Friday, June 5, 2009

Four Free Agents Worth The Fight

We all know the big names out there - Gaborik, the Sedins, Bouwmeester, etc. - but there are some others that are coming out of contract that could certainly help the Rangers. The hitch? The players have ties to their markets and might not be so willing to bounce to Broadway. Glancing at the list, I saw four guys I think that the Rangers should look at:

1- Steve Sullivan, Nashville: Let's get this right out of the way, no matter how well he says he is, Sullivan is an injury risk. He missed basically two seasons of hockey due to back problems and is beholden to Nashville for their patience in letting him take his time to make a comeback. He is also 34 and undersized at 5'9. However, he is a gritty hard worker who puts points on the board. He can score timely goals and kill penalties while setting a good example for teammates - basically a better version of the Chris Drury we had last season and he was only paid $3.2m. At his age and with his history, he should be willing to take a big pay cut while getting an incentive-laden deal.

2- Johnny Oduya, NJ: Sure the Rangers are deepest at defense, but you can't pass up the opportunity when a well-rounded player like him becomes available. Just 27 years old, the Swede is solid in all situations being smart in his own zone and a smooth puck mover. He made just $600k and even with a deserved raise should still be a bargain. And just think about how great it would be to take such a valuable asset away from the Devils! Poor Lou, it would be sweet justice for letting us take Gomez away (more on him later).

3- Chad LaRose, Carolina: A rough and tumble power winger who is unafraid to shoot or go to the tough areas to make plays, LaRose can't fight but shows a never-say-die attitude out on the ice. He is entering his prime at 27 and made $875k last year. He had just 31 points in 81 regular season games but stepped up his level of play in the postseason and collected 11 in 18. Canes fans call this guy the Chuck Norris of hockey and let's face it, that's pretty damn awesome.

4- Mikael Samuelsson, Detroit: This offseason will see just how greedy the former Ranger is. Because of the cap situation in Detroit, Samuelsson could very well be left on the outside looking in if he is hoping to double his $1.2m salary. But it is Detroit and most folks would be foolish to leave the best franchise in North American professional sports. At 32, the winger may have reached his peak as a secondary scorer but he is quite capable on the power play, something no Ranger was last season.

And while I am just throwing stuff out there, how is this for a trade proposal: Rangers trade Scott Gomez and one of their second round draft picks to either Colorado or Atlanta for their first round pick (third or fourth overall). Since Joe Sakic may just retire, his $6 mil will come off the Aves' books so they would be able to handle Gomez's contract and he could slide in behind Paul Stastny as the second line center he has always been with speedy wingers like Svatos or Wolski to work with. Bleacher Report had a post pitching Drury to be dealt back to Denver in a blockbuster with Bobby Sanguinetti for the pick and Milan Hejduk but I can't see Dru fitting in under the new regime, Bobby being traded or Hejduk willing to come to NY. In Atlanta Gomez would give Kovalchuk the puck distributor he has been missing since Savvy went to Boston.

As for the Rangers, they would get the game-breaking talent player they need so badly. If its the three spot, then stud center Matt Duchene would be the pick. Duchene has played with Future Blue Bobby and Evgeny Grachev and THN calls him "one of the best two-way prospects outside the NHL." If a deal with Atlanta goes through, the Rangers could grab Luke Schenn's brother Brayden, who can score and has his sibling's toughness. THN said scouts liken him to Mike Richards, and you all remember just how good Mike Richards is.


Jess Rubenstein said...

Dude sorry but your trade ideas are really bad. At 3 the Avs could pick up a Matt Duchene who is going to be WAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY better than Drury is. Duchene was Grachev's linemate for most of the last season and he is a smarter more dependable player who reminds people of some guy named Sakic.

Atlanta wants no part of a contract like Gomez's since they would have to then pay IK that much more to keep IK happy.

Anonymous said...

Sulli is older and at $3.2 (let's be real here, he isn't going down) I'd rather have Borat or Z.

