Prospect Ryan McDonagh signs with Rangers, decisions await on Staal and Girardi

marcstaal3.jpgThe New York Rangers are about to make life interesting on both head coach John Tortorella and general manager Glen Sather. The Rangers have signed prospect defenseman Ryan McDonagh and while that’s a great thing overall for the Rangers it puts them in a curious position, one which Glen Sather probably doesn’t mind.

The Rangers are mixed up in a restricted free agency contract battle with young defenseman Marc Staal, one which gets a bit more uncomfortable as time goes on and the Rangers spend money elsewhere. Jess Rubenstein of The Prospect Park, a blog focused on the future of the New York Rangers, points out that McDonagh’s signing only points out the Rangers struggles in getting Staal and fellow restricted free agent defenseman Dan Girardi signed and the tough spot the team finds itself in from that.

Staal has lived with his original Entry Level contract and never complained just went out and did his job. He has watched just about every other defenseman who has joined the Rangers get paid more than he has.

Even Matt Gilroy who wound up finishing the season in the press box made close to twice what Staal made so if I am Marc Staal then I want the money. Staal is the Rangers best defenseman right now and a long dragged out contract dispute will hurt the Rangers more than it will Staal.

The Rangers as it is are not exactly full of solid options for the blueline next season even with Marc Staal in the lineup. As badly as fans want to see Redden and/or Rozsival gone there is nothing in the system to replace them.

Rubenstein later theorizes that if/when the Rangers get all of their defensemen signed, someone’s going to have to get sent down to the Rangers AHL affiliate in Hartford. Sorry Rangers fans, it won’t be megabucks-megabust defenseman Wade Redden. Instead, look for Boston University standout Matt Gilroy to spend his time in Hartford.

The one dangerous position the Rangers find themselves in with their dealings with Staal is being poached by another team. There are plenty of teams who could use a solid, very young defenseman and there’s a lot of teams with the cap space available to sign Staal to an offer sheet. The Rangers, meanwhile, currently sit in a pretty good spot with around $6 million in cap space left to work with. Playing tough with Staal while he’s restricted will do the Rangers no favors in the meantime and certainly not in the future.

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    Douglas Murray calls it a career

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    One of the more unique blueliners in recent memory is hanging up his skates.

    Douglas Murray, the big-bodied Swedish rearguard that appeared in over 500 NHL contests, has decided to retire.

    “Thirty general managers do not want me,” Murray told Alftonbladet (translation per Yahoo). “I know that I can still play, but it’s over now.”

    Murray, 36, is best remembered for his time in San Jose, where he used his 6-foot-3, 245-pound frame to become one of the hardest hitters in the league.

    His best years came between 2009-11, when he helped the Sharks advance to a pair of Western Conference Finals, and represented Sweden at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

    Murray also spent time with Pittsburgh and Montreal, before joining German League side Kolner Haie in ’14-15. He also had a brief stint with the Calgary Flames, though things never progressed beyond the professional tryout stage.

    As mentioned above, Murray was a pretty interesting guy. A late bloomer, he was 25 upon making his NHL debut but quickly endeared himself to Shark fans.

    Ivy-league educated, Murray and friends also created a beer dispensing system called the UberTap while at Cornell University.

    A few years ago, Murray was rumored to be dating Elin Nordegren, the ex-wife of Tiger Woods. Murray later shot down the reports, saying he and Nordegren were just friends.

    Goalie nods: Domingue has ‘got to play better’ for Coyotes tonight in Brooklyn

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    Pressure’s on, Louis Domingue.

    Domingue, now Arizona’s No. 1 goalie with Mike Smith (lower body) shelved indefinitely, will get another chance to prove himself when the Coyotes visit the Isles at Barclays on Friday night.

    Things haven’t gone great for Domingue thus far.

    Since coming on in relief of Smith in Ottawa, the 24-year-old has allowed seven goals on 30 shots in just over 36 minutes of action — leaving him with a ghastly .767 save percentage and 11.35 GAA.

    (Not a typo. Eleven. Point. Three. Five.)

    “He’s gotta play better,” coach Dave Tippett said, per the Arizona Republic. “He’s gotta play better than these two games he’s played. We’ll give him another opportunity, and hopefully he responds.”

    The Coyotes haven’t provided a health update on Smith, who was flown back to Arizona earlier this week to be examined by team doctors. Justin Peters was recalled from the minors to serve as Domingue’s backup and looked sharp in relief of Domingue last night in Montreal, stopping 23 of 24 shots faced.

    As such, Domingue has plenty on the line tonight. Peters is a 30-year-old veteran with over 80 games of NHL experience, so the Coyotes could turn to him if Domingue struggle yet again.

    For the Isles, Jaroslav Halak gets the call in goal.


    Corey Crawford starts yet again for the Blackhawks, who are in Columbus to face the Blue Jackets. Sergei Bobrovsky will be in the opposing goal.

    Pekka Rinne, sporting a 2.04 GAA and .934 save percentage thus far, gets the nod as the Preds head to Detroit. Petr Mrazek will be in goal for the Red Wings, after Jimmy Howard played well in a Wednesday win over the Rangers.

    Brian Campbell won’t be a healthy scratch, after all

    CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 01:  Brian Campbell #51 of the Chicago Blackhawks participates in warm-ups before a preseason game against the St. Louis Blues at United Center on October 1, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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    It seems Brian Campbell won’t be a healthy scratch, after all. According to the Chicago Tribune, the veteran Blackhawks defenseman is likely to be in the lineup tonight in Columbus.

    It had previously been reported that Campbell would sit against the Blue Jackets, making way for the return of Trevor van Riemdsyk. Instead, the Tribune believes van Riemsdyk will replace either Michal Kempny or Gustav Forsling, though it’s also possible the ‘Hawks could dress seven defensemen.

    As for winger Marian Hossa, he will definitely not play tonight due to a lower-body injury suffered Tuesday against the Flyers, the same game in which he scored his 500th career goal. Hossa is also questionable for Saturday’s home game against Toronto.

    At this morning’s skate, Jonathan Toews was centering Tyler Motte and Richard Panik, with Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov, and Patrick Kane sticking together on the second line.

    Here’s Coach Q’s scrum from yesterday:

    Tinordi on waivers as his 20-game suspension for PEDs comes to an end

    GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 03:  Jarred Tinordi #28 of the Arizona Coyotes fights with Nick Ritchie #37 of the Anaheim Ducks during the third period of the NHL game at Gila River Arena on March 3, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Ducks defeated the Coyotes 5-1.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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    With his 20-game suspension finally set to end, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jarred Tinordi has reportedly been placed on waivers.

    Tinordi, 24, was suspended late last season for violating terms of the NHL’s performance-enhancing substances agreement. He said he “did not knowingly take a banned substance,” but accepted the ban and vowed to “work hard towards my return to the ice.” After he misses tonight’s game in Brooklyn, he’ll have served 20 games.

    A former first-round draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens, Tinordi has spent most of his pro career in the AHL, though he does have 54 games of NHL experience. The big blue-liner was traded to Arizona in January, part of a controversial three-team swap that saw John Scott, the All-Star, sent to the Habs.

    Tinordi played seven unremarkable games for the Coyotes before he was suspended. He’ll presumably be assigned to their AHL affiliate in Tucson should he clear waivers.

    Related: NHL has ‘no reason to believe…the Canadiens acted inappropriately’ in Tinordi trade