Yandle ‘can’t find a weak flaw’ in Rangers’ lineup

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Keith Yandle is a big fan of the New York Rangers.

Which is nice for him, because he’s on them now.

“If you just look at the back end out, the Rangers are as strong as any team,” Yandle said yesterday, per NHL.com. “They are fast up front, have tons of speed and skill, and the goaltending is best in the league. I can’t find a weak flaw in the lineup so it’s pretty cool to be a part of it.”

Traded Sunday from Arizona, the 28-year-old joined a blue line that was already strong before his arrival. Last night in his Rangers debut, a 4-1 win over Nashville, he was paired with Kevin Klein. The other two pairings had Ryan McDonagh with Dan Girardi and Marc Staal with Dan Boyle, with all three duos offering a good mix of offensive ability and defensive responsibility.

If we absolutely had to identify a potential weakness in the Rangers’ lineup, maybe it’s down the middle, where the Rangers are good (Derick Brassard, Derek Stepan, Kevin Hayes, Dominic Moore, James Sheppard) but not great.

Otherwise, it’s hard to argue too vehemently with Yandle’s assessment.

Rangers handle Predators, win in Yandle’s debut

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If the New York Rangers are “mortgaging their future,” at least their home looked like a mansion on the night of the trade deadline.

The Rangers defeated the Nashville Predators 4-1 on Monday, and while Rick Nash’s empty-netter inflated the score, New York looked more than comfortable against the NHL’s current standings leader.

Speaking of standings, the Rangers stepped into first place in the Metropolitan Division with this win.

They’re tied with the New York Islanders at 84 points, yet they have two games in hand and two more regulation/overtime wins. They’re not that far from the top spot in the East, either.

Really, all the numbers look pretty splendid for a team pushing the envelop. Their +43 goal differential is the best difference in the entire league right now. They’re now 8-1-1 in their last 10 games.

Even this win was more than just its 4-1 score, as the possession was clearly in the Rangers’ favor:

source:

(via Natural Stat Trick)

Keith Yandle didn’t really make much of an impact in his debut (-1 rating, three shots on goal in 19:41 time on ice), but clearly didn’t have to.

The other lingering question is about the Predators. Nashville has now lost three games in a row and five of its last seven, with just one regulation win in that span.

Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli could be labeled as the Preds’ trade deadline gains, but some might be a little more worried about GM David Poile staying put after a loss like this.

Video: Zuccarello shows some wizardry on sweet assist

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On Sunday, it seemed like Mats Zuccarello was on the verge of being traded from the New York Rangers. A day later, he has a shiny new contract extension and already has two assists against the Nashville Predators with about a period remaining.

One of the smallish winger’s more ridiculous nicknames is “Norwegian Hobbit Wizard.” He showed some magical skills on this Chris Kreider goal, which was his second helper of the night:

Moments like these help explain why he’s beloved by a lot of Rangers fans.

***

Predators forward Taylor Beck might have actually provided the best pass of the night, though, as you can see here:

Rangers sign Zuccarello to a four-year, $18 million extension

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The New York Rangers have finalized a four-year, $18 million contract extension for Mats Zuccarello.

According to Pat Leonard of The Daily News, the deal includes a no-trade clause in the first year.

Here’s how the contract breaks down:

The 27-year-old, who is making $3.5 million, was set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

Zuccarello has 12 goals and 23 assists along with a plus-13 rating in 59 games this season.

PHT’s 2015 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker

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Our running list of all the deals leading up to 3 p.m. ET on Monday, Mar. 2…

Monday, Mar. 2

To Boston: Zack Phillips
To Minnesota: Jared Knight

To Anaheim: Korbinian Holzer
To Toronto: Eric Brewer, 5th-round pick (’15) (link)

To Anaheim: James Wisniewski, 3rd-round pick (’15)
To Columbus: William Karlsson, Rene Bourque and 2nd-round pick (’15) (link)

To Boston: Max Talbot, Paul Carey
To Colorado: Jordan Caron, 6th-round pick (’16) (link)

To Vancouver: Sven Baertschi
To Calgary: 2nd-round pick (’15) (link)

To Anaheim: Simon Despres
To Pittsburgh: Ben Lovejoy (link)

To St. Louis: Olli Jokinen
To Toronto: Joakim Lindstrom, 6th-round pick (conditional, ’15) (link)

To Minnesota: Chris Stewart
To Buffalo: 2nd-round pick (’17) (link)

To Montreal: Torrey Mitchell
To Buffalo: Jack Nevins, 7th-round pick (’16) (link)

