Saturday, June 2, 2012

Off to a great start

Please allow me to introduce to you the newest member of the New York Ranger's organization Oscar Lindberg (wears #24).

(video from honkey39)

Lindberg as you can see likes to play a physical game, he may not have jaw dropping numbers on offense but in his defense that was not the role he was being used for.

The biggest reason why the Rangers gave the Phoenix Coyotes the rights to Ethan Werek was because Lindberg is outstanding at winning faceoffs. Lindberg answers a key need for the Rangers who for the last couple of year have been hurt by the inability to win consistently on faceoffs.

A week ago Ranger fans were having their heart's broken by the team's elimination at the hands of the New Jersey Devils. Here we are a week later and the Rangers to their credit have added three promising prospects in Jesper Fast, Marek Hrivik and Friday's signing of Oscar Lindberg.

The best thing about these three signings is that these three players address key Ranger needs. They're good skaters, Fast is high-energy two-way player, Hrvik a scorer adding to an offense that can use all the help they can get and you see what Lindberg can do.

It's always a good thing when you see the Rangers going after young, talented players, it's even better when you're seeing them doing it now rather than waiting until draft time. For years the Rangers would just draft their players then wait for July 1 and stock the roster with UFA's.

Now younger players who were not drafted or were drafted, but did not sign with the original team can look at the Rangers thinking they have a chance to earn themselves a contract.

A far cry from the days of past.

The First Look at the Reserve List for 2012-2013

One of the areas you will hear a lot of talk regarding the Rangers during this off-season is the reserve list or as it's more commonly referred to "the 50 contract list."

For those who are not familiar with it, in a nutshell, it basically breaks down how many players the Rangers are allowed to have NHL contracts.

You'll hear terms like "entry-level", "one way", "two-way" or "future" used a lot during this time of the year but what it all boils down to is the number of players the Rangers can have signed to active NHL contracts.

The best one to help you get an idea of what we're looking at is found over here at As you can see there are currently 15 contracted players on the Ranger roster, another 16 (it should be 17 with the signing of Hrivik) who are seen as non-roster, and then the 11 restricted free agents (RFAs) that the Rangers might/might not tender qualifying offers to.

You will see JT Miller's name highlighted in yellow. And what that means is that Miller can be kept with the Rangers, sent to the Whale or he can be sent back to his junior team.

If Miller is set back to his junior team then his contract becomes a future contract and doesn't count towards the 50 contract limit. It gets confusing at times, but if you keep track of it then it will help you get an idea how much space (roster, not salary) that the Rangers have to sign players.

When I look at that list I go right to the RFAs because those are the players most likely to come back. Of those listed, I would only tender contracts to(required offer in parenthesis) to Michael Dell Zotto (826,875), Cameron Talbot (660,000), Anton Stralman (945,000), and Casey Wellman (893,025).

If I was Glen Sather I would seriously consider offering Mats Zuccarello (850,500) a qualifying offer. I do that in order to possibly get something for Zuccarello's rights (even if it's a conditional draft pick down the road) should he want to play in the NHL rather than the KHL.

You will also notice on the 2012-2013 Reserve List that none of the players who will be UFAs on July 1 are on that list. It doesn't mean that the Rangers can't re-sign them or won't re-sign them, but rather acknowledging their free-agent status.

Not including Zuccarello, the Rangers have 14 open spots to add contracts, if I was again Glen Sather, I would try to re-sign Marty Biron, Brandon Prust, and Stu Bickel. That leaves 11 spots and you can do a lot with that many openings, whether it's at the NHL or AHL level.

One other thing I would do if I was Sather is leave myself 3-4 open spots to see what happens once the NHL and NHLPA sign a new collective bargaining agreement. If like the last time the CBA was signed and you can buy out contracts with no punishment; you never know.

Johan Santana

First, congrats to Santana for finally ending the New York Mets no-hitter curse. Great news for Mets fans but really bad timing for the NHL because on Saturday nobody's talking about game two of the Stanley Cup finals.

The other thing is what I joked about on twitter which is asking Glen Sather to send Marion Gaborik to the doctor that fixed Santana's shoulder. If that doctor can turn Santana into a pitcher who can throw a no-hitter then maybe he can turn Gaborik into 60 goal scorer.

We can dream, can't we? After all, the Mets to a no-hitter so anything's possible.

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