felt it was better to move on to newer pastures.
The Rangers also signed a trio of depth forwards that are almost certainly destined to begin the season with the team’s affiliate, the Hartford Wolfpack. Tyler Arnason, a defensive forward and NHL veteran having spent time with the Chicago Blackhawks and Colorado Avalance was signed to a two way contract and could get a chance to make the fourth line of the big club during training camp. Chris Chappell, an undrafted free agent who scored 38 goals and added 38 assists for Owen Sound of the OHL last season and Corey Locke, who lead the AHL’s Houston Aeros in scoring last season were signed to minor league deals. The Rangers also re-signed P.A. Parentau who plated for the Wolfpack last season.