Rangers Still Have Only Two Ex-Badgers

And “the decision” has finally been made – highly sought-after free agent Justin Schultz is going to Edmonton. (Side note: I love how the Oilers stated “they have agreed to terms” with Schultz. The contract was set no matter who signed him so shouldn’t they say “Schultz has agreed to come to the Oilers” instead?)

For those who haven’t followed the Schultz story, here’s a breakdown:

  • He was drafted in the second round by the Anaheim Ducks in 2008.
  • This year he decided he would leave the University of Wisconsin and start his pro career – but stated from the start that he would not sign with the Ducks.
  • A clause in the CBA allows him to declare he is leaving school and open up a 30-day negotiating window with the team that drafted him. If an agreement isn’t reached, he becomes an unrestricted free agent. This is the option Schultz choice.
  • This week, he met with his agents and narrowed down the list of teams he would possibly go to and then arranged meetings with each one after which he would make a decision.

As a fan of one of the teams on that short list, I have been very split on if I wanted him to come or not. On one side, he is a touted prospect that is supposed to be “can’t miss” and would shore up the teams’ defense even more than it already is. But something happened between him and Anaheim which just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I also don’t like how his signing has become a show. Part of it is absolutely the medias’ fault as they made sure to talk about every aspect of the process. But he isn’t completely innocent in how this went down as he had to know that would happen if he did it this way.

Either way, he will not be a Ranger. I wish him luck with the Oilers and do hope he can live up to the hype for his sake. Anyone who wishes otherwise…well I’ll just say I disagree with you.

 

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Welcome Back Marty!

All was quiet on the Rangers front as July 1st continued to quickly approach. I don’t know about everyone else, but quietness around the Rangers worries me. And just when I thought I was going to have to write a post saying goodbye to our UFAs that weren’t re-signed, this tweet appeared on my timeline:

In my eyes? Perfect contract. I like this years, I like the money. With all the craziness going on the past few days (I’m looking at you Jay Feaster), I was worried they wouldn’t be able to work this out. We all know we won’t get as lucky with our other UFA that should be returning (not happy with you Prust…) so I’m glad this was taken care of.

Honestly, I knew he wanted to come back and I knew the Rangers wanted him to come back but the goalie market is thin this year and money talks. Apparently the lure of that wasn’t enough and Biron decided to stay where he was comfortable. And happy….

The best part? Two more years of Biron’s Journal and interviews from Jacob 🙂 If you don’t know what I’m talking about it, you can look them up on Blueshirts United here.

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I’m also beginning to think I’m a jinx with this stuff. I wrote in my post about next years’ schedule that Marc Staal would see his brothers back to back if Jordan stayed in Pittsburgh. Twenty-four hours later he was a Hurricane. One Wednesday, I wrote that for the time being the Rangers have three members on CBA negotiating committee but that could change. Now we’re guaranteed at least one. So who/what should I jinx next? Hmm…

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As for other news today, as reported by our fabulous Canadiens writer on Intermission Report, the Montreal Canadiens have signed CT Whale assistant coach JJ Daigneault as an assistant coach starting next season. While I am very happy for him and he absolutely deserves this opportunity, this is a huge loss for the organization. There are no words to describe the work he has done with our defense. At least we can remember the stamp he left on the organization every time the boys hit the ice. Congrats JJ!

Three Rangers On CBA Negotiating Committee

What do you mean there might not be a season next year? What can I do to make sure that doesn't happen? (Photo: Bridget Samuels/flickr)

Today, the NHLPA completed their meetings in advance of the beginning of CBA negotiations with the league. The end of that meeting brought the announcement of who would be on the 31-member negotiating team for the NHLPA.

As of this writing, the Rangers will have three members on that team. Why do I specify “as of this writing”? Because two of the members are UFA forward Ruslan Fedotenko and UFA goaltender Martin Biron while the third is Brandon Dubinsky, the guy who has been linked to 29 teams for next season (or every team that is not the Rangers since everyone assumes he will be traded). Being that of the 50-something players who were in Chicago for the meetings only one was a Ranger (Martin Biron, although Dubinsky has an excuse since I believe he’s on his honeymoon), I was worried the team wouldn’t be involved. I feel they should be and am glad they are.

The full list of players can be found here. Talks officially begin on Friday. Let the war begin.

Qualifying Offers Given To 6 Out Of 11 RFAs

Cam Talbot, #1 goalie for the Whale. (Photo: James DiBianco/flickr)

As necessary by the current CBA, the Rangers sent out qualifying offers to their restricted free agents they wanted to keep. Those who received offers (which had to be 105% of the salary they received the previous season, salary not cap hit) were:

* Michael Del Zotto. This was a given. Now the two sides get to start negotiating a contract. Please do not act like Dubinsky during this process Del Zotto. There is no reason for arbitration or a hold out. (Yes I know Dubinsky never made it to arbitration but he came REALLY close.)

