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10 July 2007

Report: Shanahan, Rangers Close in on Deal

According to Larry Brooks of the NY Post, Brendan Shanahan and the Rangers are on the verge of completing a deal to keep Shanny on Broadway next season. Brooks reports that the two sides have agreed to a one-year deal "for a base of approximately $2.5M with an additional $1.5-2.5M in readily attainable bonuses." The report states that the Rangers are just waiting for the league to approve the structure of the bonuses before making it official.

The way this deal is set up, it will allow the Rangers to only take the cap hit of $2.5 million when the deal is signed, but, by season's end, Shanny's cap figure will still be in the $4-5 million range. With either arbitration or long-term deals still pending with Henrik Lundqvist and Sean Avery, the Rangers are going to have to clear some cap room.

Newsday's Steve Zipay reported on his Rangers' blog today that he believes the Rangers will make a trade soon. He added "at least one player has told friends he wouldn't mind being moved."

My guess is that player is Matt Cullen. He never really seemed comfortable playing in New York. It appeared he put too much pressure on himself and never really enjoyed last season. His best friend on the team, and former Hurricanes teammate, Aaron Ward, was moved at the trade deadline. Plus, the Rangers already have Gomez, Drury and Betts down the middle, so trading Cullen would leave a pivot slot open for a youngster like Artem Anisimov or Brandon Dubinsky to earn in training camp. So, I would not be surprised to see Cullen on the move along with a Defenseman. While most of the Garden faithful would personally drive Marek Malik to the airport to catch his flight out of town, I think Renney and Sather (and Jaromir Jagr) like the Roszival-Malik pairing, so I don't expect Malik to be moved. But, it would not surprise me to see the Rangers try to move Paul Mara and his $3 million salary to someone looking for some veteran help on the blue line. That would leave 2 open spots on D to be filled most likely by young stud Mark Staal and either Thomas Pock or Jason Strudwick.

If you add in Cullen's $2.85 million cap figure, moving those two players for even a bag of pucks would free up enough space to allow the team to lock up both King Henrik and Sean Avery to long-term deals, cover the bonus payments to Shanny and leave some wiggle room that will inevitably be needed during the season.

6 fanatics have replied:

Bleu, Blanc et Rouge said...

I told everyone, Sather has the ability to sign them both.

What's wrong with Cullen?
He's a good 3rd line player with offensive upside, you don't find many of those around the NHL.

Norman Rochefort said...

Nothing is wrong with Cullen. You're absolutely right about him. He is a good two-way center, who has terrific speed. His line with Callahan and Prucha was good down the stretch. I'm just speculating that he doesn't seem to enjoy playing in NY. Also, with his salary and our new depth at center, he would be the most logical forward to move in order to clear some cap space.

Bleu, Blanc et Rouge said...

Hey, the Habs always could use a guy like him! :D

I wonder if the Rangers would have enough money to pick up winger Mike Johnson, he's like a carbon-copy of Cullen but a bit bigger.

I don't understand why Bob Gainey is letting him go, he's the kind of player you want on your team, like Cullen.

Alex (Manhattan) said...

Carolina is looking for a third line center. Maybe that's a fit.

Also could anyone, especially Habs fans, give me good assessment of Souray's defensive game. Is it as bad as a lot of people are saying. I didn't see enough Habs games last year to form an educated opinion. I did notice his lethal slapshot. Since, the Devils are likely out of the running for Souray, I have a feeling that several Ranger bodies might be moved to free up room for him.

Norman Rochefort said...

While I'm intrigued by the idea of Souray bombing away from the point on the Rangers' Power Play, Sather would virtually have to move mountains to make that work. As it stands now, the Rangers cap number is at approximately $47.5 million. During training camp, they can send Kasparitis to the minors, which will lower the cap number to about $44.5 million. If you figure a total a total of $4 million in either arbitration awards or contract agreements with Avery and Hossa, that brings the Rangers to $48.5 million for 12 forwads, 7 defensemen and a backup goalie. That leaves only $1.5 million left for Lundqvist. So, Sather has to decide which defenseman comes off the cap. Paul Mara is the highest paid defenseman on the team, so if they can move his $3 million and the nearly $3 million owed to Cullen, plus the approximately $500,000 for a young kid to replace Cullen on the roster, that brings the cap number down to $43 million. That will allow the Rangers to get Lundqvist signed to a long-term deal at about $5.5 million, and still have $1.5 million of wiggle room under the cap.

That won't be nearly enough to sign Souray. Even if you moved Malik and let Hossa walk and play Orr in his place, there still wouldn't be enough to sign Souray, unless he agreed to a lot less than he has been seeking, which I don't see happening.

Alex (Manhattan) said...

I agree. His cons probably outweigh his pros, and his salary would force the Rangers to move mountains. Ironically, I used that exact phrase on a related blog a few days ago on the Battle of New York, where I'm the daily Rangers blogger.

They shouldn't sign Souray. Hossa should stay though. They need his size and versatility. Before he was injured late last year, he really played great for 11 games and seemed to have turned the corner. At the modest amount he will cost - I'm guessing $600,000 to $800,000 - he's earned the chance to come back.

I agree with your take on Cullen. Hopefully Dubinsky, Pyatt, or Anisimov can step up.

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