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Free agent news and Zubov makes the Hall of Fame

June 26, 2019, 11:10 PM ET [6 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
As we wait for July 1 and the official start of free agency, available players are in the midst of their team visits. All we have now is rumor, innuendo and speculation as $ figures and offers are technically not allowed to be discussed. In addition, Artemi Panarin’s decision will drive the remainder of the market, putting several squads in a holding pattern. In other news, Sergei Zubov received the call to the Hall yesterday in his seventh year of eligibility.

Elliott’s Friedman reported in his 31 thoughts: “The Avalanche were unwilling to include their 16th pick (Alex Newhook) in last week’s draft for Chris Kreider, so it is unlikely that gets re-visited — especially since he’s up in a year.” Read the last part of that sentence again. As Kreider is in the last year of his deal, his value is somewhat diminished. In addition, it’s unclear whether or not New York wanted an additional piece for Kreider in that trade.

EK speculates that if Joe Pavelski leaves the Sharks, maybe for Dallas,, San Jose might be interested in Kreider. The amount New York would have to add to Kreider to get someone like Timo Meier May be somewhat painful. I know names like K’Andre Miller were tossed about on the blog. If that is the price, which might be the case seeing the upside in Meier, I hang up the phone, My view on dealing CK20 is well known but I am not dealing potential major assets with Kreider even for a building block like Meier.

Until Panarin makes a decision, the market is somewhat on hold. GM Jeff Gorton May only be interested in short term deals, which in essence takes him out of the mix for Matt Duchene, though the latter would clearly fill the 2c role. However the price tag on Duchene, who may end up in Montreal or Nashville, would have me move along as well.

Gorton then may pivot to more role players. Blueshirt Banter has a good list of who might fill a short term role, bolstering the bottom six. Brian Boyle, a former favorite, would be a nice add as checking line player who has shown the ability to score a bit and can fill a spot on both the special teams. In addition, he provides veteran leadership to a team that right now is lacking in that area.

Mats Zuccarello might have been an option if he doesn’t re-sign with Dallas. But Larry Brooks reports that Zucc wants a five year deal, which summarily ends those discussions. The hope has to be he does end up in Dallas, allowing the third rounder next year to become a first. Though that too is looking like a long shot. (update: since I was called out in a Pm, I will respond here. Yes, I love Zucc, but I am not giving him a five-year deal. Three years, four years, maybe but unlikely, five years, no way, unless for such a low cost $ wise you couldn't say no and I believe all of us think that's not happening)

Of the other names mentioned, Sven Andrighetto, Nick Cousins, Ryan Hartman, Marko Dano and Garnet Hathaway, Dano and Hathaway are the most intriguing. All of those listed could be a nice, cheap add with potential upside. But Dano, due to his straight forward style, and Hathaway, based on his agitative style, are the ones that interest me the most. None, save for maybe Hathaway, would require a major $ outlay or necessitate a long term deal, saving dollars for players like Jacob Trouba, Pavel Buchnevich and the other RFAs, potential trades and future classes of unrestricted free agents.

Presuming Panarin doesn’t come to New York, partially impacted by the need to clear salaries to fit him, meaning that could be a team and JT player decision, which way should New York go? Would you pursue any of the renaming bigger names like Duchene or Pavelski? Do you go cheaper to retain cap room while also bringing veteran leadership and options for the bottom line? Is taking on salary to fill spots, especially for skilled players a direction in which you want to the team to travel?


I think we all loved Zubie in New York. He led the team in scoring with 89 points (12 goals, 77 assists) during the Cup championship season (1993-94). Selected in the fifth round of the 1990 draft, Zubov played in New York from 1992-95. Zubov recorded two assists in the Rangers' 3-2 Game 7 win over the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Final, and he had a goal and two assists in a 4-2 victory in Game 4. I think all of us rue the day Zubov was dealt to Pittsburgh, thinking of what might have been if he remained a Blueshirt, helping to quarterback the power play.

As the IIHF (https://www.iihf.com/en/news/13257/hockey-hall-of-fame-nominates-six) announcement noted, Zubov had a robust history on GE world stage. “Zubov began his career playing the World Juniors in both 1989 and ’90 with the Soviet Union, winning a gold and silver medal. He also played at the 1992 Olympics, the nation’s most recent gold medal, and a few months later he also appeared at the 1992 World Championship. Zubov also played at the 1996 World Cup.”

Zubov, who stayed just one year in Pittsburgh, really blossomed in Dallas, spending the final 12 seasons of his career with the Stars, reaching two Stanley Cup Finals and winning the Cup again in 1999. Overall, Zubov played 1,068 games over 16 games, eclipsing the 50-point mark eight times in his NHL career, appearing in three All-Star Games. The 48-year-old Zubov is currently the head coach of HC Sochi in the Kontinental Hockey League.

While the class is a solid class, look at some of the names not yet in (feel free to add your own). Alexander Mogilny. Pierre Turgeon. Daniel Alfredsson, Jeremy Roenick, Steve Larmer, Theo Fleury, Rod Brind’Amour, Pat Verbeek, Rick Middleton, Patrik Elias and Vincent Lecavalier, each of whom were first ballot nominees this year. Doug Wilson, Chris Osgood. Curtis Joseph, Tom Barrasso and Mike Richter are all on the outside looking in. Based on the fact that none of those players were elected, I can understand the handwringing and consternation when Zubov and to a certain Guy Carbonneau get in and the aforementioned names and many others are still on the outside looking in.

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