* Anton Stralman. This one surprised me a little bit but I guess the Rangers want to keep his rights in case he does decide to stay in the NHL. Either way, I don’t expect him back.

* Mats Zuccarello. This was a formality to make sure they didn’t lose him for nothing if he wanted to stay in or return to the NHL. I would be absolutely shocked if he returned to the Rangers next season (or at any point for that matter).

* Cam Talbot. The goalie of the future for the Rangers. Or backup goalie of the future since Henrik isn’t leaving anytime soon. Either way, he’s the best guy we have after the King so he wasn’t going anywhere.

* Casey Wellman. Guess they liked what they saw after he joined the team in the middle of the season. For those who don’t remember, the Rangers received Wellman from the Wild for Erik Christensen. He may fight for a spot in camp although I would think an injury call-up is more likely.

* Pavel Valentenko. This was another formality as Valentenko has already signed a two-year contract in the KHL. Would’ve been nice to see him make the Rangers this year if only to rub another player in Montreal’s face that they could’ve had. (He was also part of the Gomez deal, or the deal that keeps on giving as many Rangers fans know it as.)

Those who did not receive qualifying offers and are therefore able to sign with any team they want include Andreas Thuresson, Lee Baldwin, Francois Bouchard, Sam Klassen and Chris Chappell. As I’m not very familiar with any of these guys, I’m assuming this isn’t an unexpected development.

Now that the qualifying offers are out of the way, the team can focus on their unrestricted free agents. Speaking of which, only five more days to get Martin Biron under contract. Someone should get on that!

Belated Birthday Wishes + Development Camp Begins

Yesterday, we wished young defenseman Michael Del Zotto a happy 22nd birthday. Unfortunately, we (read: I) did not realize there were TWO Rangers birthdays to celebrate on June 24th and as I was out all day, could not correct my mistake till now.

Of course she f***ing forgot about me. (Photo: Clyde/flickr)

Happy Belated Birthday Coach! Please don’t yell at me too much for not posting on your birthday 😉

On a side note, does anyone else find it funny that Tortorella and Del Zotto share a birthday? Probably just me but I found it ironic for some reason.

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As for other news, the Rangers annual Prospect Development Camp begins today and runs through Friday. This is the week where the poor babies drafted by the Rangers this weekend as well as picks from the last few years come to the training center and learn what it takes to make the Rangers. I’m pretty sure they go through the same drills and tests as the players do before the season which means most will be wishing 29 other teams called their names.

This years roster includes three out of the four picks the Rangers made this year (Danish forward Thomas Spelling will not be in attendance) as well as the top picks from the last two years. Per the Rangers website, here is the complete roster of players attending who are currently in the Rangers system:

2012 New York Rangers Prospect Development Camp Roster
Player POS. HT WT DOB 2011-12 Team (League)
Calle Andersson D 6-2 211 5/16/94 Karlstad Jr. (Sweden U-20)
Peter Ceresnak D 6-3 209 1/26/93 Peterborough (OHL)
Jesper Fast RW 5-11 176 12/22/91 Jonkoping HV-71 (Sweden)
Marek Hrivik LW 6-1 197 8/28/91 Moncton (QMJHL), Connecticut (AHL)
Oscar Lindberg C 6-0 190 10/29/91 Skelleftea (Sweden)
Shane McColgan RW 5-9 165 1/1/93 Kelowna (WHL), Connecticut (AHL)
Dylan McIlrath D 6-5 220 4/20/92 Moose Jaw (WHL), Connecticut (AHL)
J.T. Miller C/LW 6-2 200 3/14/93 Plymouth (OHL), Connecticut (AHL)
Jason Missiaen G 6-8 198 4/25/90 Greenville (ECHL)
Cristoval “Boo” Nieves C 6-2 192 1/23/94 Kent School (Prep), Indiana (USHL)
Samuel Noreau D 6-5 215 1/31/93 Baie-Comeau (QMJHL)
Michael St. Croix C 5-11 181 4/10/93 Edmonton (WHL)
Brady Skjei D 6-3 200 3/26/94 U.S. Under-18 Team
Scott Stajcer G 6-3 195 6/14/91 Owen Sound (OHL)
Christian Thomas RW 5-9 170 5/26/92 Oshawa (OHL), Connecticut (AHL)
Andrew Yogan C 6-3 201 12/4/91 Peterborough (OHL), Connecticut (AHL)

The Rangers have also invited the following players who will fight for a chance to become a part of the system:

