Rangers Re-Sign Raanta To Two Year Deal

As the players left MSG training center a week ago to begin their summer, no one was really sure who on the team would be back. Well we know one person that will be (unless there is a rarely seen sign and trade) as the Rangers made this announcement this morning:

The Rangers re-signed someone before I got around to writing my keep or dump posts? That’s…different.

For the record, I was planning to keep Antti Raanta as every team needs a veteran backup goaltender. It’s the reason why I was worried about letting Cam Talbot go last summer. But the Rangers knew what they were doing then and they showed today that they still do now as I love this deal as much as I did the trade made for him a year ago.

Raanta made it clear a week ago he wanted to return and after posting a 11-6-2 record with a 2.24 GAA and .919 SV%, the Rangers made sure to get that done right away. The soon to be 27-year old always smiling Finn was the perfect compliment to Lundqvist and was always ready to be called into action when needed. (We’ll ignore that one game in February vs. the Kings.)

The deal is reportedly two years at around $1 million per year. If that is the deal, no complaints here as that is the perfect deal for a veteran backup. Am I surprised he got the second year? I’ll be more surprised if he’s here for it but the Rangers had to give it to get him to sign.

And with that, welcome back Antti!


(Photo: Melissa Andus)


Rangers Keep Working, Re-Sign Fast + Miller

I knew when Dylan McIlrath signed earlier in the day that he wouldn’t be the only one today. I just wasn’t expecting two out of the three big ones to be crossed off the list. I am 100% convinced that Gorton was on vacation until this week and plans to be back on vacation starting next week.

First it was Jesper Fast:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsGetting Fast back in the fold was a no-brainer and never looked to be a problem. The fact that they got him signed for two years at $950k per year is incredible. (I had him pegged for between $1 – $1.2 million.)

But then came the real magic as the Rangers also announced this: Β 


J.T. Miller didn’t just sign, he signed his qualifying offer which was one year at approximately $874k. I am shocked. Not only did I assume he would get double that but I also never in my wildest dreams expected him to sign this early. Honestly, I had him pegged as the “problem RFA”, a.k.a. the player who signed while the rest of the team was taking physicals at the start of camp. And the fact he signed his qualifying offer? Since when do Rangers players do that?

According to Larry Brooks, Miller opted to protect his arbitration rights by taking his qualifier and therefore being able to get a bigger deal next year. If he takes the next step as expected, it could work like a charm for him. I’ll ignore the fact it is making next summer an even bigger disaster as a couple of Boston boys, actually all of the Boston boys currently on the team, need new contracts.

So what does that leave? Well Mat Bodie needs a contract but that will be an easy one that will be taken care of soon (if it hasn’t been already). Which only leaves one more…

Derek Stepan.

At this point if they go to arbitration, I will be pissed off. Gorton has done a phenomenial job of taking care of everyone else for less than everyone predicted meaning there is plenty of money remaining for Stepan. (Plenty as in what most people expect him to get. He doesn’t need to take more just because it’s there.)

I will be away for the weekend so I’m expecting this to be taken care of then. This way Gorton can go back to his summer vacation plans starting Monday.


(Photo: Melissa Andus)

Another One Down, Rangers Re-Sign McIlrath

One look at what the Rangers have done the past two days tells me that the front office had been on vacation to start the month…and wants to get back on vacation as soon as possible. No complaints on that.

After re-signing Oscar Lindberg and Emerson Etem yesterday, the Rangers continued to lock in their RFAs this morning. Next up, Dylan McIlrath:


It is a one-way contract for one year at $600k. I’ll admit that is cheaper than I expected. As for the contract, the one-way means he will be paid the same amount whether he plays in the NHL or AHL so in regards to those of us watching the team, it means nothing to us.

Belief is that McIlrath has made strides in his play and could be close if not ready to make the jump to the NHL. He played 73 games last year and had six goals, 17 points and 165 penalty minutes. I unfortunately haven’t had a chance to watch him play so I’m intrigued to see him in training camp.

