New York Nine: NHL Players (7/28/11)

Honorable Mentions: Marc Staal, Travis Zajac, Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Anton Volchenkov, Colin White, Dan Girardi, Matt Moulson, Kyle Okposo, Mark Streit

9) Michael Grabner

Talking about making an immediate impact. After being picked up on waivers from Florida, Grabner scored 34 goals in his first season with the Islanders. His main tool is his speed, which makes him a threat every time he touches the puck.

8) Patrik Elias

Patrik Elias has been a constant force for the Devils throughout the past fifteen years. During his career, he’s played in 961 games, he’s scored 335 goals, and he’s put up 481 assists. He’s still a strong as ever, as he put up a 62 point season in 2010-2011.

7) John Tavares

This 20-year-old sensation has already put up 121 points in only two seasons. If his game progresses and he reaches his potential, we could be looking at a future Hall of Famer.

6) Martin Brodeur

Brodeur has a 2.22 GAA with a .913 save percentage. He has been the most consistent goalie in the NHL in the past two decades, and the best goalie in NHL history in my opinion. Sure, he’s had great players play in front of him, but he has set the bar at a new level for goalies in the NHL.

He may be on the decline, but Brodeur is still serviceable for the Devils. With 20 shutouts in the past three seasons, Marty is still going strong.

5) Brad Richards

Richards could be the missing piece in the Rangers’ puzzle. His last two years have been his best, averaging well over a point a game. Richards, a center, is extremely skilled, and he should definitely help Marian Gaborik get back on track.

4) Marian Gaborik

When Gaborik is healthy, he can put up huge numbers. He put up a combined 85 goals in his last two fully healthy seasons. With Brad Richards feeding him the puck, there’s no reason Gaborik can’t score 35+ goals this season.

3) Zach Parise

After an injury-filled 2010-2011, many forgot just how good Zach is. Parise scored 176 points in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 combined. He is a scoring machine who will only continue to thrive with players such as Ilya Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac around him.

2) Henrik Lundqvist

Hank has played on some pretty mediocre teams, yet he’s led the Rangers to playoff berths five out of the past six seaons. My only complaint is that he’s yet to carry the team in a playoff series. Once he does that, he can become a Rangers legend.

1) Ilya Kovalchuk

Kovalchuk had a down year in 2010-2011, but he can put up 40-50 goals when he gets on a roll. Ilya is one of the elite players in the game, and he was worth whatever the Devils had to give up for him. Will he be just as good in 2025? Probably not, but I expect him to retire well before his contract is over.

Did we miss anyone?  Is there someone we should have ranked higher or lower?  Leave us feedback here or on Facebook/Twitter.

All three teams in the New York metro area have very talented players.

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2011 NHL Free Agency Madness

No Daily Briefing today, but we’ve got live coverage of the annual NHL free agency circus.

It’s July 1, and that means it’s time for the most exciting few hours of the hockey year.  It’s time for the first day of NHL free agency, which customarily is the busiest.  All eyes will be on the Rangers in their efforts to land Brad Richards.  The Devils and Islanders are expected to have quiet days, but who knows with Lou and Garth Snow.  As news and signings of interest are reported, we’ll have them here.

Pre-12:00

– The Sabres signed Christian Erhoff to a 10-year, $40 million contract yesterday.

– Carolina re-signed Jussi Jokinen to a 3-year, $9 million contract yesterday.

– Former Islander James Wisniewski will sign with the Blue Jackets for 6-years, $33 million.  Insanity.

– The Devils and Andy Greene are still talking.  He could be re-signed before noon.

TSN’s pre-noon handicap on Brad Richards has the Rangers as the favorites, followed by LA, Toronto, and Tampa.

– The Penguins have withdrawn their offer to Jaromir Jagr.  Could the Rangers be interested?

– Leino turned down a 4-year, $12 million deal from Flyers.  I’d like to see the Rangers in on him for the right price.

12:00-1:00

– Tyler Kennedy re-signed by the Penguins on a two-year deal.  No surprises there.

– Johan Hedburg and Andy Greene were not re-signed by New Jersey.  They will hit the free agent market.

