This year promises to be quieter than most for many teams, but despite the Rangers seemingly impossible position with the Salary Cap, there’s still some room to maneuver. Glen Sather made his first move yesterday by reacquiring Sean Avery off of re-entry waivers, something that is almost certainly going to have some impact on the team.
With that in mind, we take a look at which Rangers might be at most risk of moving on to another team.
Blair Betts – 50% chance of being moved
Betts appears to be an extra in John Tortorella’s system. While the impending UFA has proven his value as a penalty killer and forechecker, the new coach already appears to be looking elsewhere, calling out Fredrik Sjostrom as a key PKer and using several other players when short handed.
At $615K this year, Betts is relatively cheap, and there has been rumor that Detroit has shown interest. Certainly he’s the type of player a team in the hunt for the playoffs could add relatively easily to improve their team’s defense. Look for a third/fourth rounder or a mid-tier prospect as a reasonable return on Betts.
Nigel Dawes – 50% chance of being moved
With the addition of Sean Avery, who played left wing when he was with the Rangers last time around, Nigel Dawes appears to be at risk of losing his roster spot. While Dubinsky could slot back into center (with Korpikoski replacing Betts on the fourth line), it seems likely at this stage that Dawes will be initially watching from the sidelines if he stays.
Dawes would be the perfect addition for a team out of the playoff running who are looking for a guy to add some offense. His $587K salary is very affordable, even if he gets a good sized raise come the summer when he’s a RFA.
Petr Prucha – 40% chance of being moved
Despite getting more playing time (and a goal) while playing under Tortorella, there’s still significant questions as to the long term viability of Prucha with the Rangers. At $1.6M he comes with a significant Cap hit for the amount of production he’s provided, and he’s up for contract renewal (RFA) this summer.
A team that is not in the running for the playoffs, might consider Prucha as an option to provide some offense, but the Rangers would likely want a roster player in return, or could potentially move him to make room for a bigger deal (Keith Tkachuk anyone?).
Aaron Voros – 20% chance of being moved
After being a healthy scratch and then placed on waivers, Voros appears to be well and truly in the doghouse. Voros is likey one of those players who were “out of shape” according to Tortorella, and he’ll have to prove he belongs in the NHL by working hard in the AHL.
With two years remaining on his contract after this season, at $1M per season, it seems unlikely that a team will be willing to pick him up. It’s possible a team looking for some physical depth might take a flyer on him on waivers, or the Wild may consider reclaiming him, but both seem like long shots.
Erik Reitz – 10% chance of being moved
With a fractured bone in his foot (protective boot should be coming off any day) and only limited NHL experience, Reitz appears to be unlikely to be claimed off waivers. He does provide some grit, is cheap ($500k) and is a RFA this summer, but that’s about all he’s got going for him currently.
Other Roster Players
While many may point to the size (and duration) of many of the Ranger contracts remaining on the books, and predictions that the Salary Cap could go down as much as 10-20% two years from now, there are also other reasons why Glen Sather may be reluctant to move any of his big contracts.
All you Michal Rozsival, Wade Redden an Dmitri Kalinin fans will likely be relieved to hear that trading a defenseman seems out of the question, unless the Rangers acquire another defenseman in return. Already at the bare minimum six on the roster, the Rangers are more likely to be adding a body than removing one.
As for up front, while there was some suggestions in the paper recently that Scott Gomez‘s name was floated a month or so ago, it appears that neither him, nor the Rangers’ captain will be moving today.
In The System
For the right deal, it’s possible the Rangers would consider moving a player like Bobby Sanguinetti. With Michael Del Zotto also out there, the Rangers could potentially make a deal that sends Sanguinetti out for some help now. Artem Anisimov too may be a consideration given the Rangers’ depth at center, though maybe there’s less likelihood of that.
It seems unlikely that New York will move Del Zotto or Evgeni Gravchev at this point, but others might be considered for the right deal.
Potential Trading Partners
While much has been made about Glen Sather‘s penchant for trading with people he knows, it probably holds true for much of the league. Still Sather does have a record of dealing with certain franchise more than others, and below is a list of whom he might be talking to today:
Avalanche – New York has been reportedly scouting the Avalanche, but there have been only two deals between the two teams, the last was sending Matthew Barnaby to Colorado in 2004
Blue Jackets – Sather seems comfortable dealing with the Jackets, and the blockbuster over the summer that saw Nikolai Zherdev come to the Rangers, appears to have worked for both teams
Coyotes – Don Maloney has shown he’s not shy about dealing with his former boss, and with Phoenix out of the playoff picture once again, there’s no reason not to think this won’t happen again
Kings – In 2007 Sather acquired Sean Avery from the Kings, and while the Rangers appear to have gotten the better of the deal, LA is one team the Rangers have reportedly been scouting
Lightning – The Lightning are near the bottom of the standings, have a trade history with the Rangers AND former Lightning coach John Tortorella is behind the bench
Maple Leafs – Sather and Toronto GM Brian Burke have made deals before, the Leafs are out of the playoffs and the Rangers need help…could work.
Predators – The Rangers traded Hugh Jessiman to the Predators earlier this year and appear to have a good working relationship with the team.
Senators – While there hasn’t been a trade between the two clubs since 2004, the position of Ottawa out of the playoffs, may make this a little easier to do this time around
Stars – There have been a handful of trades between the two teams over Sather’s tenure, and with the Stars struggling, there could be an opportunity here once again
Blackhawks – Sather has made a few deals with the Hawks in his tenure, and there may still be an opportunity to work something out this time, though it seems unlikely
Canucks – Always a possibility the two teams haven’t deal with each other though since 2005 when Fedor Fedorov was sent eastward
Capitals – Last night’s performance aside, the Capitals seem uncatchable from a Rangers point of view, so there’s an outside chance, and a handful of trades between the two teams
Ducks – The last trades the Rangers did with the Ducks were in 2006 with Brian Burke in the front office. Don’t expect too much going on this time around.
Flames – Sather called up the Flames in 2004 when the big purge was on, but with both teams in playoff contention now in their respective conferences, it doesn’t seem likely this time around
Hurricanes – The Canes and Rangers have a reasonable trading record over the last few years (three trade transactions), but with the Canes still in contention it doesn’t seem as likely this time around.
Oilers – It seemed at one stage that every move was made with the Oilers, but there hasn’t been a trade between the two clubs since the lockout. With the Oilers precariously holding onto a playoff position (like the Rangers), it seems unlikely this time around either.
Panthers – No trades between these two teams since 2004, but there’s always a potential
Red Wings – Glen Sather has not made a single trade with the Red Wings since joining the Rangers…but there’s almost always rumors of potential moves between the two clubs
Sharks – The Rangers have made a couple of deals with the Sharks over the years, but it’s uncertain what each team might be able to offer the other
Thrashers – Two years ago Sather sent Pascal Dupuis to the Thrashers, but there’s been little going on between the two teams.
Wild – New York and Minnesota have made several deals over the years, but all have been the minor variety (including Erik Reitz for Dan Frtische) this year.
Canadiens – While there have been trades between the two clubs, with them both battling for a playoff spot, it appears that neither will want to run the risk of helping the other
Devils – There has never been a trade between the Rangers and Devils
Flyers – Just six points back of the Flyers, don’t expect anything to happen between these division rivals
Islanders – There has only ever been one trade between the Isles and Rangers, and that Ron Stewart for money
Penguins – Like the other teams in the division, the Rangers aren’t going to want to help the Penguins at this stage
Sabres – Neil Smith was in the Rangers front office the last time these two teams made a deal, with the Sabres in the playoff hunt, don’t expect anything this time