Rangers Submit Qualifying Offers As Prospect Camp Begins

The deadline to qualify restricted free agents was tonight at 5pm EST. News came out around 5:20pm that the offers had been sent. Nothing like waiting until the last minute to send out offers everyone knew you were sending. I understand not sending them before this weekend, especially if they were planning on trading Hagelin. But once that was complete, I’m not sure what the delay was.

Obviously the Rangers sent qualifying offers to Jesper Fast, J.T. Miller, Derek Stepan and new winger Emerson Etem. None of those will be accepted but it means these players still belong to the Rangers on Wednesday. The team also qualified Mat Bodie, Dylan McIlrath, Oscar Lindberg, and Marek Hrivik. The only one missing from that list who was owed one is Conor Allen, meaning he won’t be returning to the Rangers organization next year. I’m a little surprised the Rangers gave up on Allen but I’m sure there is a reason. Also surprised Hrivik is being given another chance. Hopefully he makes the best of it.

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As they do every Monday following the draft, the Rangers opened their prospect camp at the MSG Training Facility today. This years’ roster includes five of the seven guys drafted on Saturday (Sergey Zborovskiy and Aleksi Saarela are missing). Per the Rangers website, here is the full roster:

PLAYER POSITION HEIGHT WEIGHT DOB 2014-15 TEAM HOW ACQUIRED
Lukas Bengtsson Defense 5-11 172 4/14/94 Frolunda (SHL) Free Agent
Jerret Smith Defense 6-2 212 4/21/95 Seattle (WHL) Free Agent
Aiden Jamieson Defense 6-1 186 3/23/96 London (OHL) Free Agent
Hayden Hodgson Right Wing 6-2 210 3/2/96 Sarnia (OHL) Free Agent
Daniel Brickley Defense 6-3 205 3/30/95 Topeka (NAHL) Free Agent
Steven Fogarty Center 6-3 212 4/19/93 University of Notre Dame (NCAA) 2011 Draft Pick
Troy Donnay Defense 6-7 205 2/18/94 Erie (OHL) Free Agent Signee
Ty Comrie Center 6-0 170 8/8/97 Tri-City (WHL) Free Agent
Christian Hilbrich Left Wing 6-7 216 7/9/92 Cornell Univesity (NCAA) Free Agent
Brad Morrison Center 6-0 160 1/4/97 Prince George (WHL) 2015 Draft Pick
Arvin Atwal Defense 6-1 194 11/26/95 Vancouver (WHL) Free Agent
Zach Bratina Left Wing 6-1 181 1/6/95 North Bay (OHL) Free Agent
Drew Melanson Left Wing 5-11 165 1/10/95 RPI (NCAA) Free Agent
Ryan Graves Defense 6-4 220 5/21/95 Quebec (QMJHL) 2013 Draft Pick
Mark Naclerio Center 6-0 185 4/4/92 Brown University (NCAA) Free Agent
Tyler Sikura Forward 6-2 195 5/18/92 Dartmouth College (NCAA) Free Agent
Cristoval Nieves Center/Right Wing 6-3 200 1/23/94 University of Michigan (NCAA) 2012 Draft Pick
Robin Kovacs Right Wing 6-0 176 11/16/96 AIK IF (Allsvenskan) 2015 Draft Pick
Ryan Mantha Defense 6-4 225 6/18/96 Niagra (OHL) 2014 Draft Pick
Stefano Momesso Left Wing 6-0 188 5/26/93 Elmira (ECHL) Free Agent
Keegan Iverson Right Wing 6-0 219 4/5/96 Portland (WHL) 2014 Draft Pick
Brandon Halverson Goaltender 6-4 185 3/29/96 Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) 2014 Draft Pick
Brady Skjei Defense 6-3 206 3/26/94 University of Minnesota (NCAA) 2012 Draft Pick
Ryan Gropp Left Wing 6-2 187 9/16/96 Seattle (WHL) 2015 Draft Pick
Kasimir Kaskisuo Goaltender 6-3 200 10/2/93 University of Minnesota – Duluth (NCAA) Free Agent
Adam Tambellini Center 6-3 195 11/1/94 Calgary (WHL) 2013 Draft Pick
Daniel Bernhardt Right Wing 6-3 191 4/11/96 Djurgarden J20 (SuperElit) 2015 Draft Pick
Richard Nejezchleb Right Wing 6-2 203 5/2/94 Tri-City (WHL) 2014 Draft Pick
Tyler Nanne Defense 5-10 174 3/17/96 Madison (USHL) 2014 Draft Pick
Ahti Oksanen Left Wing 6-3 209 3/10/93 Boston University (NCAA) Free Agent
Connor Lacouvee Goaltender 6-0 196 5/24/94 Boston University (NCAA) Free Agent
Calle Andersson Defense 6-2 211 5/16/94 HC Lugano (NLA) 2012 Draft Pick
Lukas Kozak Defense 6-2 194 10/29/91 Bratislava (KHL) Free Agent
Vinni Lettieri Left Wing 5-10 182 2/6/95 University of Minnesota (NCAA) Free Agent
Petr Zamorsky Defense 6-0 190 8/3/92 Orebro (SHL) Free Agent Signee
Adam Huska Goaltender 6-3 189 5/12/97 Green Bay (USHL) 2015 Draft Pick