McIlrath will be subjected to waivers (I believe due to his age & how many pro games he’s already played) so it will be interesting to see how he does in camp as well as the Rangers plans for the roster. Right now, I don’t see a spot for him unless they plan to keep him around as a spare which really doesn’t make sense to me. But if he proves he deserves a spot, it’s possible we will see another defenseman traded before the start of the season. Either way, this is a big camp for the guy known as the Undertaker.

Four more to go, Gorton!


(Photo: Melissa Andus)

Rangers Re-Sign Lindberg, Etem

Looks like things might be a little different around the Rangers this summer. Typically, free agents with no leverage (i.e. RFAs with no arbitration rights) are the last to sign. But today the Rangers locked two of them up.

First came this signing:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsNot surprised Oscar Lindberg was signed before the RFAs we are all waiting for. While many have him penciled in for opening night, he is still a prospect who will be fighting for a spot in camp and could start in Hartford. In other words, his contract wasn’t going to be an issue.

The surprise came with the next signing: Β 


I honestly didn’t expect Emerson Etem to be the first of the “big four” to sign. Problem is we’ve all penciled him in for the Rangers and assumed he will be on the team. He has bounced back and forth between the NHL and AHL so that probably shouldn’t have been a guarantee which may explain the next part.

As for terms on both:


Lindberg is exactly what I expected. (Brooks actually later updated that to say it was $650,000 per year. I know every penny counts but not a big difference there.) Surprised Etem signed for his qualifying offer but that explains why his was done so early. He probably wants to prove what he can do and then try to cash in next year. For now, that works for the Rangers.

With both Lindberg and Etem signed, that leaves five RFAs to go – Derek Stepan, J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast, Dylan McIlrath and Mat Bodie. If I had to guess, the last three will be the next ones signed. It is possible the team is done until the end of the month when Stepan is sorted out but it’s possible they want to see how much they have available for him. Either way, I’d expect most of those guys to be signed before August.


On a separate note, news came out today that ex-Ranger Taylor Pyatt has decided to retire. It’s no secret his signing didn’t work out here but that doesn’t mean we can’t wish him the best as he moves on to the next stage of his life. Enjoy your retirement, Taylor!


(Photo: Photo: Chris Rutsch/flickr)

It’s Official: Rangers Re-Sign Zuccarello

It’s been a strange couple of weeks between the Rangers and Mats Zuccarello. I said a few weeks ago that I thought his time might be coming to an end in New York when the Rangers began a PR battle in the media. I thought for sure it was over when it became a full blown PR battle over the weekend. But there is a reason the Rangers pull that move. Sometimes it actually works:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsGive them credit – they not only got him signed, but got him signed at their price. I do love that Glen Sather basically admitted he pulled the stunt to get the young Norwegian signed. I’m not surprised he did it or admitted he did it. I am surprised Zuccarello and his camp went for it. I guess he really does love it here. Which is good because we need more “Boys in Blueshirts” segments.

According to the Daily News, the contract has an interesting no trade clause as Zuccarello has a full NTC for next year and then nothing for the remainder of the contract. Not sure I’ve ever seen that before but there must be a reason behind it.

During his post deadline media available, Sather was asked about Zuccarello and said: Β 


That basically sums it up when it comes to Zuccarello and is the reason fans wanted him to stay. And while I will always understand players asking and wanting more money, I’m glad he came in at a reasonable cost. Now time to move on to the next one (*cough*Stepan*cough*).

In the meantime, welcome back Zucc!


(Photo: Melissa Andus)

No Controversy This Year: Marc Staal Stays In New York

Unlike last year, Rangers fans don’t have to wait until the deadline to find out what will happen to their big name UFA. Because just a couple of days after his 28th birthday, Marc Staal did this:


Well that makes the next two months a whole lot easier. The contract is believed to be for 6 years, $34.2 million ($5.7 per year) with a no-move clause in the first three years and limited no trade clause in last three.

