Tag: Aaron Johnson


Will New York’s youth movement be put on hold?


When most people think of key members of the New York Rangers, names like Henrik Lundqvist, Rick Nash, Ryan Callahan, Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh come to mind.

But what about the likes of Chris Kreider, Dylan McIlrath, JT Miller and Brady Skjei?

Those four are New York’s first-round picks from 2009-12, and widely considered to be cornerstones of the club’s future. Kreider (23 games last year) and Miller (26) have made their marks at the NHL level — Kreider more so, thanks to his stellar 2011-12 playoff run — while McIlrath seems close to making his NHL debut, and Skjei isn’t far away.

“I think I have a legitimate shot,” McIlrath said at July’s prospect camp.

Another prospect is former Habs second-rounder Danny Kristo, acquired in a July trade for Christian Thomas. He’s got “a good chance to fill” the roster holes left by the injured Callahan and Carl Hagelin, according to director of player personnel Gordie Clark.

But will it all pan out?

Under former head coach John Tortorella, it was difficult for those youngsters to get into games (“there are just too many mistakes,” he lamented back in April.) Kreider was a non-factor in 2013 after his postseason breakthrough, and Miller was used sporadically.

Under Vigneault, that might not change.

The new Rangers boss isn’t known as someone that likes youngsters learning on the job. His time in Vancouver was marked by a preference for safe, responsible veterans over talented-but-inexperienced kids.

Cody Hodgson, Michael Grabner and Jordan Schroeder all had issues getting ice time, though those decisions were often made in part by the club’s depth.

In New York, the situation could be similar.

Since hiring Vigneault, the Rangers signed a pair of veteran presences at forward, Dominic Moore and Benoit Pouliot, and added defensive depth in Justin Falk, Danny Syvret and Aaron Johnson.

Considering the Rangers didn’t lose much from last year’s team — the most notable departures were Steve Eminger, Roman Hamrlik, Jeff Halpern and trade deadline pickup Ryane Clowe — it’ll be tough for New York’s kiddie corps to get in the mix.

Especially if they don’t adhere to Vigneault’s preferred style of play.

“I like my teams to play the right way, which is if you have room to make a play, make a play,” he said upon taking the Rangers job. “If you have space and time to carry the puck, carry the puck. If the other team has the gap on you or they’re playing you tight, then sometimes you have to make the high-percentage play and chip those pucks in.

“I really believe in playing the right way both offensively and defensively.”

It’s New York Rangers day on PHT

Henrik Lundqvist

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The New York Rangers.

The Rangers are the classic “tease” team. They offer one of the best goalies in the world, top-end offensive talent, and sound defensive work. They should be a Stanley Cup contender each year. “Should” being the operative word there.

Looking at how they’ve finished the last few years, it’s been a roller coaster. In the past four seasons they’ve missed the playoffs, been bounced out in the first and second rounds and made it to the Eastern finals two seasons ago. They’ve done everything but make the Stanley Cup Final and now they’ll look to do that with a coach who was there as recently as 2011 and knows a fair bit about the sting of unfulfilled expectations.

The Rangers are young and talented but their franchise goalie, Henrik Lundqvist, is itchy to win now.

Offseason recap

The biggest news of the summer came when the Rangers fired John Tortorella and hired former Canucks coach Alain Vigneault to replace him. The thought here is that Torts wore out the players with his tough ways and that Vigneault will help tap into the Rangers’ offensive potential a bit more.

As for player news, the Rangers kept it rather quiet. They acquired former Canadiens prospect Danny Kristo in exchange for their own prospect Christian Thomas in a trade. Free agency was equally low-key with signings like defenseman Aaron Johnson and forwards Benoit Pouliot and Dominic Moore. Moore’s story in particular is inspiring returning to hockey after the sudden passing of his wife.