 

(Sorry if that is a little difficult to read. Not sure why the borders didn’t copy as well. Follow the link if you have trouble.)

While the camp started today, the media is not allowed to attend until Wednesday so we won’t get much news before that. I’m really curious the Rangers thinking with that. Many teams have their camps open to the public so that fans can get a first glimpse of guys in the system yet the Rangers won’t even let the media in for half the camp. (It goes through Thursday.) And I’m not expecting a lot of news on Wednesday as I’m guessing the beat writers will have other things to do on July 1st…

 

(Photo: Melissa Andus)

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Rangers Add Seven Players At Draft

Apparently there was something else happening this weekend besides the trade deadline. Oh, it wasn’t the trade deadline? Well it sure felt like it.

Ah yes, the NHL draft. Friday night was round one where the Rangers did…nothing. I’m sure they had discussions with teams and put in motion the moves they made today but as for actual news, there was none since the team did not have a first round pick.

On Saturday, after a couple of moves, the team ended up with seven picks – #41, #62, #79, #89, #113, #119 and #184. I’m not going to detail how they got those picks as I believe more than half of them didn’t belong to the Rangers originally. With them, the Rangers picked up five forwards, a defenseman and a goaltender.

I’m not going to pretend to know anything about these players as I simply do not have the time to follow prospects as well as the team. I’ll obviously keep an eye on them now that they’re in the organization. Anyway, here’s who they got (all quotes per this post from Andrew Gross except were noted):

Round 2, #41 – LW Ryan Gropp (WHL, Seattle)

The 6-foot-2, 187 pounder had 30 goals and 28 assists in 67 games this season and projects as a power forward with a high ceiling.

From that little bit, I like what I hear. I’m guessing it will be a couple of years before he’s NHL ready but you can never have too many power forwards. And while this has nothing to do with hockey, according to his draft profile his favorite band is Avicii. He would fit right in with the current Rangers locker room.

There is nothing official about where he will play next year but my assumption is he will return to the WHL for at least one more year. In the meantime, Rangers fans have this to look forward to:

(Stick tap to Matt Calamia who writes for the Rangers website on finding that video.)

Round 3, #62 – RW Robin Kovacs (Sweden-2 AIK)

Kovacs, 6-foot, 159 pounds, had 17 goals and 11 assists in 52 games and is known for his on-ice tenacity and forechecking.

My initial reaction? Shortly after making the deals they did, did the Rangers really take a Swede at number 62? Just shook my head and laughed at that one.

As for the player, Kovacs lists Steven Stamkos as his favorite player and says he wants his game to be like that of Marian Hossa. Works for me! According to Gordie Clark,

“He’s one of the fastest skaters over in Sweden and he’s very, very skilled. He can score goals. We’ll give him the time to mature. We’ll wait for him.”

It will definitely be a few years before we see him officially in Rangers blue but hopefully the wait will be worthwhile. In the meantime, you can get to know him here:

http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/embed?playlist=831238&site=rangers

Round 3, # 79 – D Sergey Zborovskiy (WHL, Regina)

A 6-3, 198-pound Russian, he had three goals, 16 assists and 70 penalty minutes in 71 games and plays a physical game.

This one is an interesting pick. The Rangers keep trying to get that big, hulking defenseman in the draft and we know how successful that has been. I’m okay with them taking a chance on a player like that in the third round. My guess is he will be a project and won’t be in New York any time soon but maybe (hopefully) the team finally found the guy they are looking for.

The good news is he has already made the transition to North America by playing in the WHL last year so the team won’t have to convince him to leave Russia and then have to teach him the game on the smaller rink. I would expect another year or two in the WHL and then on to the AHL. With luck, he will be with the Rangers within the next three or four years. (I know that sounds like a lot but it really isn’t as he’ll only be 22. Plus defenseman always take a few extra years to develop.)

