CLEANING UP THE ROSTER

New York REric Christensen, 28, spent two weeks on a conditioning stint with the Connecticut Whale and has now been traded along with a conditional seventh round pick in the 2013 draft to the Minnesota Wild for 24-year old forward Casey Wellman who has 12g, 14a in 26 games with the Houston Aeros.

Wellman is 6′, 173 pounds and has 2g, 5a in 14 games for Minnesota this season and contributed 4g, 9a in 41 games over the three seasons he’s spent with the Wild.

Christensen, meanwhile had not played for the Rangers since Dec. 17 and has just 5pts (1g, 4a) in 20 games this year. The very soft spoken center-man has played in 132 games with the Rangers and put 58pts on his ledger (20g, 38a) as a Blueshirt.

John Tortorella was never really much of a fan of Christensen, an Edmonton native.  Yes, Christensen is lights out in the shootout, but he has not been able to show any sort of consistency at any other part of his game. Perhaps in Minnesota he will find his game.

The Whale also released Aaron Voros from his Professional Try-Out contract this week. Arriving in Hartford for two week conditioning stints, for the time being anyhow, is Wojtek Wolski and Jeff Woywitka and gone is recent signee Randy McNaught who was sent to Greenville of the ECHL.

Think it’s safe to say that the Rangers organization is fully aware of the needs of the team both in New York and in Hartford?

If the Rangers do make a move for an impact top six forward at the trade deadline, given how things have played out this year, and given the fact that nobody is giving away impact players like that for a draft pick and a dinner at Nobu, the players that make the most obvious sense to move, apart from Wolski and Woywitka – who won’t get you anything – are Brandon Dubinsky and/or Artem Anisimov. They are the only two expendable pieces that would draw any interest at all.

It will be interesting to see what Glen Sather, Jim Schoenfeld and the executive team decide to do.

By the way, in terms of interesting, the biggest question mark in the entire organization is what do they do with Sean Avery? He isn’t in the New York plan and Avery is a MAJOR distraction and a problem in Hartford. How the Avery situation is handled still looms on the horizon.

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5 responses to “CLEANING UP THE ROSTER

  1. Really surprised here. I thought for sure that Christensen wouldn’t have much value around the league these days. He wasn’t great in his conditioning stint, and like you noted Mitch, he hasn’t played an NHL game in quite some time. Sather was able to get value back for him, as Wellman should play a good role with the Whale as a point-per-game AHL guy this season, when I envisioned the only way to deal with EC was to waive him.

    Hats off again to Sather. He was able to turn the Rangers 14th forward into a 24 year old prospect who has seen NHL time and can really help the Whale with their current struggles.

  2. IMHO its shortsighted to call Dubi and Arte expendable, just because this season so far their is offense is behind last year. if they go, it will become clear how hard they’ll be to replace.
    wellman will help the Whale, who have WAY TOO MANY F’s WHO DON’T SCORE at all (Hagelin, Mitchell and 4 defensemen are in the Whale’s top 12 scorers). I don’t get why Tanski, Grant or McKelvie haven’t been demoted. I’d be giving Wilson and Campbell a shot.

  3. Elsie,

    There are no other marketable players that would bring back a Top Six forward without including either Dubinsky or Artie or both. There’s an old saying, you have to “spend money to make money.” That would be the case here. A GM from a team that had say a Bobby Ryan or someone of that ilk is NOT going to give him up unless he’s bringing something significant in return. You’re not going to move Gaborik, Hagelin, Callahan, Richards, Stepan. As well as Mitchell has been playing to this point, what do you think he’d bring back? All the aforementioned forwards are playing exceptionally well and playing a wide variety of roles for the team. Boyle, Prust and Fedotenko or even Rupp won’t bring back a player of that ilk. So that begs the question, who can be moved that can bring something back of that level of talent? Dubinsky and Anisimov. They are both very good players, but both are having a tough season. I’ve also been told by a number of people in the hockey world that it is always better to move a guy a year too soon than a year too late. Both of them could bring back a significant return. BTW, I’m not saying that I want both or either to go. I’m simply pointing out that in terms of forwards they’re probably the most marketable that could bring back the most.
    Tanski, Grant and McKelvie have been playing hard. With Wolski and now Wellman coming up front, two of them are going to sit with Avery in the press box and with Newbury close to being ready, all three might sit. I don’t know enough about Wilson or Campbell to comment.
    The bottom line, be patient… I think they’re making the right moves…

  4. Thanks for the detailed reply. I don’t expect a Ryan-type deal as 25-year old stars don’t move that often. I expect a lesser move; either a pending-UFA rental, or a proven vet, or taking a risk on a guy with credentials like a Wolski, mid-20’s but a couple years removed from his best production. Remember Wolski averaged almost 20 goals and 50 pts in ’07-’10.
    On D, I expect they’ll bring in a veteran, but i’d like v-Tank, with his size and shot, to get a look-see, especially if Del Zotto moves to right-side w Staal on 2d pair. A bomb from the point would disrupt the effective opponent penalty kills that for now are able to focus entirely on puck movement. Thanks as always…

    • Elsie,

      The Rangers need a top six scoring threat and given that it’s NY, they are looking for another star scorer. That’s my best guess. In terms of defense, unless it’s a Ryan Sutter or Shea Weber caliber player, I don’t think they’re going to go with a defenseman. Why? Steve Emminger is coming back and they have defensive depth. In terms of Tank, I don’t think he’s ready for the NHL yet. He still gets caught out of position on occasion and needs to get that cannon a) shot more and b) on net more. It’s improved over last year, but he should still do more. I think he needs maybe another year in Hartford. I still think the Rangers, if they make moves it will be to unload Wolski, Avery and Woywitka and to improve they will look at a Top six scoring forward. That’s my guess…