Now if they can just get restricted free agent Derek Stepan taken care of and maybe start negotiating with their three potential unrestricted free agents next summer (Lundqvist, Ryan Callahan, Dan Girardi), GM Glen Sather can take a breather.

The Rangers’ core is strong (did we forget to mention Rick Nash?) and there’s no reason to think they won’t be a Stanley Cup threat again this season.


Introducing: PHT’s ‘Team of the Day’ summer series

Rangers stay busy, sign d-man Falk: one year, $975,000


Just hours after signing restricted free agent forward Carl Hagelin, the New York Rangers re-upped with another RFA — defenseman Justin Falk.

Falk, acquired at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft from Minnesota, has signed a one-year, $975,000 deal, according to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News.

Falk, 24, has solidified himself as an everyday NHL player during the last two seasons. He played in most of the 2013 regular season (36 games), although his ice time plummeted from 19:30 minutes per game in 2011-12 to just 13:13 last season.

The Wild were looking to trim salary this summer and Falk’s presence on the blueline diminished last season with the addition of Ryan Suter and emergence of Jonas Brodin.

Falk’s best season came in 2011-12, when he played a career-high 47 games and racked up a career-high nine points.

With the move, the Rangers now have eight defensemen under contract for next season — Falk, Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Michael Del Zotto, Anton Stralman, John Moore and Aaron Johnson.

PHT’s 2013 NHL Free Agent Tracker

Nathan Horton

Friday, July 5 is the official start of the National Hockey League’s free agency period (at 12 p.m. ET).

Check back regularly for updates as we keep track of all the signings from what promises to be a busy transaction period.

Note: We’ve included a few deals announced prior to July 5, which came as a result of the NHL’s compliance buyout window. None of them can be made official until Friday.

source: Getty Images

July 8

Matt Gilroy signs in Florida: one-year, two-way (link)

Chris Mueller signs in Dallas: n/a (link)

Kevin Poulin re-signs in New York (Islanders): one-year, n/a (link)

Joe Corvo signs in Ottawa: one year, $900,000 (link)

Ryan McDonagh re-signs in New York (Rangers): six years, $28.2 million (link)

Tyson Strachan signs in Washington: n/a (link)

July 7

Frédéric St-Denis signs in Columbus: one year, two-way (link)

Darcy Zajac signs in New Jersey: two year, two-way (link)

Jack Skille signs in Columbus: one year, two-way (link)

Matt Beleskey re-signs in Anaheim: two years, $2.7 million (link)

July 6

Alexander Sulzer re-signs in Buffalo: one year, N/A (link)

Drew Bagnall signs in Buffalo: multi-year, N/A

Mike Santorelli signs in Vancouver: N/A (link)

David Kolomatis signs in Washington: one year, two-way

Andrew Gordon signs in Winnipeg: N/A

Jerome Samson signs in Winnipeg: N/A

John Albert signs in Winnipeg: N/A

Richard Bachman signs in Edmonton: one year, N/A (link)

Adam Pardy signs in Winnipeg: one year, $600,000 (link)

Derek Roy signs in St. Louis: one year, $4 million (link)

Stefan Fournier signs in Montreal: three years, two way

Ryan Jones re-signs in Edmonton: one year, N/A (link)

July 5

Nikolai Khabibulin signs in Chicago: one year, $2 million (link)

Jonathan Bernier signs in Toronto: two years, $5.8 million (link)

Jarome Iginla signs in Boston: one year, $6 million (link)

Matt Cooke signs in Minnesota: three years, $7.5 million (link)

Benoit Pouliot signs in New York (Rangers): one year, $1.3 million (link)

Michael Ryder signs in New Jersey: two years, $7 million (link)

Maxim Lapierre signs in St. Louis: two years, $2.2 million (link)

Carter Hutton signs in Nashville: one year, $550,000

Mike McKenna signs in Columbus: n/a

Saku Koivu re-signs in Anaheim: one year, $2.5 million (link)

