Their playoffs now over, the NY Rangers and Anaheim Ducks face off-season decisions. Read on for the latest.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reported Sunday the Rangers hard work against the Washington Capitals weren’t enough to overcome a lack of talent, which Brooks attributed to the Blueshirts elimination from this year’s playoffs by the Capitals. Brooks noted the Rangers summer cap number is approximately $47.6 million, but that doesn’t include the estimated $12 million it might take to re-sign RFAs Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Brian Boyle, Mark Sauer and Matt Gilroy. As for banished defenseman Wade Redden, the Rangers could have no choice but to waive him again next season unless he opts to retire. They could consider buying out the final year of team captain Chris Drury’s contract, although if he undergoes knee surgery prior to the June 15-30 buyout period the Rangers would be unable to use that option. Other potential buyout candidates could be Wojtek Wolski and Sean Avery. Of their impending UFAs, Ruslan Fedotenko is the only one likely to receive a contract offer.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Jesse Spector reported the problems for the Rangers were some of GM Glen Sather’s big ticket acquisitions, as Marian Gaborik had a sub-par performance this season, they got nothing from Derek Boogaard and Alex Frolov (season-ending injuries), while Bryan McCabe had a terrible final month of the season and a worse playoffs. Spector also believes the Rangers could try to re-sign Fedotenko, it will be interesting to see what they do with forward Vaclav Prospal, while it’ll be surprising if they re-signed Alex Frolov. He noted the rumors which have the Rangers possibly pursuing Dallas Stars center Brad Richards this summer but suggested such a move could hamper their efforts to upgrade their roster and retain some key players.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Andrew Gross reported this summer’s free agent class is a thin one for the Rangers if they hope to bolster their depth at forward, with the best potential options being Brad Richards, Tim Connolly, Jason Arnott and Brooks Laich, who played left and right wing for the Capitals. Another important priority is re-signing RFA forward Ryan Callahan, who earned $2.3 million this season.
NEW YORK TIMES: Jeff Z. Klein reported the Rangers might have to clear out some salary if they hope to pursue an expensive UFA like Richards, but ruled out trading Gaborik and his $7.5 million per season contract. Prospal, Frolov and Fedotenko might not be back, while management’s priority will be re-signing Callahan and Dubinsky. A potential replacement for McCabe could be Canadiens blueliner James Wisniewski, who is eligible for UFA status in July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sather has the cap space to re-sign his key restricted free agents, but if he wants to add a big ticket player he’ll have to shed some salary, and contract buyouts of Drury, Avery and/or Wolski could be one way of doing it. Sather has been rumored for months interested in landing Richards and may well get him, but such a move could also create some cap difficulty if he’s not careful. Frolov, Prospal, and McCabe won’t be back, but I could see them keeping Fedotenko. Sather will either have to re-sign Callahan and Dubinsky before July 1st or risk them receiving offer sheets from rival clubs, unless they or Sather file for salary arbitration, which would make them ineligible to receive offer sheets. Sather employed this tactic before with Henrik Lundqvist.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER/LOS ANGELES TIMES: reports Anaheim Ducks winger Teemu Selanne faces another off-season where he’ll have to decide if he’ll return to the Ducks for another season or retire. Selanne said he had no timeframe for his decision, though when asked late in the season he suggested July 1st.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 40-year-old Selanne proved still capable this season of playing at a high level, finishing second on the Ducks in points in the regular season with 80 in 73 games, plus leading the Ducks in goals in their playoff series against Nashville. While those stats indicate he could have enough left for one more season, it might also be worthwhile to consider retiring while still at the top of his game, rather than risk a significant slump which would have fans and pundits criticizing his decision to return. Hopefully Selanne doesn’t let this drag on throughout the summer, as that’ll allow management time to try and replace him if he does opt for retirement. Forget about him signing elsewhere, it’s the Ducks or no one for “the Finnish Flash”.