As of noon today, free agents are officially allowed to shop their talents and sign with any team in the league. It’s always fun to watch where players wind up and for how much. In addition to live blogging all the fun starting a little bit before noon, we also did a BSB writer round table discussion on free agency and our predictions/hopes. By the end of the day, we will see who was right and who was wrong.
1. What free agent forward do you want the Rangers to target? What is your backup plan if the primary target doesn’t sign?
Dave: Any combination of Shane Doan (two years max), Ray Whitney (one year max), and Zenon Konopka (to replace Prust) will do. All three address a need on the club, especially with the impending departure of Brandon Prust.
Suit: I’d target Doan. See if we can get him signed to a two year deal. Think he’d fit system-wise, but not sure a guy who has geniunely wanted to play in Phoenix would consider NYC. Worth a shot. Plan B, I’d see if we can get PAP on a short term deal. I know Torts liked him and the kid just darts to dangerous ice. Size worries me a little given our lack of size with our current top 6, but he’d be worth a look. Overall I’m not a big fan of any UFA FWD this year.
Kevin: Still holding out hope for Zach Parise, though I realize that’s beyond extremely unlikely at this point. After that, would love to see Shane Doan in blue.
Chris: If the Rangers strike out on all the elite targets (Ryan, Parise, Nash etc) then I see no harm in taking a swing at Semin. We don’t need another 40 point hard working guy we need pure skill and he has it in abundance. Take a risk, let the Russian step up to the mound and prove doubters wrong. He could be a low risk, potential home run option. Enough baseball references for a Brit?…
Justin: Shane Doan, preferably on a 1-2 year deal. Ray Whitney would be my back-up plan, but strictly a 1 year commitment for a 40 year old.
2. What free agent defenseman do you want the Rangers to target? What is your backup plan if the primary target doesn’t sign?
Dave: Other than Justin Schultz, I like Bryan Allen. He can eat minutes and provide much needed depth. Carlo Colaiacovo is another player I like, but they are both left-handed shots. Cory Sarich was an okay option as a right handed shot, but he’s back in Calgary. Interestingly enough, there aren’t many (if any) right handed shots on the market that interest me.
Suit: Carlo Colaiacovo (STL) and maybe another depth guy like a Huskins or Zannon. Someone who can eat bottom pairing minutes and not roll out a red carpet in front of Hank.
Kevin: Other than Justin Schultz? I think Bryan Allen or Brett Clark would be good fits.
Chris: If the Rangers go hard at any significant defenseman (in addition to Schultz) it may mean less opportunity for Erixon and I’d rather see him step up and have a good rookie year and show real development. If they bring in an ‘outsider’ then make it cheap.
Justin: Non-Justin Schultz division, I’d like a look at Jason Garrison, but when his price inflates beyond a reasonable level, I’d look at Bryan Allen for the bottom pair
3. Where do you think Brandon Prust winds up?
Dave: Travis Moen got $1.8 million, but Prust wants $2.2 million. I don’t get it. Someone will be crazy enough to give him that kind of money, especially with 20 teams under the cap floor at the moment. It wouldn’t shock me to see him go out West to an organization like Phoenix, that has been to the playoffs for a few years and needs to get bodies on the roster to hit the cap floor.
Suit: Pittsburgh. Pens need someone who can fight and be a hockey player. Who fits that role better than Prust?
Kevin: Detroit. Seems like a grinder they’d employ for the next decade.
Chris: If his salary demand rumors are true I care not where Prust ends up. He clearly overvalues himself if the internet ‘gossip’ is true.Toronto seems an obvious locale for Prust given the Armstrong buy out, but hey maybe Prust takes around 1.8m and stays after all…. FWIW I’d not give him more than $1.3 million.
Justin: I’m thinking Detroit or Pittsburgh are good fits for Prust, but I think he comes to his senses and stays in NY.
4. What do you think the price tag for Stu Bickel is? Does he re-up with the Rangers?
Dave: Bickel is a UFA that made $600k last season. I wouldn’t expect him to get more than $650k. He’s a 6th/7th defenseman. Considering he’s a right-handed shot, I think he re-ups with the Rangers for at least one more year.
Suit: Bickel should only get a modest increase and I’m fine with that. Other than the Rangers cant see who else would want him. Toronto maybe? Burke always likes tough guys who can barely play defense.
Kevin: I think he’ll be back for a salary less than $1 million.
Chris: After showing initial promise I’m not sold on Bickel at all and think he is easily replaceable. Assuming he stays the raise should be minimal. He hasn’t proven much at all yet, toughness aside.
Justin: I think Bickel will get a modest raise, but I think he will always be a utility guy for the Rangers. I think he will ultimately find a better opportunity elsewhere.
5. Where is the best bang-for-your-buck UFA?
Dave: Ray Whitney. No team is going to sign a 40-year old to a multi-year deal, so that makes signing Whitney relatively low risk. Whitney put up 70 points on a Phoenix team with no talent whatsoever. Imagine what he can do with some speed and skill next to him.
Suit: Jagr if he gets a similar deal.
Kevin: Tough question. I don’t really think there’s going to be too many great bargains. Way too many teams have cash to spend and there just aren’t a lot of good players available. I think Peter Mueller could be a steal, if he stays healthy.
Chris: Gotta go with number 68. Jaromir Jagr probably has another 50 point year in him and offers great puck control and vision to a team. Clearly money isn’t his main priority at this stage of his career so if he could be had he’d be a nice addition for any team. Come back Jags. Please, just one more year…. *sigh*
Justin: Teemu Selanne, assuming he continues playing
6. Where do you see Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, and Shane Doan headed, and for how long/how much?
Dave: Parise – Pittsburgh (9/$60 million); Suter – Pittsburgh (8/$48 million); Doan – Phoenix (2/$10 million). Scary, isn’t it?
Suit: Pittsburgh.Detroit. Nashville, if not PHX.
Kevin: Parise goes to Minnesota – 11-years, $80 million. Suter to Detroit for six-years, $41 million. Doan to the Blueshirts for three-years, $14 million.
Chris: Parise will be either a Wild or Wing player. Suter is already in Detroit, right? I still can’t imagine Shane Doan leaving so I’ll say he sticks with the Coyotes but if that is ruled out early he could end up anywhere.
Justin: I like the Kings as a dark horse for Parise , 12/72. Suter, I think will wind up in Detroit, 8/50 or so, and Doan will wind up on Broadway for 3/13, give or take. I’m not great at predictions because the NHL possesses several loose cannon GM’s who tend to skew the market in a way that makes no sense whatsoever.