Player POS. 2011-12 Team (League)
Andy Bathgate C Plymouth (OHL)
Myles Bell D Kelowna (WHL)
Brandon Devlin D Windsor-Barrie (OHL)
Luke Esposito C Brunswick School (Conn. Prep)
Ben Foster C Choate (Conn. Prep)
Dane Fox C Erie-London (OHL)
Igor Golovko D Chekhov (KHL)
Barclay Goodrow LW Brampton (OHL)
Troy Grosenick G Union College (ECAC)
Gabe Grunwald G Michigan-Kenai River (NAHL)
Kyle Hope D Owen Sound-Oshawa (OHL)
Kyle Jean F Lake Superior (CCHA)
Tomas Klima F Karlovy Vary (Czech Extraliga)
Alex Rauter LW Choate (Conn. Prep)
Nikita Zaytsev D Novosibirsk (KHL)

Why do the Rangers include these extra guys? Seven years ago, I believe some guy named Daniel Girardi was one of the extras invited. Pretty sure he hasn’t done too bad since so we might want to keep an eye on these guys to see who stands out to the Rangers brass.

Unfortunately these sessions are not open to the public but for those who want to follow what goes on, the Rangers beat writers should be in attendance throughout the week so I suggest checking in with them on twitter.

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We also should be finding out today who of the Rangers restricted free agents were tendered qualifying offers, big one being Michael Del Zotto. The full list can be found here. The deadline is 5 p.m. this evening otherwise all restricted free agents become unrestricted free agents and can be signed by anyone. My guess is these have already been sent and just haven’t made it to the media yet. Of course we’ll let you know once the list is official.

Happy Birthday MDZ!

Another day, another June birthday for the Rangers. Today the youngest member of the 2011-2012 team turns 22. (You hear that fans? He’s only twenty-two! Stop trying to trade him and think you won’t regret it.)

Yes, please don’t trade me. I love New York. (Photo: Bridget Samuels/flickr)

Since it’s the off-season, Del Zotto is spending his birthday in Stouffville, ON. Speaking of the summer, guess DZ’s birthday gives us a reason to bring this video back 😉

Okay, this isn’t the Hawt Trophy so I’ll stop now. How about a great goal he scored this year?

Game winner, game 7. My favorite part of that goal – he burned Alex Ovechkin twice. For a kid everyone thinks is horrible (not me), that’s pretty damn impressive.

Really hope you are still wearing this jersey next year birthday boy… (Photo: Gregory Manno/flickr)

Happy 22nd Birthday Michael! 🙂

Draft Day 2 Notes – 3 Picks + 1 UFA Gone and a Wedding?

The Rangers weren’t expected to be busy in the actual draft on Day 2 seeing that they only had three picks. At one point it looked like they only had two but traded to get one back. So who did the team get?

In the second round, the Rangers picked Syracuse native center Cristoval Boo Nieves who played at the Kent School in Connecticut last year recording 39 points in 26 games.

The Rangers fourth round selection was Swedish defenseman Calle Andersson, son of former Rangers defenseman Peter Andersson who played 39 games with the team during the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons. Last year he notched 12 goals, 24 assists totaling 36 points in 49 games with Farjestad of the Swedish Elite League.

The team traded their third round pick to Nashville for a third round pick next year. Later they traded their fifth round pick next year also to Nashville for a fifth round pick this year. They used that pick to select Danish right wing Thomas Spelling who scored 37 points in 33 games last season. Next year, he plans to play for Rogle in Sweden.

You can read more about the picks here and here.

Lastly, regarding draft news, I want to congratulate Derek Stepan’s cousin Zachary and Brian Boyle’s brother Timothy on being drafted by the Predators and Senators respectively. Always great to see family ties join the league!

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As for other news and notes, some good news and bad news. First the bad as earlier this morning Brandon Prust tweeted this:

My initial reaction was to scream NOOOOOOOOO and get very pissed at Rangers management. Then news came out that he was asking for $2.2 million dollars a year which is over a 100% raise. Obviously I can’t confirm that but if true, he is being ridiculous and can go to whatever team is willing to pay that. Oh and if a team does, good luck living up to that contract Prust! Until it happens though I’m going to hope that it’s not true or he comes to his senses and we are able to get him back.

Now for the good news, Larry Brooks of the New York Post tweeted this quote from Sather:

Obviously this does not mean he will be ready for camp (I still don’t believe he will be). But any even remotely good news regarding Sauer I will take. “He feels a little bit better….” is amazing news in my mind after what we heard on break-up day. Get well soon Michael!

And lastly, according to Derek Stepan’s girlfriend, Brandon Dubinsky and long-time girlfriend Brenna McGuire (granddaughter of Knick’s legend Al McGuire) are getting married today. Now let’s hope Dubi doesn’t share the same fate as Jordan Staal did and get traded on his wedding day. Congrats Brandon and Brenna!

(Editor’s Note: Stepan retweeted the message and while I don’t feel it’s appropriate for me embed the actual tweet on the site, you can view it here.)