Rangers Hockey: Free Agents, Rumors, and Youth Hockey Clinic

For hockey nerds like myself, there are three major non-game days to look forward to every year.  It starts in the offseason with the NHL Entry Draft, continues a week later with the start of the free agency period, and ends with the trade deadline towards the end of the regular season.  The trade deadline was always the most exciting in the past, but in recent years, the draft and Free Agent Day have become much more interesting.

The Rangers didn’t give fans too much to be excited about on draft day.  First round selection JT Miller was a fine pick, and may become a fan favorite one day, but not for a little while.  Miller is most likely going to play with the University of North Dakota next season, so we will have to wait to see how great that pick was.  Today could be a different story.

There was a decent crop of free agents available at one point, but many of the better ones have already resigned with their respective clubs or had their rights traded away and signed with the team that traded for them.  The Rangers have really only been focusing on one Star anyway, and Brad Richards has just a few hours left to decide if he is going to make their plans come to fruition. 

I would love to see Brad Richards in a Broadway Blueshirt, but I am a little bit worried about the opportunity cost involved in acquiring him.  The Rangers still have several significant unsigned RFAs, and I do not want to see them cut ties with any of our homegrown talent to bring in a potentially damaged mercenary.  If they can get Richards to New York without losing Callahan, Dubinsky, Anisimov, Boyle, and Sauer, then great.  If we lose even one of those players, then signing the Star loses its shine.

Rumors

Brandon Dubinsky has been linked to a trade with Edmonton once again.  The Oilers have long coveted the Rangers talented center, and have been offering disappointing center Andrew Cogliano in return.  Cogliano is also a restricted free agent, so Edmonton is rumored to be offering Linus Omark and a 2nd round pick as well.  This move would be a bit of a salary dump for the Rangers, given that Dubinsky deserves a decent contract.  I am hoping that this rumor stays a rumor.  Brandon Dubinsky is one of my favorite players, and has become the Adam Graves of trade rumors.  Graves is by far my favorite player of all time, and every year I suffered with rumors of him being traded.  He was the player on the Rangers that every team wanted, and the Rangers knew that they could get a great return for him.  When Glen Sather became GM, he made trading Graves one of his first orders of business, and I have never forgiven Sather for it.

Adam Graves 

This past Monday, I had the pleasure of watching my seven year-old son take part in a New York Rangers youth hockey clinic.  The Rangers conduct these clinics several times throughout the year, and this is the first opportunity we had to enroll our son in one.  I have to say, after the experience that we had we will be enrolling him in many more.  The clinics are run by the New York Rangers Hockey Development Team, and hosted by special guests.  The guest hosts include current New York Rangers players, coaches, and alumni.  On Monday, the guest host was my favorite hockey player of all time, Adam Graves.    

I highly recommend these clinics to any parent of a youth hockey player.  The drills were age appropriate, challenging, and fun.  The members of the Development Team, were highly skilled and excellent with the children.  As a coach, I learned a few new activities that I will be using with my club next season.  For only $79, the participants received a quality practice jersey, a Rangers gift bag, and over an hour and twenty minutes of expert instruction on the ice, as well as the chance to skate with the most beloved Ranger in team history. You cannot beat that deal.  

Watching my son skate and interact with Rangers legend Adam Graves is what made the day a priceless experience, though.  As expected, Graves was amazing with the kids.  He got down on a knee to inspire them, shouted encouraging words during drills, and mixed it up one-on-one with many of the children.  He even sat on the ice to tie skates!  Seeing him pass the puck to my son on a one-timer drill is something that I will never forget.

After the session, Adam Graves signed a color photo card for all of the children, and anything else that they asked him to.  He took the time to pose for pictures with everybody who asked, and answered all of the questions that the kids had.  He really made the experience one that my son will never forget.  If you want to know more about these clinics, go to    http://rangers.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=64154.