The latest on trading for Tyler Bozak
Since the Rangers traded away Derek Stepan and lost Oscar Lindberg to expansion, it was clear GM, Jeff Gorton was going to have to address this via free agency or trade. When the move was done to bring in David Desharnais, Lindberg was essentially replaced. Then rumors of moving J.T. Miller to center were squashed by Alain Vigneault who doesn't see him there yet. Now, Mika Zibanejad has been re-signed for 5 years but a huge hole exists and a need to bring in one more center persists.
The Interest In Bozak Goes Back 2 Years
Dating back to the 2015 trade deadline, Bozak has been linked to the Rangers. Insider, Bob McKenzie was the biggest name reporting it, and it likely fell through due to cap constraints. Bozak's ability to win face-offs (career 53.6%) and play substantial minutes (career TOIA 18:50) made Bozak a fit then and now. He's a decent scorer with a career points per game average of .62, which is perfect for a 2nd line center.
Where We Are Today
FullTilt Rangers first learned of the Blueshirt's rekindled interest in Bozak on July 4th. We stated that Nick Holden was also a potential key piece in moving to Toronto as well. Since then, Larry Brooks and some others have mentioned Bozak as a potential fit.
It should also be known that the rumor mill does not only have the Rangers as a potential trade partner. Rumors out of Pittsburgh have Olli Maatta for Bozak as a potential swap. Problem there is that it doesn't help Toronto's cap concerns.
Bozak makes 4.2M and the Rangers have just over 3M in space. How to make room you say? Well per Brooks we learned that the Blueshirts are looking to trade Holden and his 1.65M contract for a center. That is enough to fit Bozak for sure but doesn't leave much breathing room for adding a 13th forward or in season emergency call ups.
Earlier today, we were able to reconfirm that the Rangers were once again focusing on acquiring Bozak from Toronto. Now that Zibanejad is settled it makes sense.
Yes #NYR fans, we are hearing that acquiring Bozak is indeed being kicked into high gear. Oddly, & shockingly for me also buying out Staal.
— FullTilt Rangers (@NYR_FullTilt) July 26, 2017
Howard Berger who has been covering the Leafs for over a decade has been stating that they've been working on something for awhile. This was also tweeted today.
Is Nick Holden (#NewYorkRangers) for Tyler Bozak a fair swap for the #Leafs? It is being discussed. More in a blog later today.
— Howard Berger (@Berger_BYTES) July 26, 2017
There's simply is too much smoke to ignore now.
gonna be tight on $$$ even if Holden gets traded, but, yes, that rumor has been out there for a while https://t.co/W5j4C8dC8K
— Jim Cerny (@JimCerny) July 26, 2017
Marc Staal Buyout
While there is discussion within the organization, we've learned it's a pretty heated debate. I would be totally shocked if the Rangers go this route considering it's 8 years of dead cap space and an average hit of 6M for the next three years.
However, if you are thinking win now that additional 3+ million in space gives you flexibility to add maybe 2 more pieces. Rumors about a Jaromir Jagr return or adding UFA, Alex Chiasson are being floated about. As a side note, Chiasson played college hockey for BU and the Rangers love college players from Boston.
Will It All Go Down?
We are just a blog…I get it. Everyone here though really appreciates the loyal readership we have and none of us have the connections of the top hockey insiders. That being said, many of us have been doing this for awhile and have fostered some decent relationship. The truth is we don't know with any certainties if this does get done. Like all the insiders say, they are just rumors until a deal is announced.
What we have learned by reaching out is that trading for Bozak is more than likely to happen. As of right now, we think something goes down with the Rangers very soon.
If we're right, many will say we got lucky (again)…but if we are wrong, I'm sure we will never hear the end of it. No matter what…thanks for reading us always.