Craig Adams re-signs in Pittsburgh: two years, $1.4 million (link)

Rostislav Olesz signs in New Jersey: one year, $1 million

TJ Brennan signs in Toronto: one year, $600,000

Michael Stone re-signs in Phoenix: n/a

Chris Butler re-signs in Calgary: one year, $1.7 million

Brad Richardson signs in Vancouver: two years, $2.3 million

Jeff Schultz signs in Los Angeles: one year, $700,000 (link)

Yannick Weber signs in Vancouver: one year, $650,000

Travis Hamonic re-signs in New York (Islanders): seven years, $27 million (link)

Anton Khudobin signs in Carolina: one year, $800,000 (link)

Eric Nystrom signs in Nashville: four years, $10 million (link)

Dominic Moore signs in New York (Rangers): one year, $1 million (link)

Valtteri Filppula signs in Tampa Bay: five years, $25 million (link)

Dan Ellis signs in Dallas: two years, $1.8 million (link)

Nick Holden, JT Wyman, Guillaume Desbiens sign in Colorado: n/a

Ryan Hamilton signs in Edmonton: n/a

Aaron Johnson signs in New York (Rangers): one year, $600,000

Matt Hendricks signs in Nashville: four years, $7.4 million (link)

Stephen Weiss signs in Detroit: five years, $24.5 million (link)

Mark Mancari, Alexandre Bolduc sign in St. Louis: n/a

Matt Cullen signs in Nashville: two years, $7 million (link)

David Clarkson signs in Toronto: seven years, $36.75 million (link)

Clarke MacArthur signs in Ottawa: two years, $6.5 million (link)

Tyler Bozak re-signs in Toronto: five years, $21 million (link)

Viktor Stalberg signs in Nashville: four years, $12 million (link)

Jared Spurgeon re-signs in Minnesota: three years, $8 million (link)

Scott Hannan (one year, $1 million), Tyler Kennedy (two years, $4.7 million) re-sign in San Jose (link)

Michal Handzus, Michal Rozsival re-sign in Chicago: n/a (link)

Pierre-Marc Bouchard signs in New York (Islanders): one year, $2 million (link)

Ryane Clowe signs in New Jersey: five years, $24.25 million (link)

Rob Scuderi signs in Pittsburgh: four years, $13.5 million (link)

Mike Mottau signs in Florida: n/a (link)

Yann Danis signs in Philadelphia: n/a (link)

Jesse Joensuu signs in Edmonton: n/a (link)

Keith Aucoin signs in St. Louis: one year, $625,000 (link)

Andre Benoit signs in Colorado: one year, $900,000 (link)

Jason LaBarbera, Boyd Gordon sign in Edmonton: n/a (link)

Nathan Horton signs in Columbus: seven years, $37.1 million (link)

Mike Ribeiro signs in Phoenix: four years, $22 million (link)

Mike Komisarek signs in Carolina: one year, $700,000 (link)

Frazer McLaren re-signs in Toronto: two years, $1.4 million (link)

Kyle Chipchura re-signs in Phoenix: n/a (link)

Thomas Greiss signs in Phoenix: one year, $750,000 (link)

Joey Crabb signs in Florida: two years, $1.2 million (link)

Ray Emery signs with Philadelphia: one year, $1.65 million (link)

Daniel Alfredsson signs with Detroit: one year, $5.5 million (link)

Peter Regin signs with New York Islanders: one year, $750,000 (link)

Andrew Ference signs with Edmonton: four years, $13 million (link)

Evgeni Nabokov signs with New York Islanders: one year, $3.25 million (link)

July 4

Daniel Briere signs with Montreal: two years, $8 million (link)

Keith Ballard signs with Minnesota: two years, $3 million (link)

July 2

Vincent Lecavalier signs with Philadelphia: five years, $22.5 million (link)

Roundup: Devils grab Olesz and other small signings


Here’s a quick look at some of the miscellaneous signings from Friday: