Daily Briefing: June 29, 2011

– We are now two days away from the start of NHL free agency and unfortunately the NBA lockout.  I think the best thing  for sports fans to do is just ignore basketball for a few months and focus on hockey.  If you think you hate the NHL, try to get into it.  You may just find out that it isn’t so bad after all.

– Not to beat a dead horse, but Brad Richards is still virtually a lock to be a Ranger come Friday.  There are critics of the move however.  The Score summed up Glen Sather’s tenure with the Rangers pretty well with this hilarious video.

– Jussi Jokinen and Simon Gagne are two other options for the Blueshirts, but Glen Sather seems to have his heart set on Richards.  That’s fine, as long as Sather doesn’t overpay for him.  Nothing more than 6 years, and nothing more than $6.5-7 million per year.  Anything more, I will not be happy with the signing.  I believe the signing could make the Rangers serious contenders, but at the same time it could be a major setback if the deal is crippling to the team’s cap flexibility.  I say go for the signing, but nothing ridiculous.  7 or 8 year deals should be off the negotiating table.  Let someone else make that mistake.

– The Islanders acquired the rights to Christian Ehrhoff for a 4th round pick.

– Terrell Owens says he won’t retire, but I still think he will have serious trouble finding a job.  He won’t be a Jet, that’s for sure.

– According to the Daily News, the Mets could make a run at Prince Fielder.  While this would be an unbelievable step in the right direction for the franchise, it won’t happen because of the team’s financial problems.  And don’t think for a second you’re going to re-sign Reyes and sign Fielder.  You’ll be extremely lucky if you just get Reyes back.

As always, feel free to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest breaking news on all things New York sports.

Two days until Brad Richards is a Ranger. Let's just hope he comes at the right price.

Rangers Trade Roman Horak for Tim Erixon

Calm down, this isn’t a typical Rangers trade.  Glen Sather may have just hit a home run.

After the Werek trade, we all figured the Rangers were done until July.  However, the Rangers just landed Calgary’s top prospect, defenseman Tim Erixon, in a deal for Roman Horak.  The Blueshirts give up two first round picks in the deal, while receiving a fifth back from the Flames.

I’ve always considered Werek and Horak expendable, so I like this trade.  Although the Rangers are stacked with young defenseman, Erixon is an all-around player who may make a difference.  The Rangers got the better player in this deal, hands down.

Talent Analysis

A very smart defenseman that plays a solid two-way game. Erixon is not very spectacular, but plays an effective and rather simple game. He does not throw his body around, but can be aggressive and has active stickwork. Hockey sense is very good and so is his offensive positioning. Not a pure offensive force, but has enough skills to put up points and quarterback the powerplay if needed. Furthermore, he has good size and mobility and handles the puck well. 

I love it.  The Werek trade was pretty even, but I believe the Rangers won this one.  Two second rounders is a lot, but there is no guarantee those picks would have resulted in an impact player being drafted.  With the acquisition of Erixon, the Rangers have acquired a guy who scored 24 points in 48 games in Swedish Elite League last season.  You can’t go wrong with that.  The Rangers may be lacking offensive prowess, but Horak wasn’t the answer.

The Rangers also signed him to a contract, something the Flames reportedly couldn’t do.  Check back here for more info, or follow me on Twitter for instant updates and analysis concerning the trade.

Erixon, only 20, was drafted 23rd overall in 2009.


Trading for Brad Richards is Tempting

Let me start of by saying that I don’t think trading the whole farm for Richards is a good move. The Rangers can get him in the offseason if they choose, and you can’t ruin the rebuilding mode the Rangers are in right now. This team has a load of young talent. It’s about winning another Stanley Cup, not winning a playoff series this year.

With that said, I would not be opposed to a deal where Gilroy, a few mid-level prospects, and a couple of draft picks are given up. I don’t think the cap will be an issue, as Drury and Frolov can be moved to the LTIR. The question is would Richards make New York a Cup contender?

Putting Richards and Gaborik together on a line would be a lethal combination. With Dubinsky and Callahan on another, you already have two high-quality lines. Stepan could center the third, with a strong, physical fourth line.

Prospal-Richards-Gaborik
Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan
Wolski-Stepan-Fedotenko/Zucarello
Avery-Boyle-Prust

I would guess either Fedotenko or Zucarello would sit in the press box. I’m not sure where Christensen fits into this picture either. But I guarantee you people will be injured come playoff time, so it’s not a big deal.