Oh and his favorite NHL player? Some guy named Ryan McDonagh. We love you in New York already, kid!

Round 3, #89 – C Aleski Saarela (Finland, Assat)

The 5-10, 198-pounder had six goals and six assists in 51 games last season. He reportedly is a good puck handler but an average skater.

Not sure what to think about this pick. Being a good puck handler is a good sign but he’s small and an average skater. The good news is there are ways to work on his skating. You can’t teach skill so hopefully the Rangers can turn him into a NHL player sooner rather than later.

Round 4, #113 – C Brad Morrison (WHL, Prince George)

At 5-11, 154, Morrison had 23 goals and 27 assists in 67 games last season and has the ability to create time and space on the ice for himself.

Another small forward who sounds like he has skill to make up for it. Again, hard to judge without seeing him or knowing what the Rangers plans are but could be something here. This video shows he definitely has a good set of hands. (He’ll just need to pick a new number before coming to New York.) Plus, he has the bloodlines. Take a look at this family tree:

The 6-foot, 154-pound Morrison is the son of former NHLer Doug, while his uncle Mark Morrison, was taken by the Rangers in the 1981 draft. His brother-in-law is current NHLer Josh Gorges, and his uncle is former long-time NHL defenseman Garth Butcher.

Well the kid definitely knows what he’s getting himself into. Hopefully one day he’ll get to play against his brother-in-law.

Round 4, #119 – RW Daniel Bernhardt (Sweden-Jr., Djurgarden Jr.)

The 6-3, 191-pounder had 26 goals and 35 assists in 44 games.

Bernhardt is already 19 years old but those numbers are definitely nothing to ignore, even if it is only the Swedish junior league. But honestly at this point in the draft, picks are usually a crap shoot. Some work out, some don’t. Hopefully one day we are chanting “Bern-hardt” at MSG.

Round 7, #184 – G Adam Huska (USHL,  Green Bay)

At 6-3, 189 pounds, Huska is in line with the current trend of developing taller, bigger goalies.  The Slovakian was 0-4-1 with a 4.34 goals-against average in his first USHL season.

And with their last pick, the Rangers took a goalie. I would say I have no idea why teams take goalies this late in the draft but then I remember the Rangers did that in 2000 by taking a goalie with the 205th pick. That guy was a Swede by the name of Henrik Lundqvist. Wonder what ever happened to him…

Per Clark,

“We had him highly rated and he was still there so we grabbed him,” Clark said of Huska. “You never know with goalies what will spit out in three or four years. Plus he made the commitment to come over (to North America) and was outstanding in the U18 championships (for Slovakia). So we liked those things about him, too.”

Indeed, you never know. Maybe he is the next Henrik Lundqvist. Or maybe this is the last time we mention his name. Guess we’ll find out in a few years.

 

The Rangers annual prospect camp starts Monday and it’s safe to assume many of these kids will be there. I haven’t seen the full list but will post as soon as I do.

In the meantime, welcome to the Rangers organization boys!

 

(Photo: NYR Official Twitter feed)

Rangers Find Their New Backup Goaltender

Only a couple of hours ago, I said I was worried about the Rangers trading Cam Talbot because I wasn’t sure who they would get to be the new backup goaltender. I have to stop questioning this organization.

Just when we all thought the team was done for the day, they did this:

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I am honestly trying to be impartial on this but I love this deal right now. Antti Raanta was Corey Crawford’s clear backup going into last season. When Crawford went down early in the year, Raanta was their guy and he was great. But he had one bad game so the Hawks decided to see what they had in Scott Darling…and they fell in love.

As someone who follows the Hawks, I never saw a huge difference between Raanta and Darling. They were both very capable backups. For some reason, Joel Quenneville preferred Darling and it was clear that Raanta would be on his way out. So clear that when rumors that Talbot would be traded started, I jokingly told someone to trade him and then bring in Raanta. I got my wish granted.

Over the last two seasons with the Blackhawks, Raanta has played 39 games and gone 20-9-5 with three shutouts, .912 save percentage and 2.41 GAA. Not much more you can ask of a backup goaltender. He’s signed for this season at a cap hit of $750k and then a UFA. The Rangers like that part even better than the numbers.

Basically, I will miss Cam Talbot but Sather and Company once again pulled their magic to save money and not take a hit talent wise. Now let’s just hope Raanta gets his second ring next June.

