Wade Redden Rangers

What will the Rangers do with Wade Redden?

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New York Rangers defenseman Wade Redden has two years remaining on his six-year, $39 million deal — a $6.5 million cap hit annually.

The problem, of course, is that Redden hasn’t played for the Rangers in two years.

Instead, he’s been banished to the AHL, where — under the previous collective bargaining agreement — New York was able to retain him while also getting his cap hit off the books.

But under the new CBA, the ol’ “stick ’em in Connecticut!” cap circumvention play is out. Gone. Done. Never coming back.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie explains the Rangers now have three options for Redden moving forward, none of which are very appealing:

1) Stick him in the AHL and wait

The Rangers could continue letting Redden play for Connecticut, getting a minor cap hit haircut in the process:

Tere’s a provision in the new CBA that doesn’t allow the hiding of NHL contracts in the minors, save the first $900,000. 

[One plan] would be to send Redden to the AHL, absorb his $5 million-plus cap hit this season, which they have room for because teams can spend to $70M this season, and then use a compliance buyout this summer to erase the problem for next season.

The scary part here, of course, is if Redden gets hurt playing for the Whale. Teams can’t buy out injured players.

2) Trade him

The only way to eliminate the $6.5 million cap hit entirely would be to flip Redden to another club. That club, of course, would need to have both the available cap space and willingness to pay a guy that may go straight to the minors.

Since no team will likely offer this out of the goodness of its heart, it’s safe to assume the Rangers would have to pay a pretty penny just to get rid of Redden (with draft picks, or prospects.)

Would they want to do that with the compliance buyout just around the corner?

Note: The Rangers could, as has been pointed out in the comments section, try to move Redden by retaining a share of his salary/cap hit, one of the new wrinkles in the CBA. The Rangers could absorb up to 50 percent, but would be on the hook for two years.

3) Park him

From McKenzie:

The only other option for the Rangers is to take Redden’s cap hit this season but not play him. Not in New York. Not in the AHL. Not anywhere.

Put him in bubble wrap, cold storage and call it a year. Make sure his cheques show up on time and wait for the compliance buyout period this summer and cut all ties.

The NHLPA is expected to ratify the new CBA on Saturday and camps are set to open Sunday. The Rangers don’t have a ton of time to figure this out, but you can guess what the most likely option will be.

Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

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After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.

Islanders believe Boyle should be suspended for hit before OT goal

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Thomas Hickey is involved in a controversial hit, yet the greater debate may revolve around the one he received rather than the one he delivered.

In the second period, the New York Islanders defenseman connected for a thunderous hit on Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin, which sidelined Drouin for a chunk of Game 3.

Many believe that hit was legal:

The Islanders are upset about the Brian Boyle hit on Hickey in overtime, which came moments before Boyle scored the game-winning goal. You can see the full sequence here, with the hit happening around the 50-second mark:

Islanders head coach Jack Capuano believes that it was a suspension-worthy hit.

You’re not going to believe this, but the Lightning disagree.

Boyle clearly didn’t receive a penalty on that sequence, yet one would imagine that the league will at least take a look at that hit.

Lightning take dramatic OT win vs. Islanders, go up 2-1 in series

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Brian Boyle was part of the fight before Game 3 even started … and then he ended it in overtime.

In a Tampa Bay Lightning win in which they just kept rolling with the New York Islanders’ punches, it only seems fitting that Boyle battled to land a big hit and then score the clinching goal for a 5-4 overtime victory.

This gives the Lightning a 2-1 series lead heading into Game 4.

Also fitting? Boyle landed a big hit on Thomas Hickey, the guy who sidelined Jonathan Drouin for a chunk of this contest.

That sequence prompted a brief goal review, but it ultimately stood:

(Was that Boyle hit on Hickey dirty, by the way?)

Drama was in the air from the beginning, yet Drouin really stole the show when he came back from what some believe was a concussion to assist on Nikita Kucherov‘s last-minute goal, which sent the game to overtime.

In some ways, this win feels like a microcosm of the Lightning’s season. They keep getting hit in the mouth with injuries and near-injuries, yet they just won’t stay down.

The Islanders saw three leads disappear in this contest, but one would think that they won’t roll over, either.