Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Risto Pakarinen at ESPN,
You will hear New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist before you see him.
Or, rather, you will hear the roar of his black Maserati as it winds through the streets of this west coast city.
As a father of a 2-year-old daughter, he also has other cars, but there are no baby seats in the Maserati, so when he's driving solo, it's the Maserati with the matte finish that rolls out of the garage.
After the longest season in his career, Lundqvist took time off to recharge his batteries, but in the first week of August he was back on the ice, skating with local players in the Frolunda Indians practice facility, Frolundaborg, on the south side of town.
He arrives in the Maserati, stops at the parking lot meter, feeds it with a few kronor, grabs his ticket and parks his car around the corner, closer to the entrance. His famous hair is tucked under a baseball cap adorned with his own logo that combines his No. 30 with a crown.
from Tal Pinchevsky of NHL.com,
How will the Rangers supplement the forward depth they lost? -- In his first year as Rangers coach, Alain Vigneault rolled all four lines and got consistent scoring from the top three units. He'll be challenged to do that again this season.
New York got key plays from Richards and Pouliot, who signed a five-year, $20 million contract with the Edmonton Oilers. A fourth line considered among the NHL's best was also dismantled when Brian Boyle signed with the Lightning and Dorsett was traded.
The Rangers hope free-agent additions Lee Stempniak, Tanner Glass, Chris Mueller and Matthew Lombardi, and some of their young talent, can help maintain that forward depth.
Can Rick Nash return to elite form? -- New York's success drew attention away from a disappointing season for its highest-paid skater.
Nash led the Rangers in goals last season, but 26 goals and 39 points in 65 games aren't necessarily numbers befitting a star player responsible for a $7.8-million cap charge in each of the next four seasons. Nash's production dropped precipitously during the postseason, when he scored three goals in 25 games.
With St. Louis and Stepan potentially serving as linemates, Nash will be expected to recapture the form that saw him score 38 or more goals three times with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
It was a given that the Rangers would buy out Brad Richards upon the conclusion of their Cup run. They needed to apply the 34-year-old’s annual cap hit toward their restricted free agents: Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, and John Moore.
They did just that by saying goodbye to Richards, reclaiming the center’s money, and sending it right back out the door to Brassard (five years, $25 million), Zuccarello (one year, $3.5 million), and Kreider (two years, $4.95 million). They will re-sign Moore before the start of camp.
The rearranging of money ($6,666,667 in from Richards, $5.825 million for 2014-15 out to the three RFAs, with the difference earmarked for Moore) may be a wash. But it doesn’t mean the Rangers will be as good as they were last year. They’ll probably be worse.
The Rangers will always be competitive with HenrikLundqvist in goal. Ryan McDonagh will be a Norris Trophy finalist some day. Rick Nash is a puck-hungry behemoth. These are star players.
But what made the Rangers the best team in the East was their depth.
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The arbitration meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 28th.
Kerider's hearing is this Wednesday.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Both Lee Stempniak (in on a one-year free agent deal for $900,000) and Matt Lombardi (in at $800,000 per for two years) will fall under the AHL threshold, so neither would count against the cap for so much of a nickel if either fails to make the Rangers out of camp.
But these additions of marginal NHL players doesn’t say a lot for the organization’s confidence in the readiness of kids in the organization such as J.T. Miller, Danny Kristo, Oscar Lindberg, Ryan Haggerty and maybe even Jesper Fast to nail down spots with the varsity, much less be difference-makers.
Seriously. Would Stempniak — who scored for the Penguins in Game 1 against the Rangers, then went pointless in the next six matches of the second round while bouncing all over the lineup — or Lombardi — who was in Switzerland last year and hasn’t had a productive NHL season since 2009-10 — have made a difference against L.A.?
And how three years at $1.45 million per for Tanner Glass — scratched by Pittsburgh for five of seven playoff games against the Rangers — is a better investment than one year at $1.633 million for Derek Dorsett escapes me.
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About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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