More Rangers & Ducks News – April 26, 2011.

The Rangers must balance developing their youth with adding veteran talent, plus the reason for the Ducks downfall against Nashville.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers have a good core of young talent (Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Marc Staal) but none of them have been nominated for an NHL award or made the post-season All-Star team, leading Brooks to suggest the club won’t take a major leap forward next season without bringing in quality impact players. He suggests the time will come when the club will have to consider packaging three young assets for one young star who’s either in need of a change or might have a contract issue. Brooks also noted overworked star goalie Henrik Lundqvist isn’t getting younger, as he’ll turn 30 next March and acknowledged the current team, while good, needs to improve. The Rangers need a first line center but the only one of quality available in this summer’s UFA market is Brad Richards. Brooks suggested investing a long-term contract in Richards must be carefully measured, especially if the salary cap goes down after next season, and believes it would be a mistake to add Richards solely to act as a catalyst for Marian Gaborik.

Brooks also suggested Rangers head coach John Tortorella sound non-committal about veteran center Chris Drury, Vinny Prospal and Sean Avery returning next season. Drury, whose play has been in decline in recent years, has one year at a cap hit of $7.05 million remaining on his contract and could be a candidate for a buyout in June. Meanwhile, Brandon Dubinsky hopes he won’t have to wait as long for a new contract as he did for his last one, which he didn’t sign until one week into training camp.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Jesse Spector yesterday reports Marian Gaborik said it would be great if the club could add a center he could click with next season. He and Tortorella both said his decline in production this season was unrelated to the shoulder injury he suffered last fall. RFAs Ryan Callahan and Brian Boyle both expect to have relatively easy resolutions to their contract situations. Prospal meanwhile said he hoped to return with the Rangers next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The lack of quality talent in this summer’s UFA market could possibly spur Rangers GM Glen Sather to venture into the trade market for help. Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny could be a possibility if Avs management were to decide to move his contract, but they’d probably want Callahan and/or Dubinsky as part of the return. I believe Drury and Avery could become buyout candidates in June and doubt Prospal will be re-signed. Callahan and Boyle appear optimistic their contract negotiations will go smoothly.

NBCSPORTS.COM: Joe Yerdon reported on the reason the Anaheim Ducks were eliminated by the Nashville Predators, listing their poor defensive play, difficulty scoring at even strength, weak faceoff numbers and a lack of supporting offensive depth.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Eric Stephens also noted the Ducks poor defensive play as the prime factor in the club’s downfall against Nashville. While Cam Fowler acquitted himself well and Luca Sbisa overcome some nervous moments, veterans like Andreas Lilja, Francois Beauchemin and Andy Sutton were often victimized.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lilja is a UFA this summer, while Beauchemin and Sutton each have a year remaining on their contracts, and both could be difficult to move. The Ducks acquired Beauchemin midway through last season and probably won’t try to trade him or buy him out, as they’ll likely want to give him another season to regain his form after nearly two seasons with a struggling Maple Leafs team. Sutton could be bought out of the final year of his deal, though because he falls under the “over-35″ rule, the team would see no cap savings as a result.


  1. The Rangers don’t need to move their young talent to get a veteran center to take it to the next level next season. The Rangers downfall this season was all the injuries, Drury, Gaborik, Staal, Callahan, Biron, Frolov, Prospal, and Dubinsky all missed large portions of the season and those are the injuries I can remember off the top of my head.

    I agree with buying out Drury and cutting loose Prospal, but trading a few of their young players for a quick fix would be a mistake. They have a great young core of defenseman and great goaltending from both Biron and Lundqvist. They just need to wait for their young forwards to be healthy for a full season and bring in one or two more dependable forwards. Trading their youth core would be a mistake.

  2. KWOL89 – I agree ith you that injuries were the downfall of the Rangers. When Callahan went down – you could see it ripped the heart out of the team. Getting Drurey back might have been inspirational, but his declining speed and skills could not replace Callahan. Part of the problem with the Rangers is that they don’t develop their youngsters – they always figure they can purchase some big name that burns them in the long run. Now their looking at Richards – why not look at someone in their early 20’s that has the potential to grow into the leadership role. I would love to have Callahan play on the Sabres, I think he is a young Chris Drurey and has all the qualities to lead a team. Dubinsky and Boyle are others I wouldn’t mind having as I think they are a good core and just need a tweak or two.

  3. Buying out Drury is a mistake…he’s got one more year left…ride it out and be done with him. If another team is desperate (or dumb) enough to take him from the Rangers before the end of next season, than great.

    Actually, It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for the “frugal” Avalanche to trade someone like Stastny for Drury, and prospect(s). Simply alleviating themselves of Stastny’s contract (3×6.6) in favor of Drury’s (1×7.05), essentially saving them 12+ million, and pushing them closer or moreover the cap floor for one more year and taking them right into the new CBA with tons of cap space.

    Trading Callahan, Dubinsky, Stall or any other young stud on the Rangers would not be wise. Those three in particular, along with Lundqvist, are the heart and soul of the club.

  4. @ Steve; Callahan does not remind me of a young Drury at all…personally I think he’s cut from the same mold as Dustin Brown.

  5. On to Anaheim;
    The Ducks are in a great position IMO, they have a very nice core of young stars in Getzlaf, Perry, Ryan, Hiller, Fowler and Sbisa. They have 17 players under contract for next year, with just over 9M left to spend. Don’t be surprised if you see Brad Richards sign there .. he loves the sunny weather and who wouldn’t want to play with the likes Bobby Ryan and maybe even Teemu Selanne (if he returns) on the second line!!!

    There are a few solid centers in the UFA pool that are defensive and face off specialists, such as Fiddler and Nichol. And adding another vet on D would be all they need to solidify the back end.