Wrapping up Day 2 of Free Agency 2012: For the Rangers, nada. They’re in a holding pattern because….
1. With Zach Parise still undecided, but closer to choosing whether to stay with the Devils or opt for a long-term deal with the Penguins, Wild, Hawks or another club, the dominos have yet to fall. Columbus GM Scott Howson is hoping to use the leverage to have teams, including the Blueshirts, pony up more assets.
2. Problem for Howson: Nash is not changing his short list of teams to which he’ll accept a trade.
3. Now if Philadelphia strikes out on Parise (I can’t imagine he’ll go there) and defenseman Ryan Suter, who has suitors including the Red Wings, Wild and Pens but apparently isn’t that close to making a decision, they could be in on Nash. But Rangers dearly want Nash and I have sneaking suspicion he wants to come to New York.
4. But who can tell with Howson and the management? Seriously. They turned down a deal for the No. 2 draft pick when the Islanders offered a No. 4 and six of their picks! And they now have on their roster G Sergei Bobrovsky and D Adrian (35) Aucoin.
5. As the Nash situation continues to fester, the Rangers focus is also out West, on Anaheim, where the Ducks are dangling Bobby Ryan, reportedly for a second-line center. The Sabres were interested, and had Derek Roy to offer until a few hours ago, when they traded Roy to Dallas, for Steve Ott and Adam Pardy. So much for that. If the Ducks want Derek Stepan, however, it certainly seems like no deal because Glen Sather really seems dug in and won’t ship Stepan, Ryan McDonagh or Chris Kreider for either Nash or Ryan. Now perhaps the Ducks would be interested in Artem Anisimov or Brandon Dubinsky, a prospect and a pick, but radio silence has descended.
6. Conclusion: Torts and Slats must have an awful lot of faith in Stepan’s upside. The pressure will be on the young playmaking center next season.
7. My sense is that Parise, 27, who flew from Toronto to his Minnesota home after a brief statement about 5 p.m., is torn between leaving the Devils and where to spend the next 8 to 10 years of his career.
8. If the Blueshirts land Nash, they will need some forward depth; Maybe Feds returns as a third liner. But they’re still light on the bottom six, and need another righty defenseman.
“GHOST” FORWARD DEPTH CHART (assuming no Dubinsky, Miller, Thomas) Nash-Richards-Gaborik Kreider-Stepan-Callahan Hagelin-Boyle/Anisimov-Feds Asham-???-Rupp Now Shane Doan would be an awesome fit, but he loves the Arizona life. Otherwise… A year to Mike Knuble? Steve Sullivan? Too old? Eric Fehr? Scott Parse? Gilbert Brule? Casey Wellman? Kris Newbury? Marek Hrivik? Andrew Yogan?