Assuming Gilroy gets traded, here’s how the defense would look:

Staal-Girardi
McCabe-Del Zotto
Sauer-McDonaugh

Three nice pairs there. It’s a good blend between young kids and players who have been in the league for a while. If Del Zotto can step up his defensive play, this group can be electric come playoff time.

So I think while the Rangers must be extremely cautious in a Richards trade, he could really help the team. The Rangers lack a true #1 center, and Brad would help the Rangers out in that category. However, I trust Sather not to give up any top-prospects that teams so highly covet.

In other Rangers news, I don’t think I want to see Del Zotto or Gaborik moved. Del Zotto has all-star potential, and can finally be the “quarterback of the power play” that the Rangers have been looking for. Gaborik is having a slow season, but he can explode for a hat trick any night if he gets hot. Of course, it all depends on the package the Rangers are getting back. If it’s a ridiculous deal in favor of the Blueshirts, you have to pull the trigger.

Happy Birthday Marian Gaborik

Today is also Marian Gaborik’s birthday.  Gaborik had 42 goals last season, but has only 16 so far this season.  There is a possibility he gets traded at the trade deadline, but he is likely going to stick around.  The Rangers need him to step up and be the star he can be.  I hope Sather hangs on to him and he helps the push to the playoffs yet again.

New York Nine: The General Managers

9)  Omar Minaya

It’s truly hard to believe that Omar still has a job.  The Beltran and Pedro signings were bad, but the Perez and Castillo signings are some of the worst of all time.  The Jason Bay signing is starting to look bad now too.  Even the Santana trade is looking bad right now because of Johan’s injuries.  Not to mention the mishandling of Willie Randolph in 2008.  An overall failure of a general manager.

8)  Glen Sather

He’s drafted well, but the Redden, Brashear, Boogard, Drury, and Gomez signings were just brutal.

7)  Billy King

You can’t really say anything about King since he is new to the job.  He hasn’t done anything for the Nets so far, but by doing nothing he is automatically better than Sather and Minaya.

6)  Garth Snow

Garth has drafted well, but it’s hard not to do that when you’re bad every year.  The Islanders will eventually be good, but Snow has done nothing to speed along that process.

5)  Donnie Walsh

While Walsh did a lot to get the Knicks under the cap, he didn’t land Lebron James.  Time will tell if Walsh is remembered as a hero or a guy who build the Knicks the wrong way.  He also can’t draft at all.

4)  Mike Tannenbaum

Tannenbaum has built the Jets into a Super Bowl contender.  Time will tell if Mike becomes one of the greatest general managers in New York sports history.

3)  Jerry Reese

Reese has drafted extremely well during his tenure with Big Blue.  He also built a Super Bowl winner in 2007.

2)  Lou Lamoriello

Despite being the general manager of a small market team, Lou lead the Devils to three Stanley Cups.  Without Lamoriello’s guidance, the Devils wouldn’t be the perennial powerhouse they are today.

1)  Brian Cashman

With four World Series wins, Brian Cashman is the best general manager in New York sports today.  Sure, he has a lot of money to work with.  At the same time, so does Omar Minaya.  Cashman has put a contender on the field every year he’s been in office.  He’s given out some bad contracts, but he’s also made some amazing trades to keep the Yankees competitive.

Goodbye Wade Redden?

Could this be too good to be true?

The Rangers could free up $6.5 million in cap room if they waive Wade Redden.  Glen Sather has been opposed to this before, but hopefully Redden is waived by opening night.

If the Rangers were to re-sign Marc Staal, they could spend over the cap.  Sather would then have until opening night to clear cap room.  So in theory, the Rangers could re-sign Staal and then wait until after camp to waive Redden.

This would be one of the greatest moves in Rangers history.  It takes a man to admit to their mistakes, and that would be exactly what Glen Sather would be doing.  If this does go down, it will be comparable to the firing of Isiah Thomas by the New York Knicks.

Rangers trade for Todd White

This week, the Rangers traded winger Donald Brashear for center Todd White. White is a 35-year old veteran who recently was part of the Atlanta Thrashers. Two years ago, White put up 73 points while playing with Ilya Kovalchuk.

Brashear was another one of the terrible signings made by Glen Sather.  After a conflict (against the Rangers) during the 2009 postseason while playing for the Capitals, Donald was never truly accepted by the Rangers fans and his teammates.  It is good to see him gone.

By trading for White, Rangers finally got someone who can distribute the puck. He should be a leading candidate to play alongside Marian Gaborik on the first line. We will see what happens in training camp.

Another solid move by Glen Sather.