Rangers Roundup: Stamkos rumors, Kreider’s status, Yakupov update and more

Kreider (NYR Twitter)

Kreider (NYR Twitter)

As we gear up for what many expect to be a week of heavy activity, here’s the latest news and rumors surrounding the Blueshirts.

Rangers A Dark Horse to Land Stamkos

According to The Score, they list Tampa Bay, Detroit and Toronto as the top three favorites to sign Steven Stamkos this summer. However, when it comes to dark horse candidates the Rangers top the list.

Buying a star player would be nothing new for the Rangers. New York’s window to win opens as wide as Henrik Lundqvist can hold it, but, somewhat surprisingly, the Rangers could make this work, and are expected to pursue it, according to McKenzie.

Eric Staal‘s contract will be off the books, Keith Yandle is expected to sign elsewhere, and Rick Nash is hot on the trade market, creating ample space for the Blueshirts to lure Stamkos to Broadway.

However, forwards Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, and Kevin Hayes need new contracts, and are likely due for raises. – VIA THE SCORE

No Contract Talks Yet With Kreider

“They don’t even know what the cap is yet and the draft is still a week away so I’d be surprised if anyone’s having any contract talks,” Chris Kreider told the NYDN. He also thinks that the early exit might help him, since this is the earliest he’s stopped playing hockey since he was 17.

The fact that there hasn’t been any contact talks is not shocking for a few reasons. Aside from the cap not being settled, Kreider is also a RFA and the odds that some team will offer him a contract are extremely low. The Rangers are in the driver’s seat here.

NYDN RFA Speculation

The NYDN also offered this:

Forward J.T. Miller, 23, should end up staying in the Big Apple after a breakout season, while defenseman Dylan McIlrath, 24, could be traded since he’s not coach Alain Vigneault’s favorite. Talented forward Kevin Hayes, 24, had a startlingly lackluster second NHL season, so the Rangers have a decision to make about whether they want him to be a part of their future.

I think of the 4 RFA’s, Miller is a lock to stay with the team. Kreider is also very likely to remain a Ranger, while McIlrath and Hayes are 50/50 at best in my estimation.

The Salary Cap Ceiling Will Rise

THN is reporting that the NHLPA will elect to use the escalator clause which could mean a salary cap ceiling of 73.49M. This would be helpful to all teams, including the New York Rangers who are up against the cap.

Nail Yakupov Trade Value

As many of my readers know, I am a huge proponent of bringing this talented young forward to the Rangers. This former 1st overall pick has been a huge disappointment thus far in Edmonton but could find a new life on the Rangers.

According to the Edmonton Journal, it’s expected they’ll move Nail Yakupov’s $2.5-million at the draft. His value has plummeted which certainly makes the risk/reward factor much more favorable.

Matheson claimed a deal that was proposed at the trade deadline was the Oilers shipping Nail Yakupov to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Eric Gelina, who was eventually dealt to Colorado for a third-round pick. As per Spector’s Hockey: The Oilers will be fortunate to get a second-round pick for Yakupov at this point. 

The Rangers have acquired 8 former 1st overall picks in their history….will Yakupov be the 7th?

#NYR 1st overall pick acquisitions (FTNYR)

#NYR 1st overall pick acquisitions (FTNYR)

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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