To Arizona Coyotes: David Leggio
To New York Islanders: Mark Louis (link)

To Minnesota: Jordan Leopold
To Columbus: Justin Falk, 5th-round pick (’15) (link)

To Vancouver: Cory Conacher
To New York Islanders: Dustin Jeffrey (link)

To St. Louis: Roberto Bortuzzo, 7th-round pick (’16)
To Pittsburgh: Ian Cole (link)

To San Jose: Karl Stollery
To Colorado: Freddie Hamilton (link)

To New York Islanders: Michal Neuvirth
To Buffal Sabres: Chad Johnson, 3rd-round pick (’16) (link)

To New York Islanders: Tyler Kennedy
To San Jose Sharks: 3rd-round pick (conditional, ’16) (link)

To Detroit: Marek Zidlicky
To New Jersey: 3rd-round pick (conditional, ’16) (link)

To San Jose: Ben Smith, 7th round pick (’17, conditional)
To Chicago: Andrew Desjardins (link)

To St. Louis: Zbynek Michalek, 3rd-round pick (conditional, ’15)
To Arizona: Maxim Letunov (link)

To Montreal: Brian Flynn
To Buffalo: 5th-round pick (’16) (link)

To Montreal: Jeff Petry
To Edmonton: 2nd-round pick (’15), 5th-round pick (conditional, ’15) (link)

To Tampa Bay: Braydon Coburn
To Philly: Radko Gudas, 1st-round pick (’15), 3rd-round pick (’15) (link)

To Boston: Brett Connolly
To Tampa Bay: 2nd-round pick (’15), 2nd round-pick (’16) (link)

Sunday, Mar. 1

To Detroit: Erik Cole, 3rd-round pick (conditional, ’15)
To Dallas: Mattias Janmark, Mattias Backman, 2nd-round pick (’15) (link)

To New York Rangers: James Sheppard
To San Jose: 4th-round pick (’16) (link)

To Winnipeg: Lee Stempniak
To New York Rangers: Carl Klingberg (link)

To New York Rangers: Keith Yandle, Chris Summers, 4th-round pick (’15)
To Arizona: John Moore, Anthony Duclair, 1st-round pick (conditional, ’16), 2nd-round pick (’15) (link)

To Washington: Curtis Glencross
To Calgary: 2nd-round pick (’15), 3rd-round pick (’15) (link)

Saturday, Feb. 28

To Chicago: Antoine Vermette
To Arizona: Klas Dahlbeck, 1st-round pick (’15) (link)

To Anaheim: Tomas Fleischmann
To Florida: Dany Heatley, 3rd-round pick (’15) (link)

To Washington: Tim Gleason
To Carolina: Jack Hillen, 4th-round pick (’15) (link)

Friday, Feb. 27

To Chicago: Kimmo Timonen
To Philly: 2nd-round pick (’15), 4th-round pick (conditional, ’16) (link)

Thursday, Feb. 26

To Columbus: David Clarkson
To Toronto: Nathan Horton (link)

To Florida: Jaromir Jagr
To New Jersey: 2nd-round pick (’15), 3rd-round pick (’16) (link)

To Toronto: T.J. Brennan
To Chicago: Spencer Abbott (link)

To St. Louis: Adam Cracknell
To Columbus: Future considerations (link)

Wednesday, Feb. 25

To Los Angeles: Andrej Sekera
To Carolina: Roland McKeown, 1st-round pick (conditional, ’15 or ’16) (link)

To Pittsburgh: Daniel Winnik
To Toronto: Zach Sill, 2nd-round pick (’16), 4th-round pick (’15) (link)

To Winnipeg: Jiri Tlusty
To Carolina: 3rd-round pick (’16), 6th-round pick (conditional, ’15) (link)

Tuesday, Feb. 24

To Minnesota: Sean Bergenheim, 7th-round pick (’16)
To Florida: 3rd-round pick (’16) (link)

To Anaheim: Jiri Sekac
To Montreal: Devante-Smith Pelly (link)

Sunday, Feb. 15

To Nashville: Cody Franson, Mike Santorelli
To Toronto: Olli Jokinen, Brendan Leipsic, 1st-round pick (’15) (link)

Wednesday, Feb. 11

To Dallas: Jhonas Enroth
To Buffalo: Anders Lindback, 3rd-round pick (conditional, ’16) (link)

To Buffalo: Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian, Jason Kasdorf
To Winnipeg: Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, Joel Armia, Brendan Lemieux, 1st-round pick (’15) (link)