Posts Tagged ‘Brad Richards’

Last season: 44-33-5, 93 points. 8th East, lost in first round to Washington (4-1).

Additions: D Tim Erixon, C Brad Richards, LW Mike Rupp

Losses: LW Derek Boogaard, C Chris Drury, D Matt Gilroy, LW Alex Frolov, D Bryan McCabe, F Vinny Prospal

Offense:  The Rangers’ offense got a huge punch when they signed Brad Richards.  Richards should be a good playmaker for Marian Gaborik, provided both guys stay healthy.  Their linemate could be Wojtek Wolski, who was traded midseason for the second year in a row.  The second line consists of team points leader Brandon Dubinsky (54), new team captain Ryan Callahan and young Russian Artem Anisimov.  The trio combined for 65 goals and 146 points.  Derek Stepan started off hot in his rookie year, scoring 14 goals by the All-Star break, but tailed off after.  In rookie scoring, he finished fifth in both goals (24) and points (45).  Brian Boyle was an unlikely contributor, scoring 21 goals, shattering his full season career high of 4.  Ruslan Fedotenko is a reliable veteran who can fill any hole in the lineup.  Tough guy Brandon Prust had 13 goals to go along with his 18 fights.  Sean Avery might have played himself off of the team.

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In this roundtable, Realdeal, Cujo and Joey discuss many topics on the NHL’s offseason.

RD: So who did the best this offseason?

Cujo: I would say the CBJ but that would be very homerish of me.

Joey: I like what CBJ did, Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski fit two points of weakness.

Cujo: They got the #1 center they have always wanted, that was the biggest piece it has taken 11 years to get.

RD: They also got the top pair d-man they desperately needed.

Cujo: But you cannot rule out what LA has done this offseason.

RD: They got that #2 center that they needed, even if they gave up the best prospect in hockey.

Joey: Washington had a solid offseason. Beyond just additions but the picks they got for Seymon Varlamov were huge.

RD: I really like Washington’s moves; they got some sandpaper.

Cujo: And Tomas Vokoun cannot forget him, a solid net minder.

Joey: Yeah when I heard Vokoun signed in Washington I hung my head and said ‘oh crap’.

RD: I think people are sleeping on the effect Joel Ward and Troy Brouwer will bring.

Joey: I really think Brouwer was a good pick up, I am a little on the fence on Ward just wondering if he is riding off a playoff showing.

RD: He’s overpaid but he’ll be a solid 2nd/3rd line producer.

Joey: Speaking of overpaid is Brooks Laich worth all that money? I think time will tell on that one.

Cujo: You’ve got to pay for potential, but he nearly had his 3rd straight 50 point season. He missed it by 2 points.

RD: Is he going to get much better? I think 50-55 points is what we’re looking at.

RD: So who’s a team whose moves were puzzling or needed to do more? I’m kind of curious to see how San Jose’s plan works out.

Cujo: I think San Jose thinks they have most of the pieces they need to make a big run at the Cup.

Joey: Buffalo giving 10 years to Christian Ehrhoff, someone who has never played a game in Buffalo?

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There were a lot of questions for the New York Rangers going into this summer. Many of them were answered within the first few days of free agency, though some are still looming.

What we have:

Glen Sather did what many a Rangers fan thought he couldn’t do; reel in the season’s prized free agent. In bringing in Brad Richards the Blueshirts now have a nifty center to feed Marian Gaborik the puck. Though both the winger and center are oft-injured, the two could make some magic on the ice if they mesh well. Having Ruslan Fedotenko, Richards’ linemate during their Championship in ’04, could help improve their dynamic.

Another free agent brought into New York was Pittsburgh center Mike Rupp. The main question with the 6-foot-5 center was where did that leave 6-foot-6 center Brian Boyle? Apparently it simply meant bringing along a hard-hitting Cup winner (2003, NJ) into the fold, and not the departure of Boyle, who signed a three year contract a couple weeks later.

The last thing Sather did was ensuring the stability of the Rangers ‘core’ by re-signing RFA’s Michael Sauer (2 year, $2.5m) and Artem Anisimov (2 year, $3.75m), relatively good contracts for those who would have otherwise gone to arbitration. The Rangers got away with a lot, considering how well of a rookie season Sauer had in New York. One of the last pieces of the defensive puzzle was a trade with Calgary in mid-June, bringing in Tim Erixon; who was drafted 23rd overall by Calgary in 2009. Since he had not signed a contract with the Flames, Erixon was set to be re-entered into the 2011 draft. Instead, his rights were traded to his father’s former team, with whom he settled an entry-level contract with. With two more years under his belt with the Swedish Elite League, he is considered a top-ten level prospect, and is considered to crack the roster this season.

What we still have left: (more…)

Some quick hits from the first two days of free agency:

-The Brad Richards saga is finally over, as he chose to sign with the New York Rangers for 9 years (and $60 million).  According to reports, he turned down more money from other teams (Calgary, Los Angeles and Toronto).  The Rangers have themselves a big money center to play with Marian Gaborik now.  They also added tough guy Mike Rupp from the rival Penguins.

-Speaking of the Maple Leafs, they added Tim Connolly for two years.  Connolly has averaged .83 points per game since the lockout, but has only played in 302 games in that time.  When healthy, he can form a nice duo with Phil Kessel, but how many games he plays is the question.

-Not going to go into much about the Flyers, who were very active on Day 1, as this post sums it up pretty well.

-The Panthers were also very active, adding over $31 million in salary for 2011-12 in the since the draft.  This includes over $21 million to 6 players in free agency the last two days.  They aren’t done yet, as the team is still $1 million under the salary cap floor. (more…)

And another hockey season is upon us, which means…..*drumroll*..prediction time! Just to explain the below picture, I make my division picks on my basement fridge every year.  Last season, in addition to four of six division winners, I had two of the final four teams correct (Chicago, Philadelphia, with the Flyers making the finals).  However, I’d rather not say who I had winning last year.  Without further ado, here are the picks, with playoff picks.

The Fridge of Destiny

Starting with the Atlantic Division, the Flyers would be the team to beat coming off a Stanley Cup run, but questions in goal could derail division title hopes.  Pittsburgh will edge the Flyers, but lack of winger scoring could hurt them in the long run.  Both teams will keep a distance between them and New Jersey.  Jersey will hope for one more run from Marty Brodeur, but it won’t be this year.  The signing of Ilya Kovalchuk drained payroll, and the Devils will have to play with a short roster, or will have to waive some veterans.  The Islanders will be improved, but without Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo for a large chunk of time, playoffs won’t be on the radar this year, but they’ll give the rival Rangers a tough time, who’ll miss the playoffs a second straight year, and fans will still demand Glen Sather be fired.  At least Wade Redden won’t be the scapegoat this season for the Blueshirts.

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