Oduya is pretty solid, but the last thing we need to do add more dmen. Different situation, I'd say yes.

LaRose is the only one worth considering here. Still, he's more in the mold of a Cally-type energy guy. Do we really need that? His stats don't give you a reason to believe that he'll breach 40 any time soon. 11 in 15 is nice, but you need more than 30 something to get us to the playoffs.

Samuelson benefits from his team, period. Ask any Wings wan, haha.

If we're trading anyone (and I'd much rather Drury than Gomez if it's gonna be one of the two) I'd want a body back over a draft pick. We suck ass at drafting talent for the most part, and even if we didn't, it's not a lock.

Plus, regardless of their inconsistancies, moving either Gomer or Drury leaves a huge hole in the top two lines. That means that we're promoting from within (we have a dearth of quality forwards and a surplus of defensemen) OR we give Slats the opportunity to sign another FA. Given his track record, that means we'd probably just go sign Gabby at $9.5/yr for 12 years and watch his groin explode during a high note at the end of the National Anthem.

I'm so pessimistic. :(

Scotty Hockey said...

Jess, I didn't say I would trade Drury, I don't think there is a team in the NHL that would take him unless he was making one or two mil, and he isn't. Hell, given the option I would let him go. He may have been good in spots and have some fortune to win some Cups but he is a supplementary player, nothing more.I wanted to deal Gomer, who does have legit skill, even if he is a smirking, arrogant putz.

j0 - I agree, defense is stacked, but Oduya is better than anyone we have, outside of maybe Staal. And it isn't bad to be pessimistic - that way you won't be disappointed when Slats inevitably lets us down.

Noah's Art said...

zipay talked about rozie for cheechoo.

how about we trade scott gomez and chris drury for lecavalier and st louis? hehehehe

Ben said...

i hope you aren't serious about that trade proposal...

if anybody is going to take a contract like drury, gomez or redden off the Rangers, you are going to have to include something to sweeten the pot. a 2nd round pick is definitely not that, and that package may get you a ham sandwich, but certainly not the 3rd or 4th overall pick.

you do know scott gomez sucks right?

Schram said...

Sorry Scotty I gotta disagree with you. We don't need anyone from the Devils' "system". Look what happens everytime we get a Devils player....

Canyon of Blueshirts said...

Why would the Aves be willing to lose out on Matt Duchene? Also the Rangers only have one 2nd round pick. They traded it away for Antropov and they were given a comp. pick for AC.

You left out another former devil on that list, brian gionta. If the Rangers commit to Gomez, why not bring in a guy who has a history with on his wing.

Scotty Hockey said...

But doesn't everyone say Gomez is a superstar? A certain inclusion on team USA for next year? I think he is a waste of a jersey, the smirking idiot but everyone yelled at me for dumping on him all season. Stupid Mexican't. What if we sweeten it with our first rounder and a prospect? Anything to get him out. Even if Duchene is a bust it's worth it.

And the thought of grabbing Gionta sickens me. This team was too small last season, the last thing we need is the mediocre midget. If we are gonna grab an undersized guy, it better be Marty.

And I forgot that we dealt the second for Borat. My bad on that.

Anonymous said...

Can't Slats offer max deals to Teemu Selanne and Joe Sakic?

Pete said...

Slats took a LOT of shit this year, from both fans and pundits, since most of his recent deals have been belly flops of "Free Willy" proportions. The real question about this off-season is this: How close to retirement does Glen Sather think he is? If Slats is looking to move on, expect epic decisions from the man, as he tries to sure up his "legacy" by bringing the cup to NY one last time. But, if Slats is perfectly happy eating caviar on Broadway, we will see either A) very cautious and reserved deals, ones that will not backfire on Slats, which he will blame, of course, on the lack of cap room or B) another round of bad choices, as the Clown Prince of Hockey continues to piss in his own sandbox.

Anonymous said...

As an aside, being as though this is the 15th anniversary of the '94 cup season, the Rangers website has the line-by-line draft and trade history that led to the '94 team. Here's the link: