I suspect the Rangers will be active today, with plenty of cap room to do something very big, or to make a few smaller-scale improvements.
The action begins at noon, and NHL Network will present TSN’s always superb coverage.
No idea which way it will go, with one sure target (Justin Schultz) deciding to go to Edmonton instead, and one possible target (Paul Gaustad) coming off the board when Nashville re-signed him yesterday.
As I said last night, and have said all along, despite his grinning denial on breakup day, I still think the Rangers will be players for Zach Parise … unless Lou Lamoriello comes up with a way to keep him at the last minute. But he will be in a lot of teams’ crosshairs, and his price will be very steep. (And won’t it be interesting to see if it will be Parise or Martin Brodeur or both who walk out on the Devils?)
If not Parise? Do the Rangers go hard after Rick Nash (I don’t see Glen Sather bending on Scott Howson’s asking price, and I do expect Philly and maybe some other teams to be willing to give up more than the Rangers)? Or will they be looking to make their splash in a trade? Is Bobby Ryan really going to be available? Will they go after a Ray Whitney or a Shane Doan? Will they try to fill in and improve their second and third lines with character players who can chip in offensively? Because there are a lot of those available.
With Schultz off the board, I wonder if the Rangers will go after Jason Garrison, who has one of the biggest shots from the point in the entire NHL. Because, unless they fail to get a first-line winger, I don’t think the Rangers are going to be able to blow away the competition for Ryan Suter (or trade for Shea WWEber).
A lot of teams have plenty to spend today, so Sather is going to have a tough time getting what he wants or needs.
Here’s one thing I truly believe: I think Brandon Prust will get offers beyond where the Rangers want to go, and if they lose him they will lose a lot of their identity. The Rangers were a nasty team for opponents to play last year, and a lot of that had to do with Prust, willing and wanting to fight every night. He will have to be replaced, and there aren’t many guys in the NHL who can fight like he does and play important minutes and be a heart-and-soul guy (sorry for the cliche, but he is).
But I got the feeling on breakup day that Prust was looking forward to seeing how other teams feel about him and how far they’re willing to go to get him, and I think he will go for the biggest deal he can get. I’m not saying the Rangers should to go silly money to re-sign him. I am saying that if he goes, the Rangers will miss him more than a lot of people (other than John Tortorella) think.
I’m posting this extra early because I worry that we might have another power outage, or whatever the hell that was yesterday when we were out of business all afternoon and evening.
AP photo, above.