 

(Photo: Melissa Andus)

Rangers Trade Talbot, Hagelin Out West

Day one of the draft was boring. Lots of speculation, no actual action. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised as I didn’t believe Cam Talbot would fetch a first round pick but everyone else seemed to believe it was possible. The beginning of day two has been anything but quiet.

We’ll do the obvious one first – Cam Talbot is headed to the Oilers. This wasn’t really a secret, just a question of when it would happen. Heck, I said in my thoughts on the schedule that Rangers fans would be interested in December 15th. That’s when Edmonton comes to MSG. (You can also circle December 11th as that is when the Rangers go to Edmonton.)

So what did the Rangers receive for the goalie that was supposedly the best available option (but was traded after five others this weekend):

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsAnd there were people who actually believed all the ridiculous speculation that Talbot would fetch a first round or high prospects. A second, a third and a seventh round pick. Exactly what I would have paid for an un-proven goaltender who will be a UFA next summer. In my player review, I said the following on Talbot:

Cam Talbot (G, 21-9-4-5, 2.21 GAA, .926 SV%) – While there are a couple of guys with question marks, Talbot is the most interesting. The Rangers signed him to a one year extension during this season (which turned out to be one of their best moves of the year) and my guess is they absolutely want to keep him. But he would be a great trade chip to get them something else they need. That said, he would need to be replaced. I’m not sure who will be better at or below his cap hit of $1.45 million. There will be some who will say he wants to be a starter. He does. But if he wanted to do that next year, he wouldn’t have re-signed. Do I think he will be on this list a year from now? Not really. But stranger things have happened. That said, if it were up to me… KEEP (I get he’s a good trade chip but Lundqvist needs a reliable backup. He has one in Talbot.)

I stand by what I said. I would have kept him because a reliable backup on a win-now team means more to me than three late picks. But I understand why the Rangers did what they did. So I will reserve complete judgement until next week, when we find out who his replacement is. That said, I will miss Prince Cam.

But the Rangers weren’t done as at the same time, they freed a bunch of cap space by sending Carl Hagelin to the Ducks for Emerson Etem:  

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Both players are RFAs this summer. The difference? Etem is coming off his entry level contract and is owed a qualifying offer under $900k with no arbitration rights. Hagelin’s qualifier would’ve been close to $3.5 million.

I don’t usually pat myself on the back but I called this one. While everyone said Kevin Klein would be the salary dump (and he technically still could be), I said this in my player reviews:

Carl Hagelin (LW, 82 games played, 17-18-35, +18) – Hagelin and Klein are the two I really have no idea what the Rangers plans are in regards to keeping them. I said last year I wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t on the list this year. To be honest I am surprised he made it past the trade deadline, especially after they decided to keep Zuccarello. Hagelin is a terrific penalty killer whose game is based on speed. He fits perfectly in this system…as a third line player who may chip in 10-15 goals. The question is how much does he expect to be paid to do that? This year his salary was $2.4 million (salary, not cap hit) which means he will want a raise this summer. I’m not sure how much more than that the Rangers can or should pay him. I never ask or expect players to take a hometown discount but if he wants to stay, he might have to. It’s not what I want to happen (even though he drives me nuts sometimes) but I’m going with my gut on what I think will happen… DUMP (Again, I want to keep him as I think he fits in this system. I’m just not sure he (or his cost) is in the Rangers plans.)

I absolutely love Hagelin and it hurts that he’s gone, both for his play on the ice and his relationships with the team off it. I will miss his blonde hair blowing in the wind as he races up and down the ice and will never forget his overtime winner that ended the Penguins series this year. But he is a third line penalty killer. In a cap world, I’m not paying a player like that over $4 million. Honestly, I’m not paying it in a non-cap world either but every contract would be ridiculous then.

So rather than seeing him opening night, Rangers fans will get one chance to say goodbye to one of their favorite Swedes as the Ducks come to the Garden on December 22nd. I guess I have to go to that game now.

I’m not sure how either will do on their new teams, Talbot being a starter behind that defense and Hagelin in the big, rough west, but I wish them both the best of luck and really do hope they succeed. They were both rightfully loved by Rangers fans and will be missed in New York. It’s another reason why I wish the Rangers had won one of the last two years. Those two deserve to win.

As for Emerson Etem, I honestly don’t much about him other than he’s young (and cheap). He never really fit with the Ducks, continually being sent down to AHL or scratched for other players, so hopefully the change of scenery does him good.