– Red Wings are out on Jagr.  Many Rangers fans don’t want him, but don’t be surprised if Sather gets in on this.

– The LA Kings have arrived at Newport offices to meet with Brad Richards and agent Pat Morris.  Not good for the Rangers.

– The Leafs will meet with Richards/Morris next.  The Rangers won’t because Richards knows Tortorella well.

– The Islanders have signed 2008 draft pick Kirill Kabanov to three-year entry level deal.

– Andy Greene re-signs with Devils for 4 years.

– Various bloggers have suggested that the Rangers give Drew Doughty an offer sheet if the Kings sign Richards.  Unlikely to happen though.  And I say everyone should calm down, Richards still will probably be a Ranger at the end of all of this.

1:00-2:00

– Huge breaking news for Devils fans.  Their Christmas jerseys will be in NHL 12.

– The Rangers may be interested in veteran LW Andrew Brunette.

– Flyers sign Jaromir Jagr. Done deal. Wow. Was not expecting that. $3.3 million for 1 year. At lot for someone who hasn’t played in the NHL for three seasons. Penguins fans are irate right now.

– The Kings are seriously pursuing premier free agent forward Brad Richards.

– Chicago signs Andrew Brunette for $2 million.  He won’t be a Ranger.

– Ville Leino is still on the market.  There are a lot teams interested, possibly including the Rangers.

2:00-3:00

– The Caps have traded Semyon Varlamov to the Avs or a first and second round pick.

– Larry Brooks says that the Rangers will get chance to match on Richards at the end of the day. Brooks says Richards will demand close to max money for the first two years of the deal with a major signing bonus for 7/1/12 to protect against a rollback or lockout.

– Johan Hedburg re-signs with the Devils. I thought this would happen all along.

– Max Talbot joins Jagr in Philly, signs a 5-year deal. Leino and Gagne still available if the Rangers decide to go that direction.

Larry Brooks says the Rangers are in the hunt for Mike Rupp and Anton Babchuk. It’s unclear if any offers were made.

– The Rangers will sign Mike Rupp to a 3 year, $4.5 million contract. Never thought I’d see him put on a Rangers uniform.

3:00-5:00

– The Islanders have signed veteran center Marty Reasoner to a 2-year deal.  The deal is worth $2.7 million total.

– Former Ranger Alex Auld has signed with Ottawa on a 1-year deal.

– The Flyers have traded Kris Versteeg to Florida for second and third round draft picks.

– Ville Leino signs with Buffalo, 6 years for $27 million total.

– JS Giguere signs with Colorado.  Devils fans remember him very well from the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals.

Larry Brooks: Rangers have made their pitch to Richards. Now we wait.

Post-5:00: Brad Richards Drama

– TSN’s Darren Dreger says that Calgary is going in with a big pitch for Richards.  The Flyers may be in on him too, according to Dreger.

– Gord Miller of TSN claims that the Rangers are “confident” about their chances to sign Richards.

– Nick Kyperos tweets that the Flyers may now be the favorites for Richards.  But how could they sign him?  They have no cap space.

Larry Brooks of the Post points out that because the “Kovalchuk Amendment” in the CBA, the longest deal for Richards would probably be nine years.

Brooks also says that the Rangers don’t have the highest offer for Richards.  With more teams getting in on the bidding for Richards, this may not end well.

– Despite a monster 9-year, $64 million offer, Jesse Spector says Richards won’t go to Calgary.

Larry Brooks reports that Jim Dolan has spoken with Brad Richards.  Is that even a good thing?

– Jesse Spector of the Daily News tweets that the Rangers would look to add a scoring left winger if they landed Richards.

– The Rangers re-sign Ruslan Fedotenko for one-year, $1.4 million.  He wasn’t needed with the Rupp signing, but he’s good to have.

– According to GM Steve Yzerman, the Lightning are out of the Brad Richards sweepstakes.

– This may end very bad for the Rangers.  According to Larry Brooks, the Rangers are definitely not the highest bidder.  Goodbye Brad?

For more on NHL free agency, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

It's that time of year again.

First Round Review for Rangers, Devils & Islanders

The 1st round of the 2011 NHL draft is completed and the Rangers, Devils and Islanders selection have some mixed reviews. let’s start with the Rangers:

Rangers

The New York Rangers selected Jonathan Miller out of the USA U-18 USHL League. Miller’s stock rose after an impressive Under-18 World Championships. where he led US to a gold medal over Sweden by posting 4 goals and 9 assists in the tournament. I like Miller and his style of play fits right into the Rangers system. However; I was hoping the Rangers would have traded down (perhaps with Ottawa, who had 3 1st round picks (#6/#21/#24), perhaps acquiring Ottawa’s #21 or #24 pick and also an additional pick (#61 in the 2nd round) for their 15th overall pick. Players like Tyler Biggs, Nicklas Jensen (who I had projected) would have been available between the 21st and 24th picks and possibly Miller as well. Again, Miller is a solid player and pick and reminds me of Brandon Dubinsky, but I think the Rangers wasted an opportunity to acquire an additional pick.

Jonathan Miller

Devils

The devils selected arguably the best all around defensemen in the draft in Adam Larsson with their 1st round (#4) overall pick .  I had the Devils drafting a center in my pre-draft (Sean Couturier), however; I did suggest that if Larsson fell to them, it would be very hard to pass on him, which they didn’t. Despite the Devils having depth on defense in their system, I can not blame them for selecting Larsson, he is that good. Larsson will have a solid NHL career and become the 2nd best defensemen in Devils history (Scott Neidermayer #1).

Adam Larsson

Islanders

The Islanders selected a gifted center in Ryan Strome who posted 106 pts (33g/73a) last season. Out of the three local picks, I think this one surprised more people, as many (including myself) had the Islanders drafting a much-needed Defensemen. Strome wasn’t even listed on many mock drafts in the top 10, so this was definitely a surprise. The Islanders passed on Defensemean Dougie Hamilton, who would have been a mainstay for this organization for the next decade. Strome is an exciting player, but in my opinion, players like Courturier and Huberdeau would have been a better selection.

Ryan Strome

All three teams drafted a quality player and only time will tell how good they will be. I will give my overall grades for each team after the draft is completed.

Final Footnote:

I will say this that the Eastern Division has gotten a lot better over the past week with all the transitions and draft selections that have occurred. I expect this division to even get stronger after July 1st free agent signings begin. I will give a preview for each local team on who they should pursue via free agency later this week.

2011 NHL Draft First Round Recap

With the 4th overall pick, the Devils selected Swedish defenseman Adam Larsson with the 4th overall pick.

– Pierre Mcguire has called Larsson the best defenseman in the draft since Drew Doughty in 2008 so this looks like a good pick for Lou Lamoriello.

With the 5th overall pick, the Islanders selected Canadian center Ryan Strome with the 5th overall pick.

– Strome has a lot of potential and can be very good for the Islanders.  He scored 106 points in the OHL last season.

With the 15th overall pick, the Rangers selected J.T Miller right-winger with the 15th overall pick.

– Surprising pick to many, but Gordie Clark has been great over the years.  He seems to fit in to the model for the Rangers team going forward, so you can’t complain about this pick.  Gordie got his man.

For more on each pick, follow us on Twitter.

2011 NHL Draft Preview

Mike Stewart has been working very hard predicting the NHL Draft over the past few weeks.  With the Rangers, Devils, and Islanders all picking inside the top-15, it is going to be an exciting draft for sports fans.  Here’s what Mike has come up with.

Islanders Pre-Draft Analysis

Devils Pre-Draft Analysis

Rangers Pre-Draft Analysis

Mike also created preliminary mock drafts for the Rangers, Islanders, and Devils last month, as well as an overview of what each team should focus on.

As we have discussed here and on Twitter, the Rangers moving down is a huge possibility.  I personally don’t like it, and would much rather trade up.  I feel the Rangers may be able to get an elite prospect inside the top-10, but they will almost certainly not get one if they trade down.

For a recap of last year’s draft, click here.

Two of these four guys were draft picks for the Rangers. Moving forward, the Rangers will need a nice balance of young talent and impact veterans.

Islanders Pre-Draft Analysis

The New York Islanders are up next and with the 5th overall pick in this year’s NHL draft, and they should select a solid player who will be will them for the next decade. With the signings of forwards Michael Grabner and Kyle Okposo, the Islanders are showing the commitment of improving the teams talent and that should continue with this year’s draft. Unless there’s a total misread by me and many other hockey experts; the Islanders should be selecting a defenseman with their 5th overall pick. Unless Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Gabriel Landeskog happen to slide down to them, which is very unlikely, they’ll take a defenseman.

Based on all the reports I have read, there should be many quality d-men for them to choose from. The Islanders will have a total of 8 selections in this year’s draft and they will need every one of them to improve they talent pool. GM Garth Snow has had his moments in past drafts, but he seems to be getting the hang of it and has drafted well over the past two years. Here is my draft board selections of the New York Islanders:

1st Round (#5): Dougie Hamilton (Defense): A physical package, fluid skater with a heavy shot. Could be the best D-man in this draft, or a close second behind Adam Larrson.

Option 1: Adam Larrson (Defense):If Larrson falls into the Islanders lap it will be hard to pass him by.

Option 2: Jonathan Huberdeau (Center): If both Hamilton and Larrson are off the board, the Islanders just may select Huberdeau with their pick. A gifted undersized center who has a high skill level and creates many scoring chances.

2nd Round (#35): Shane Prince (LW): Superb skater, big time offensive present.

Option 1: Tomas Jurco (RW): All around game, fearless in the corners and a team player.

Option 2: Richard Rakell (Center): Hard worker with great stick skills. Plays a 3 zone game.

2nd Round (#51): Reese Scarlett (Defense): Smart player who has the making of a two-way defensemen. Needs to build his body, long-term project.

Option 1: Colin Jacob (Center): Playmaking center who can skate well. Could be a solid 3rd liner.

Option 2: Matthew Nieto (LW):Rocket skater and a quality penalty killer. Smart in all 3 zones, but needs to get stronger.

3rd Round (#64): Joseph Labate (Center): Quick heavy shot and uses his size well. Will getting bigger and be a solid power forward.

Option 1: Michael Paliotta (Defense): Stay at home D-man who is a strong skater and would be a solid pick.

Option 2: Vincent Tracheck (Center):Good puck handling abilities and scoring prowess. Good balance and solid two-way player.

4th Round (#95): Jesse Forsberg (Defense): Gritty player, good in all zones and is a quality puck carrier.

Option 1: Adam Reid (LW): Big winger with great strength. Shows some scoring touch, but is a long-term project.

Option 2: Rasmus Bengtsson (Defense):Stay at home D-man with a solid point shot. May need to adapt to the NHL style of play.

5th Round (#126): Markus Granlund (Center):Undersized player who stays away from the corners. Has superb passing skills and processes a good wrist shot.

Option 1: Brady Brassart (C)-Good size and plays both ends of the ice.

Option 2: Jordan Binnington (Goalie): Has moved up over the last month and showcased himself well when Scott Stajer injured his hip.

5th Round (#127):  Liam Liston (Goalie): Quick and performed well at the prospect games.

Option 1: Robbie Russo (Defense): Steady D-man, doesn’t stand out, but does everything well.

Option 2: Jonatan Nielsen (Defense): Good size, but needs time to develop.

7th Round (#185): Josiah Didier (Defense): Strong and raw defender. Skates and moves well. needs to plays a tougher style.

Option 1: Luke Lockhart (Center): Undersized player with scoring skills and a lot of snarl.

Option 2: William Karlsson (Center): High energy with strong skating ability. A north and south player, only 18 will need time to improve.

Barring any unforseen moves before or during the draft, this is my draft picks for the Islanders.

The 2011 NHL Draft

Why the NHL is better than the NBA

1)  The hard cap is better than the soft cap.

2) Hockey is a role players league, not a stars league.

3) Any team can win the Stanley Cup any given year.

4) There is respect between players and respect for the game.

5) Very few off the field incidents in the NHL.

6) Hockey players are much smarter.

7) Less fouls called in the NHL and much better referees.

8) The Winter Classic.

9) The classic moments, from the Rangers in ’94 to Arnott’s goal in 2000.

10) The goal in hockey is the greatest scoring play in any sport.