Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli continued to bolster his goaltending on Monday, acquiring Anders Nilsson from the Blackhawks in exchange for unsigned prospect Liam Coughlin.
Nilsson, 25, is an interesting entity. Picked 62nd overall by the Isles in 2009, he appeared in 23 games for New York over three seasons before signing with KHL team AK Bars Kazan last summer. A few months later, the Isles traded Nilsson’s rights — he was an RFA upon leaving for Russia — as part of the deal that saw Nick Leddy head to Long Island.
In Russia, Nilsson resurrected his stock by going 20-9-8 with a 1.71 GAA and .936 save percentage. He also played for Team Sweden at the 2015 Worlds, splitting time with Jhonas Enroth.
At 6-foot-5, Nilsson cuts an imposing figure in goal and it’ll be curious to see where he lands on the Edmonton depth chart. Chiarelli went out and acquired Cam Talbot from the Rangers at the draft, and already had Ben Scrivens in the fold. One has to think Scrivens could be in direct competition for the No. 2 gig with Nilsson, assuming Talbot enters the season as the Oilers’ starter.
A total of 23 players have filed for arbitration, according to a list unveiled by the National Hockey League Players’ Association.
Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby along with Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist and Rangers’ Derek Stepan are part of the list released on Sunday.
The deadline for club-elected arbitration is Monday at 5 p.m. ET. Salary Arbitration hearings will be held from July 20 to August 4.
Here is the complete list of players who have filed:
Detroit Red Wings
New Jersey Devils
New York Rangers
Michael Del Zotto
St. Louis Blues
Derek Stepan might lack a little in the way of negotiating power as a restricted free agent, but the New York Post’s Larry Brooks believes that he recently received a big boost in leverage.
In Brooks’ mind, the big seven-year, $52 million deal ($7.5 million cap hit) Ryan O’Reilly signed with the Buffalo Sabres will leave the New York Rangers in a “cap vise” thanks to its comparables regarding Stepan:
A number than starts with a “7” for Stepan is all but untenable for the Rangers as they are constructed. An award that’s closer to starting with an “8” than a “7” would place the ’15-16 Blueshirts’ roster in a cap vise. Beyond that, an arbitration award almost certainly starts the clock ticking on Stepan’s Broadway expiration date two years hence.
As Brooks notes, it’s plausible that Stepan, 25, may indeed file for salary arbitration by today’s deadline.
Even if this doomsday scenario gets downgraded to things being really tight, Brooks has a point about possible domino effects for the Rangers. General Fanager pegs the Rangers’ cap space at about $10.2 million, so anything in the $7 million range would start to make things uncomfortable, especially since New York still has other RFAs to consider in J.T. Miller, Emerson Etem and Jesper Fast.
Could that force the team’s hand in trading someone like Keith Yandle? Might the Rangers need to make more like the Chicago Blackhawks and move Stepan’s rights instead?
Yes, this speculation could turn out to be excessive worrying, especially if Stepan decided to take a slight “hometown discount” to stay on a contending team/help keep his team in contention.
Even so, if Stepan’s reps use O’Reilly’s extension as a measuring stick, the Rangers might indeed be sweating it.