Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rangers Buy Out Redden, Notes From Practice, Plus A Minor Trade

The Wade Redden Error, as it's been termed all over Twitter, is officially over. After clearing waivers, the Rangers officially bought him out of the remaining two years of his contract and he is now free to sign anywhere. I'll give Redden credit where it's due - he never complained after he was sent down to Hartford two seasons ago, and players and coaches on the Whale have repeatedly talked about what a positive veteran influence Redden provided while on the team. I'm sure it's not easy for guys like Redden who get exiled to the AHL or elsewhere after once being an accomplished NHL player. No matter who you are, I'm sure your ego takes a hit. So, farewell, Wade. I'll be interested in seeing if any NHL teams out there are willing to bring him in on a low-cost signing.

Speaking of being bought out, Scott Gomez was also bought out by the Montreal Canadiens today. Gomez, of course, will go down as one of the best Ranger free agent signings in history considering Glen Sather was able to turn him and his bloated contract into a package that landed the Rangers LW Chris Higgins, D Pavel Valentenko and some other kid defenseman named Ryan McDonagh. Thanks again, Montreal!

As for practice today, Brad Richards returned to the ice for the first time this week after battling the flu all week. The Rangers worked mainly on their Power Play units, which consisted of the following lines:

5-on-4 lines:
Marian Gaborik-Ryan Callahan-Rick Nash
Brad Richards-Michael Del Zotto

Carl Hagelin-Derek Stepan-Taylor Pyatt
Anton Stralman-Dan Girardi

5-on-3 lines:
Marian Gaborik-Ryan Callahan-Rich Nash
Brad Richards-Derek Stepan

Carl Hagelin-Brian Boyle-Ryan Callahan
Michael Del Zotto-Dan Girardi

I'm a bit surprised that John Tortorella didn't give Chris Kreider a look on either power play unit, but it's hard to read too much into anything this early. Tortorella still has not guaranteed that Kreider will make the team and even went as far as to say he thought Kreider was "God awful" in some playoff games last year. Kreider struggled during his time in the AHL with the Whale this season, but I'd be absolutely shocked if he gets sent back down. If the Rangers were willing to let him play and take his bumps during the playoffs last year, I have to believe they'll be willing to let him continue to learn the game at the NHL level.

Some other notes from practice from this week:

- Aaron Asham will miss the season opener on Saturday in Boston because he still has one game left to sit out dating back to his suspension for a hit on Brayden Schenn in the playoffs last year when Asham was with the Penguins. Because of that the Rangers recalled RW Brandon Segal from the Connecticut Whale, although he isn't expected to dress for Saturday's game.

- The lines on Saturday, based on practice from this week, will likely be:

Carl Hagelin-Brad Richards-Rick Nash
Marian Gaborik-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan
Chris Kreider-Brian Boyle-Taylor Pyatt
Mike Rupp-Jeff Halpern-Stu Bickel

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Marc Staal-Anton Stralman
Michael Del Zotto-Steve Eminger

Henrik Lundqvist
Martin Biron

As always, you can expect these lines to fluctuate as the game goes along, and as it gets later in the game you'll likely be seeing very little of Rupp, Halpern, Bickel and Eminger.

- Finally, the Rangers made a small trade of minor leaguers late last night, trading LW Tommy Grant and a conditional late-round pick in the 2014 Entry Level Draft to the San Jose Sharks for LW Brandon Mashinter. Mashinter, 24, is 6-foot-4,  230 pounds and adds some size and toughness to the roster. He's appeared in 13 career NHL games with the Sharks and racked up 17 PIMs. This is a classic Glen Sather trade, who never turns up a chance to add some size to his hockey team.