Am I surprised this happened so early or that he is staying? That would be a no on both. I have been predicting he would stay all season. (Guess my dream was right again.) And as for the contract being done so quickly, the fact that there were no articles regarding contract negotiations told me everything was going just fine. Think about it. Did you see a single contract number or issue regarding Marc Staal all season? There was nothing. By this time last year, Ryan Callahan had been signed and traded a hundred times while no one knew what was going on with Dan Girardi. The formula is pretty simple here.

So let’s talk about the contract.

I have one issue – his cap hit is higher than Dan Girardi’s. I know he’s younger but he’s also injury prone and one hit away from a career-ending concussion. (I know technically every player is and I hate to say that but once you’ve had a major one, you are more prone to them.) And the eye injury is still an issue to me. Due to that, he will always be on the Rangers second defense pair so he shouldn’t be paid more than those on the first pair. (Not including Ryan McDonagh who is ridiculously underpaid since he was coming off his entry level contract. The numbers for Girardi and Staal will be doubled for McDonagh in his next contract.)

That said, getting Staal to stay for a cap hit of under $6 million a year is an absolute win to me. He said from the beginning he wanted to stay in New York and I believed him. He repeated it after the contract was done but seeing him sign this contract proves it.

As for the fact that he is staying in New York, I know a lot of people were against re-signing him. I wasn’t. Here’s why:

You can’t replace him. I don’t care what people think, you can’t. The Rangers have one of the best top four D because all four could be a top defenseman on another team. You take one away and move someone else up, in this case John Moore or Matt Hunwick (or someone from outside), and suddenly that defense doesn’t look as good. (It would not be Kevin Klein as Klein plays the opposite side.) Does he have moments where I want to staple him to the press box? Of course he does. So does Ryan McDonagh and Henrik Lundqvist. Doesn’t mean I’m actually doing it.

Either way, while he does drive me nuts, I am glad he’s staying. And it means we get #StaalsAreBrothers for another six years. Question is how many teams will we get to do that with? (By the way, you know Marc likes New York if he was willing to go against mom in trying to be on the same team as his brothers.)

Time to celebrate six more years ofΒ Marc Staal!


(Photo: Melissa Andus)

Cam Is Staying! Rangers Netminder Signs Extension

I am going to learn to start expecting news from the Rangers every day. Whenever I expect nothing, something always happens. That said, I definitely wouldn’t have been expecting this:


According to Larry Brooks of the Post, the extension is one year at $1.45 million. Nice little bump from the $575,000 he’s making this year. But he’s earned it.

Talbot was always one of the wild cards in regards to next years’ roster. Would the Rangers keep him or use him at trade bait at the deadline to fill a different need and bring a cheaper replacement in? I honestly had no idea which way they planned to go. Once they decided to keep him, signing him early was a no-brainer for two reasons.

First, there’s a guy in the locker room who doesn’t wear the C but everyone considers the captain. You want to keep him happy. The assumption here is Talbot as his backup keeps him happy. So the Rangers made it be known early they were keeping him around.

Secondly, of all the guys that need to be re-signed this summer, he was the easiest to take care of. Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast and John Moore are all restricted free agents. Which means they really don’t have to worry about them until the summer. Marc Staal isn’t coming cheap and is going to happen when it happens. As we saw last year, that one will probably happen closer to March. (And by happen, I mean a decision will be made. He’ll either be re-signed or traded.) That leaves Matt Hunwick (who may or may not be re-signed), Mats Zuccarello (who is in the same boat as Talbot was except his raise will be bigger) and Marty St. Louis (who I would be surprised if done before the summer). Of the three, St. Louis isn’t going anywhere if the Rangers say they want him so he’ll wait to see what’s available. I haven’t a clue what to expect with the other two.

But those are issues for another day. For now, the Rangers have roughly $47.448 million tied up in seven forwards, four defensemen and two goalies. Not pretty but could be a lot worse. The bigger issue is a few of those missing pieces listed above are going to get huge paydays. But it’s only December. I’m not worrying about that yet.

For now, welcome back Cam!