Red, White and Blueshirts


Free Agency Rumblings (UPDATED)

There are some rumblings on the free agency front this morning concerning the Rangers. The most surprising news comes from The Fourth Period where Derek Morris’ agent says that he has spoken several times with the Rangers and that they are still interested in bringing Morris back to Broadway. The agent also says that length of contract isn’t as important to Morris as feeling comfortable where he plays. Morris seemed to have nothing but good things to say during his brief tenure here last season so this situation may bear watching if Morris would be willing to accept a one or two year deal for probably less than the 3.25 million he made last year.

Derek Morris

Derek Morris

Chicago Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg is close to re-signing with the team for a reported 3 years at around 9 million dollars. This will almost surely (along with the Marian Hossa and Cam Barker signings) force the Hawks to make a trade and move some money as they still have to sign a backup goaltender to Cristobal Huet and are right against the cap for next season. The prevailing thought is that forward Patrick Sharp could be made available. If this happens, the Rangers should put in a call to GM Dale Tallon to see what it would take to bring him to NY. Sharp is a talented and young (27) winger who excels in front of the net on the power play (something the Rangers lack in their current forward group) and makes a reasonable  (by current standards) 3.9 million per season. He could probably be had for a prospect and a pick considering the Hawks current cap situation.

For the full Morris article on The Fourth Period click here. For some theories on what the Rangers might do to fill up the remaining spots on their blueline, Dan Akeson brings up  Marc Andre Bergeron, Mathieu Schneider and some other UFA options here.

Remember if any news breaks, we’ll bring it to you right here.

UPDATE (2:10 PM)- The Rangers have come to terms with restricted free agent Brian Boyle , whom they acquired from the Kings on Draft Day. Specifics of the contract were not disclosed. In other news, Saku Koivu has signed a one year 3.25 million dollar deal with the Anaheim Ducks.

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Gomez Gone

After 2 disappointing seasons on Broadway, the Scott Gomez era is over. The Rangers have traded their big free agent prize from the summer of 2007 to the Montreal Canadiens for Smithtown, L.I. native LW Christopher Higgins.

Gomez, who came to the Rangers after years of winning Stanley Cups across the river in New Jersey, could never find the right fit here with the Rangers in his two seasons on the team. After being brought in to center perennial all-star Jaromir Jagr, the two players found they both needed to control the puck too much to be a match as linemates. Numerous other attempted pairings for Gomez would only produce more of the same and eventually it seems the Rangers have decided to give up on trying to find players to mesh with him, instead moving him out and starting over and in the process, freeing up some much needed cap room entering into tomorrow’s free agency signing period.

In Higgins the Rangers get a player coming off a disappointing season of his own due to nagging injuries but also a player who will probably fit better into John Tortorella’s up tempo attacking style.

 (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The other players involved in the deal are minor league forward Tom Pyatt and defenseman Mike Busto heading with Gomez to MTL and defensive prospects Ryan McDonagh (who was MTL’s No.1 prospect) Pavel Velentenko and Doug Janik come to the Rangers with Higgins.

Analysis: This deal was a no brainer and absolute steal for Sather and the Rangers. Gomez is a very good player but it was evident towards the end of last season that it wasn’t going to work here in Manhattan. I was surprised to see Sather actually back up his strong proclamation of changes coming after last season’s embarassing loss to Washington in the first round of the playoffs but he finally kept his word. Not only did he keep his word but he didn’t just dump Gomez and his albatross of a contract, he actually got back a serviceable winger in Higgins and a top prospect in McDonagh (which has Habs fans blazing up the internet with rage towards GM Bob Gainey seldom seen from them) that could pay dividends for the organization now and in the future. This move also made us players in the upcoming free agency period by freeing up cap room to possibly land Gomez’s replacement at center or a top scoring winger the team so desperately lacked since the departure of Jagr.