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Dreger's Mailbag: Questions on Rangers, Jets and Carter

Darren Dreger
2/3/2012 2:18:30 PM
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Got a question on the latest news and rumours? E-mail Hockey Insider Darren Dreger and he'll answer your emails at dregereport@tsn.ca!

Darren,

The Rangers' real issue is the power play. They are 11th in scoring with basically no power play so 5-on-5 they basically are dominating the score sheet. Do you think the Rangers are showing any interest in right-handed shooters like Bobby Ryan or Jeff Carter. And if not them, is it possible they'd be willing to try and pry Shea Weber out of Nashville - who to me seems more likely than Suter to want to leave there as soon as possible?

The Rangers have the assets, but are they willing to give them up?

Thank you for your time,

Regards,
Eric Gallion

A: Eric, the Rangers are still very much in the building phase so while the team is doing well, the team understands they still have a couple of holes to fill. I don't believe the Rangers have any interest in Jeff Carter. Like most teams, they like Bobby Ryan...a lot. However, unless there is a change of heart in Anaheim, it sounds unlikely Ryan will be traded before the NHL Entry Draft - if at all. The Rangers are keenly interested in what's going on in Nashville and undoubtedly Glen Sather will be among the GMs constantly in David Poile's ear, eager to pounce if the Preds decide to move either Ryan Suter or Shea Weber. Keep in mind, there's no sense of panic in Manhattan and the Rangers will happily wait until the offseason to make a splash. With both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter high on New York's radar as potential unrestricted free agents, your concerns may quickly be resolved in July. 

Darren,

As a Minnesota fan, I'm all for sending Marek Zidlicky on his way. But at this point - with him sitting in the press box - does he have much trade value? Are there teams where he would fit into an offensive defensive system better, or has he lost his game?

Jake from Wisconsin

A: Jake, Zidlicky made it abundantly clear in talking candidly with Mike Russo of the Star-Tribune that he is not happy with Mike Yeo's coaching and more to point, Yeo's view of the veteran defenceman's role on the team (which of late, has been an assignment to the press box).  This isn't Zidlicky's first rodeo - he's been around the game a long time and had to know by speaking out and publicly airing his issues, he would put himself in a very vulnarable place. I'm sure Minnesota GM Chuck Fletcher would love to trade Zidlicky, but is limited because of a no-trade clause. Zidlicky clearly is unhappy with the Wild, so if he wants a change all he has to do is ask. Remove the no-trade protection and I'm sure Fletcher will offer him a number of teams specifically in the market for a depth d-man.

Dregs,

How desperate are the Jets to make a deal quickly? They will have Byfuglien back but are still without Burmistrov and Kane‎. They're five out of a playoff spot, so will they try to get reinforcements now or wait for their injured to return?

Jamie,
Winnipeg  

A: Jamie, I wouldn't say the Jets are desperate at all. Winnipeg made an American League trade this week sending Akim Aliu to Calgary for young defenceman  John Negrin, but the Jets are still interested in adding a couple of key pieces. In a perfect world, Kevin Cheveldayoff would love to make a deal for a top-line centre as well as a high quality defenceman. Cheveldayoff isn't willing to deal away Kane or Bogosian or anyone who fits within the core of his assets, so finding the right fit for what he's shopping for is going to be difficult. Of course Winnipeg's goal is to make the playoffs, but the Jets have no intention of mortgaging the future to achieve short-term goals.  Getting healthy again as you point out, may be enough to close the gap if Toronto or others in the mix falter.

Hi Darren,

Bob McKenzie said last month that we should expect the NHL to announce very soon (this month?) that the Red Wings will host the Winter Classic next season. If so, that's a bit early compared to past Winter Classic game announcements (usually made in the summer). Combined with the league's announcement last week that Columbus will host next year's all-star game, do you think the NHL is pumping out these events now as a message to everyone saying, "if there's a lengthy lockout next year, this is what you'll miss..."? CBA posturing?

Eric,
Hamilton

A: Eric - as you know, Bob is smart and well connected man. I expect the NHL, NHLPA and the corporate sponsors to officially announce the Winter Classic next week. The timing of Columbus being awarded next years All Star weekend wasn't surprising. I suppose there could be a connection drawn to the league and the union bidding for good PR just prior to engaging in CBA negotiations, but, for me that's a stretch. Both of these events are organizational monsters and when the NHL and NHLPA work as partners, it's more productive to jumpstart the process.  Eric, there will be enough CBA debate and posturing between the two sides in the coming months without you or I inventing the issues. 

Hey Darren,

What's the difference between the 'appeal' of Jeff Carter's contract last summer when he was traded to Columbus and the lack of appeal of his contract now (as you mentioned last week) as the deadline comes up? I mean, he's the same great player in both situations, no?

Marc Butler,
Columbus

A: Marc, I'm still a believer in Jeff Carter. I see the potential in Carter as a big, strong centre to generate 40-plus goals per season in the right environment. On that basis alone, his appeal would be widespread. However, Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson felt considerable pressure from ownership to make a significant deal and add a player with star status to give Columbus a boost both on the ice and off. I am certain Howson wasn't in love with the contract, but was swayed by the potential of the player. Unfortunately, it's not working out in Columbus, it's believed Carter would rather play elsewhere and Howson is once again left managing his way through another season of disappointment. I don't buy the argument his contract makes him immovable, I really don't. The L.A. KIngs have moderate interest. The Calgary Flames may take a run, though contractually it's hard to imagine how Jay Feaster finds the fit. And as much as Leafs GM Brian Burke loathes the mega-contracts, Jeff Carter is the player Toronto is looking for in a lot of ways. But it's not Feb. 27 yet...
 
Got a question on the latest news and rumours? E-mail Hockey Insider Darren Dreger and he'll answer your emails at dregereport@tsn.ca!

Darren Dreger

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