We’re three days away from “Christmas in July” for the NHL when free agency kicks off Friday at noon. With a relatively thin crop to choose from, Brad Richards is THE guy amongst everyone available. The diamond in the rough if you will. This isn’t anything you haven’t already heard millions of times already. However, for teams not called the New York Rangers, this offseason will be one of the tougher ones in terms of trying to add pieces to improve your club. We’ve seen a flurry of trades occur on or around draft day this past week. Is it an indicator of what’s to come on July 1st? It’s a possibility, but don’t count on it.
Join me after the jump to read about why today is important for the Rangers if they want to buy out Chris Drury, what Brooks Laich’s new contract means for some of the Rangers’ RFA, and more!
- In regards to Chris Drury, after learning earlier this week that the beleaguered captain was leaning towards accepting a buy out, if the Rangers intend to do so, today is the deadline for such action. Drury would have to be placed on irrevocable (or unconditional) waivers before noon as the 1st step of the buy out process. As it has been covered here on Blue Line Station for several weeks, it would be best for both the team and Drury to part ways as civilly as possible.
- With news breaking earlier this morning about the Washington Capitals re-signing LW Brooks Laich to a 6-year, $27 million dollar deal, it has to make you think how much, at all, does this affect the future negotiations of Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan? Laich, a heart-and-soul grinder, is a slightly better offensive version of the two but that can be attributed to the highly skilled guys the Capitals that litter their lineup. Still, a $4.5 million cap hit is a generous raise and with both Callahan and Dubinsky coming off career years, the price to retain both has just gone up.
- As mentioned earlier in the article, free agency starts July 1st. The only target for the Rangers is Brad Richards and for obvious reasons. His skills would kill two birds with one stone; he fills our void at the #1 center position and could be the PP QB the Rangers covet. But, the caveat is at what price does this get done? I’m in the same boat as Larry Brooks is on the matter, believing if Richards truly wants to come to New York, he shouldn’t have to ask to break the bank to do so. I think Richards is ONE of the pieces needed to build a championship but not THE piece. If he only wants the money, the Rangers should balk at his demands. With future CBA uncertainties and the obvious need to maintain salary cap flexibility, the Rangers can’t be handcuffed by a ridiculous contract.
- In prospect news, the Rangers opened their Development Camp this past Monday. Amongst the many names attending, the noteworthy ones who stood out after a day of conditioning: Dylan McIlrath. Onlookers said he looks much faster than a year ago. Good to hear the future bruiser on the blueline has gained some speed to add to his gritty game. The camp continues this week with scrimmages today.
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