In the meantime, welcome to New York Etem and good luck out west Cam and Carl!

 

(Photo: Melissa Andus)

Thoughts On The Rangers 2015-16 Schedule

Yesterday we found out the Rangers were the lucky ones to be in Chicago as the Blackhawks raise their Stanley Cup banner. We also found out their home opener would be part of a home and home with the Blue Jackets and that they would be in Montreal a couple of days later. Why the league feels the need to wait 24 hours to give the rest of the schedule, I will never understand but we now it and you can see it here.

While we won’t know every team that will be circled on some fans’ calendars for another week or two, there are some things we do know:

* Once again teams will play every team at least twice. For the Rangers, they will have a home and home with every team in the west, three games with every team in the Atlantic Division and at least four games against Metro Division opponents. This year, we get lucky enough to see Philadelphia and Washington five times. Because we need more games against the Flyers and Capitals

* Compared to 13 last year, the Rangers have 17 back-to-backs. That is way too many. Rangers better have a good plan in place for their back-up goaltender if they trade Talbot. Of the 17, fifteen start on the road with the boys coming home for nine of those and staying on the road for the other six. The one time where both games are home is in October vs Devils and Sharks. The only home-road back to back? February 17th and 18th with a late Wednesday night game against Chicago and then heading to Toronto. And the last back-to-back of the season? April 4th and 5th where the Rangers are in Columbus and then home for Tampa’s only visit to the Garden. Hello ex-Rangers 24-hour reunion!

* Looks like the Rangers will spend a lot of November at home with eight out of 14 games at MSG and a lot of March on the road with nine out of 14 away from MSG. I never understood it but it always falls that way. Maybe that’s why the start of the season is always bad and they make up for it as the year goes on.

* Speaking of which, the longest home stand is only three games (happens five times). Same goes for the longest road trip which is also only three games and also happens five times. Apparently that’s the first time that’s happened since 1941-42. That said, they have plenty of times where either a long home stand or road trip is broken up by one game. I never understood those.

* Not that I’m looking forward to this but the re-match of the Eastern Conference Final will take place in Tampa on November 19th. The boys (shockingly) are also in Tampa on December 30th and then face the Lightning at home on April 5th. Maybe by then I won’t want to throw things at the Bolts so won’t mind they are in town.

* As for the holidays, take a guess where the Rangers will be the day before American Thanksgiving and New Years’ Eve? If you guessed the state of Florida, you would be half correct. In an actual shocking development, the Rangers are home against the Canadiens the day before Thanksgiving. They then head to Boston the day after for the NBC Thanksgiving Showdown. (It hasn’t been listed as that yet but it being a 1pm game tells me it will be. I had bet it would be the Capitals but Bruins were my second guess.) The Rangers will spend New Years in Florida though as they are in Tampa on December 30th and Sunrise January 2nd.

* The Rangers last game of the season is at home against the Red Wings on April 9th. It is part of a three game home stand that includes the Lightning and Islanders. I say this every year but can we make sure those games mean nothing, boys? Please?

* While it means nothing now, I’m going to go out on a limb and say Tuesday, December 15th might end up being a date Rangers fans are interested in. Just a hunch.

We’ll know for sure about that date and any others we want to circle once free agency gets under way. In the meantime, only 104 days until my internal battle of watching the Rangers and Blackhawks play each other in a game that matters!

 

(Photo: Melissa Andus)

No Winners But Rangers Make Appearances In Awards Voting

Earlier this evening, the NHL held their annual Awards Ceremony. I watched exactly zero seconds of it. And that’s not because there weren’t any Rangers there. I just find the ceremony more tedious than anything the NHL airs throughout the entire season. It’s extremely forced, the non-players there are horrible and the music is usually worse. Basically, I just don’t see any point in spending two hours of my life watching it.

I do however look at the voting afterwards as that is the part that interests me. That’s where we find out what people were really thinking. Fans get to see how close the votes really were and search for who gets the “how did he get a vote for that?” award. I always get a good laugh out of those.

As has been the case recently, the Rangers made a decent showing on those later lists.

First the categories they were actually nominated in. Both Alain Vigneault and Glen Sather came in second for the Jack Adams and GM of the Year, respectively. While second place isn’t the best feeling, I’m pretty proud of our guys for coming in second out of 30 teams. Both did a great job this year and both deserved to be that high in the voting so congrats to them!

