Rangers lose Colin Blackwell to Seattle as a trade rumor swirls

The NHL expansion draft was held on Wednesday night and as far as the New  York Rangers were concerned, there were no surprises. The Kraken, as expected, took forward Colin Blackwell, ending his career with the Rangers after one season.

Unfortunately, nearly all of the Kraken’s choices were leaked by midday Wednesday, so there were few if any surprises. While this was going on, the rumor of a trade involving the Rangers and Seattle was gaining traction.

The selection from the Rangers was one of three that were not leaked prior to the telecast.  Ron Francis was asked about Blackwell and he said what every Ranger fan knows.  Francis said, “This guy is a guy who comes and works hard every single night.  He had a good run last year scoring goals and we hope he can do the same thing for us moving forward.”

A Ranger rumor

The New York Post’s Mollie Walker reported that the Rangers are interested in defenseman Mark Giordano.  The 37 year old blueliner was picked from the Calgary Flames.  Walker reports that the Kraken would retain salary in a transaction and the player going to Seattle was Ryan Strome.

Although Giordano is showing his age, he is two years away from winning the Norris Trophy and he would be a mentor to the young Rangers defense.    This season he averaged almost 23 minutes of ice time per game.  Only Adam Fox played more minutes per game on the Rangers.  He has one more year left on his contract (as does Strome) so this wouldn’t  be a long term proposition.

Trading Strome would leave a gaping hole at center for the Rangers so Chris Drury has to have some additional transactions cooking if this is going to happen.

One indication that this rumor may be just a rumor is that the Kraken introduced Mark Giordano to the fans in person on the telecast, wearing a Seattle uniform.  They made a big deal about his mentoring the young Kraken blueliners and it would be hard to imagine them trading him after all of this hoopla.

The other rumor that is gaining traction is that as early as Thursday the Rangers will announce that they have signed Barclay Goodrow to a six-year deal with an Average Annual Value (AAV) of $3.6 million.

Meet the Kraken

What was surprising  about the players selected by Seattle was the heavy emphasis on defense with 12 blueliners picked.  It’s clear that the list of players selected will not be the same group that starts the season for Seattle.

Two players who will definitely be with the team are  defenseman Jamie Oleksiak and Adam Larsson.  The Kraken inked UFA’s Larsson and Oleksiak today.   By signing them before the free agency window, they became the picks from the Oilers and Stars.  The Kraken are also on the verge of signing goalie Chris Driedger.

Looking at the roster, the Kraken are solid in goal and on defense, but could have issues scoring.

Goalies:

  • Joey Daccord (Ottawa Senators)
  • Chris Driedger (Florida Panthers)
  • Vitek Vanecek (Washington Capitals)

Defensemen:

  • Gavin Bayreuther (Columbus Blue Jackets)
  • Will Borgen (Buffalo Sabres)
  • Dennis Cholowski (Detroit Red Wings)
  • Vince Dunn (St. Louis Blues)
  • Cale Fleury (Montreal Canadiens)
  • Haydn Fleury (Anaheim Ducks)
  • Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames)
  • Adam Larsson (Edmonton Oilers)
  • Jeremy Lauzon (Boston Bruins)
  • Kurtis MacDermid (Los Angeles Kings)
  • Jamie Oleksiak (Dallas Stars)
  • Carson Soucy (Minnesota Wild)

Centers

  • Mason Appleton (Winnipeg Jets)
  • Colin Blackwell (New York Rangers)
  • Morgan Geekie (Carolina Hurricanes)
  • Yanni Gourde (Tampa Bay Lightning)
  • Calle Jarnkrok (Nashville Predators)
  • Jared McCann (Toronto Maple Leafs)
  • Tyler Pitlick (Arizona Coyotes)
  • John Quenneville (Chicago Blackhawks)
  • Alexander True (San Jose Sharks)

Left Wings:

  • Brandon Tanev (Pittsburgh Penguins)
  • Carsen Twarynski (Philadelphia Flyers)

Right Wings:

  • Nathan Bastian (New Jersey Devils)
  • Joonas Donskoi (Colorado Avalanche)
  • Jordan Eberle (New York Islanders)
  • Kole Lind (Vancouver Canucks)

The show

The expansion show was a gala in front of a live audience featuring legends of the Seattle  scene like Lenny Wilkins, Macklemore, Sue Bird and others.  Fish were thrown, microphones didn’t work and minor mistakes (Carolina Panthers???) were made and it sure felt  different from what NBC would have done.

Ex-Ranger Dominic Moore had a big role, co-hosting the telecast with ESPN’s Chris Fowler who displayed his lack of hockey knowledge several times. Ron Francis made an appearance early in the telecast and you have to give ESPN credit for bringing him back when the Kraken picked Cale Fleury instead of Carey Price.   They asked him why he didn’t pick Carey Price and Francis was succinct, saying  “we had a lot of discussions and at the end of the day we made the decision we did and we’re going in a different direction.”    The crowd was tepid in their response to that statement.

ESPN cannot be happy that the picks were leaked, eliminating any of the key questions regarding Carey Price, Vladimir Tarasenko or the picks from the Islanders, Flyers and Tampa.

Several new Kraken players did make appearances.  Goaltender Chris Driedger modeled the team’s home jersey and Jordan Eberle wore the road uniform.  Also on hand were Giordano, Brandon Tanev, Jamie Oleksiak and Haydn Fleury who said he hadn’t played on the same team as his brother Cale Fleury (picked from Montreal)  since he was five years old.

What’s next

Now that the expansion draft is over, the Rangers and all other NHL team are able to make trades leading up to the NHL Entry Draft on Friday. Look for the Rangers to be very active Thursday and Friday.

Here are the key dates coming up:

Thursday, July 22 (5pm) – Deadline for teams to extend qualifying offers to pending Restricted Free Agents (RFA’s).  Rangers include Buchnevich, Chytil, Hajek and Shesterkin.  Prospects include Brandon Crawley, Gabriel Fontaine, Tim Gettinger, Adam Huska, Patrick Newell, Ty Ronning and Yegor Rykov.
Friday, July 23 –  First round of 2021 NHL Draft.  The Rangers pick 15th.
Saturday, July 24 –  Rounds 2-7 of 2021 NHL Draft. The Rangers have no second round picks, two third round picks, three fourth round picks and one pick in the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds.
Tuesday, July 27 – Last day for teams to sign pending Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA’s) to eight-year contract extensions.  Barclay Goodrow is in this category.
Wednesday, July 28 (12 pm) – Free agent frenzy begins.   Rangers’ UFA’s are Goodrow, Phil Di Giuseppe, Jack Johnson, Brendan Smith and prospect Darren Raddysh.
Sunday, August 1 (5pm) – Deadline for RFA’s to file for salary arbitration.  Rangers RFA’s eligible for arbitration include Pavel Buchnevich, Igor Shesterkin,  Brandon Crawley, Patrick Newell and Yegor Rykov.
Monday, August 2 (5pm) – Deadline for teams to file for salary arbitration.
Tuesday, August 17 to Wednesday, September 1 – Salary arbitration hearings.
Tuesday, September 21 – Training camps open.
Tuesday, October 12 – 2021-22 regular season begins (tentative date).