Trade: Rangers get toughness they crave with Ryan Reaves

Trade: Rangers get toughness they crave with Ryan Reaves
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Whether the Rangers (and their oft-criticized owner) were actually flustered by the Tom WilsonArtemi Panarin incident or not, they sent messages about adding “toughness.” You can’t get much tougher than Ryan Reaves, who the Rangers acquired in a trade with the Golden Knights late on Thursday.

Tom Wilson deterrent? Rangers trade for Ryan Reaves

Rangers receive: Ryan Reaves, 34, $1.75 million cap hit (expires after 2021-22).

Golden Knights receive: 2022 third-round pick.

No doubt, one of the first reactions to the Ryan Reaves trade is “boy, Tom Wilson really got to the Rangers, huh?”

It’s probably also worth noting that this will probably make more than just the (holdover) toughness-obsessed Rangers people happy. New Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant was enamored with Reaves during his Golden Knights days; now he gets to deploy the threatening forward in New York.

This continues a larger trend of the Rangers trying to be “tough to play against.”

The Rangers also added some grit on defense with Patrik Nemeth, and even more snarl (with limited hockey use) in Anthony Bitetto. Even pricey forward addition Barclay Goodrow has quite a bit of grit to his game.

Limiting the damage

Ideally, if a coach like Gallant demands Reaves-types, you’d be able to limit the damage. Consider it convincing a kid to eat their veggies with the lure of dessert. If Reaves doesn’t do too much damage in lesser minutes, then hopefully you can have better players on the ice more often?

That might not be how the Rangers see it, though. That’s dangerous, because he can take some bad penalties, and be a negative force in other ways. His Evolving Hockey player card summarizes the argument simply enough.

At least this is an indulgence that might not be too costly.

As mentioned earlier, Reaves is entering a contract year with a $1.75M cap hit. While that’s lofty for what he brings in more tangible ways, it’s easier to stomach if your coach simply must have that presence. (And it’s cheaper than his previous cap hit of $2.75M. Yikes.)

If Reaves doesn’t fit that well, than the Rangers can stomach the loss of that third-rounder. It’s that dessert that sets you back a few days, rather than a week.

That said, it’s an easy, small win for the Golden Knights. During the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Reaves found himself scratched at times. Every little bit of cap relief helps for Vegas, so this is a pretty obvious move.

For the Rangers, they just need to hope that Reaves’ drawbacks aren’t too obvious.


James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

caufield surgery
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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

matty beniers
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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.