The Rangers last representative was Henrik Lundqvist, who was nominated for the Foundation Award for community service he does. He lost too. I don’t believe numbers will be released on that one but we know he came in second or third. Speaking of Lundqvist, here are the Vezina totals for this year:

1. Carey Price, MTL 114 (27-3-0)
2. Pekka Rinne, NSH 60 (1-15-10)
3. Devan Dubynk, MIN 28 (1-4-11)
4. Braden Holtby, WSH 26 (0-7-5)
5. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR 6 (1-0-1)
6. Corey Crawford, CHI 3 (0-1-0)
7. Andrew Hammond, OTT 1 (0-0-1)
Jonathan Quick, LAK 1 (0-0-1)
Cam Talbot, NYR 1 (0-0-1)

Fifth place for Lundqvist makes you wonder how he would’ve done if he hadn’t gotten hurt. He actually got one more vote than he did last year as he only had the first place vote in 2014 voting. But I have no words for the bottom of that list. I love Cam Talbot but there is no reason anyone should’ve have voted for him for the Vezina. None. But because someone did, his value just keeps on rising.

Other random Rangers votes?

Ryan McDonagh came in 11th in Norris voting. I won’t even comment on that because I think everyone knows how off of a year I think he had.

Next we have the Selke list. One year, I will get my wish and Derek Stepan will appear on that list. Until then, Rangers fans will have to settle for Rick Nash coming in 16th in the voting:

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I heard talk of him being mentioned for the award but didn’t think he would actually get enough votes to get in the top 20. Good for him as he was great on both sides of the puck this season. Nash also came in 7th for the Hart Trophy which was absolutely deserved. Yet I’m sure there are still people who want to trade him.

Kevin Hayes managed to come in 7th in Calder voting with one fourth place vote and 12 fifth place votes. Since he was better during the later part of the season, this doesn’t surprise me at all. As with Kreider last year, I have no problem with Hayes not being noticed in his rookie season and becoming a star later in his career.

Once again Marty St. Louis received votes for the Lady Byng, this time coming in 20th. I really think some of the people who vote just pick names associated with certain awards and write them down rather than doing research on every single one of them.

Honestly, for a team that won the President’s Trophy, there really wasn’t one player who stood out. Maybe that’s why they were the best team in the league. Anyway, while I would love for some of the guys to be at the Awards next year, I would love more for them to have to show up just to bring a certain big silver chalice. Maybe next year I’ll get my wish.

 

(Photo: Melissa Andus)

The New York Rangers Start Their Cup Run Against…

The Chicago Blackhawks!

In Chicago. Are you kidding me? What did the Rangers do to deserve to be the away team for the banner raising? And why on earth are the Rangers starting in the west again?

And it gets better as like last year, the Rangers once again start with three in four nights:

~ Wednesday, October 7th in Chicago
~ Friday, October 9th in Columbus
~ Saturday, October 10th, home vs. Columbus

Oh goody, a home and home with the Blue Jackets to start the season. And weren’t the Rangers their home opener last year? One year the Rangers will get a good schedule to start the season. I’m just going to keep telling myself that. The Rangers also get to make a trip to Montreal early as they will be the Canadiens home opener on October 15th.

Once again there will be a new banner above the boys when they hit the ice on the 10th but unlike during the season opener, there will be no ceremony to see it. (I’m pretty sure the President’s Trophy gets a banner.) I love all these new banners but how about we plan for next years’ home opener to be opening night and include a banner raising of our own?

Anyway, the full schedule comes out tomorrow so we can start guessing which games are must sees. (Perhaps Edmonton?)

In the meantime, some other news as GMs have been meeting in Las Vegas before the NHL Awards which take place tonight. First they announced the salary cap for 2015-16 which will be $71.4 million. That number isn’t great for the Rangers but it definitely could be worse.

They’ve also decided on some new rules:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsUgh. To me, 3-on-3 hockey is as much hockey as the shootout is. I’m hoping I feel differently after actually watching it. I’m not expecting to though. At least it’s not the AHL model which is four minutes of 4-on-4 then three minutes of 3-on-3. (The players refused to make overtime longer than five minutes.)

We also are finally going to have a coach’s challenge:  

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It’s a year and a half too late but at least goalie interference is finally being reviewed. We’ll see if it actually works though. And while I understand offside goals being an issue, with how infrequent that happens, there are other things in my mind that should’ve been on this list first. (Delay of game, anyone?)

It will be interesting to see these in play come September. Speaking of which, 89 days until the first preseason game and 105 days until opening night (not that I’m counting). Who’s ready for next season to begin?

 

(Photo: Melissa Andus)