NHL News and Rumors – September 9, 2009

Devils may try Elias at center

Kessel pursuit resumes

It’s down to two: Jim Balsillie vs. NHLDevils may try Elias at center


That hole at center remains the center of intrigue among the Devils.

Even as Jacques Lemaire said yesterday that he’ll “probably” try Patrik Elias as the second-line center, the potential acquisition of Patrick Marleau or Mike Comrie remained the buzz among Devils players golfing at their alumni tournament yesterday.

Comrie, the former Islander, is an unrestricted free agent whose opportunities may be dwindling with camps opening this weekend. Marleau has been removed as Sharks captain, and has long been rumored to be the San Jose component of a three-way deal with Ottawa, for Dany Heatley, with New Jersey shipping out more youth.
Lemaire said he’s skeptical about wingers moving to center. “If they’re capable of doing it, I have no problem. But you don’t see too many of those,” he said. “It’s so different, so different. It’s a totally different game.

“Elias is a guy who could play center. He’s good enough for that.”

Travis Zajac played between Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner on New Jersey’s top-scoring line, but some observers believe that a top center with Elias, and now, Brian Rolston, might make magic.


Kessel pursuit resumes


Staring at a huge hole in the depth chart at forward — and with coach Ron Wilson uncomfortable discussing who his top line might include — Brian Burke again has turned his gaze towards Phil Kessel.

Whether the Maple Leafs general manager takes the conventional trade route with Kessel, or goes where many teams fear to tread and sign him as an restricted free agent, remains to be seen.

But Burke, who is now talking openly of chasing a playoff spot a season after most hockey minds saw a patient five-year rebuild as the only way up, is taking one last stab at making a deal with his salary cap-challenged comrade Peter Chiarelli in Boston, before NHL camps convene later this week.

The Bruins are within $2 million US of the $56.8-million salary cap, while Kessel is believed to be looking for in excess of $4 million per season.

It is believed, however, they would match any offer sheet and try to stay under the cap by any other means.

A late-afternoon call between Burke and Chiarelli did not move a potential deal along. Beyond Saturday, Burke thinks no club will be in dealing mode until after pre-season games determine team strengths and weaknesses.

Burke played coy with the media yesterday, agreeing his weekend trade for a 2010 second-rounder puts him “in position to influence things that might happen” with a first, second and third pick to compensate a team’s RFA.

But he also said: “I do not contemplate an offer sheet with Phil at this time” and said he might eventually trade one of those high picks for a scorer or one of his surplus defencemen. That would exclude Tomas Kaberle, unless he waives his re-activated no-trade clause.

Burke also ruled out any more surprise comeback guests at this camp after granting a tryout to Jason Allison.


It’s down to two: Jim Balsillie vs. NHL

Kevin McGran

It’s officially down to a two-horse race – BlackBerry billionaire Jim Balsillie vs. the NHL – in the sweepstakes for the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes after a day filled with legal twists and turns, many of them bad for the league.

Ice Edge LLC officially pulled its $150 million (all figures U.S.) offer off the table, leaving the NHL and its $140 million bid as the only buyer who would keep the Coyotes in Phoenix as the team heads into an auction starting tomorrow.

But the news wasn’t all positive for Balsillie and his attempts to move the team to Hamilton. His new, improved $242.5 million bid – including $50 million to the city of Glendale if it would drop its opposition to the sale – met with silence from politicians worried about losing the team.

“Glendale is deferring to the court and the NHL to determine the merits of this and the other bids,” Glendale spokesman Gary Husk told the Star in an email.

In Glendale, politicians went in camera yesterday to discuss the Coyotes situation, saying any deal could only be ratified in a public meeting.

The withdrawal of Ice Edge – a group of Canadian and American investors working with Wayne Gretzky – was noted in a footnote in a statement from league commissioner Gary Bettman.


27 Responses to NHL News and Rumors – September 9, 2009

  1. Kramer says:

    A deal is gonna go down any time. Kramer is calling it first.

  2. hockeyhead says:

    a deal to get your old job at the bagel store?

  3. hockey_lover says:

    What no mention of Heatley?

    Its sad that the biggest news coming out of the NHL (with Kessel) is the same stuff we have been hearing for months … er, nothing.

    At least there was a new development on the Gary vs. Jim saga.

  4. mojo19 says:

    A little off topic but Blair Betts and Mark Bell are on the Flyers training camp roster, but without contracts.

  5. mojo19 says:

    Just wanted a forum to write this in:

    Leafs could have a dynamite season if Wilson gets the most out of all his guys. A lot of people have said a lot of really negative things about the Leafs forwards, but if they all play up to their ability, they aren't a terrible group at all:

    Matt Stajan – If Stajan can have a similar season to last year, where he posted 55 points, and continues to improve on draws, PK etc. He will be a solid contributor. Stajan also was matched up against star players, shadowing the likes of Crosby, Eric Staal, and faired pretty good at 5 on 5.

    Jason Blake – Posted 63 points last season, in the 50's the year before. If he plays similar to last year he will be a good part of the team. He should be safe for about 25 goals.

    Alex Ponikarovsky – Coming off a 61 point season, Poni is a big guy who can go to the net hard and has been consistantly at 20 goals or more the past 4 or 5 years (1 of those years dipped to 18). So he should be a safe 20-25 goals and up around 60 points again. On top of his offense, Poni has been the team leader in +/- or top 3 on the team for the last 7 years. But usually leads the team and is always a plus player. Check out the stats they will amaze you.

    Nik Hagman – I expect Hagman to easily hit 20 goals again, if not for injuries last year he would have been up over 25. I think Hagman could score up between 25 and 30, which he did two seasons ago with Dallas.

    Mikhail Grabovski – Here's a guy coming off a season where he put up around 45 pts. I don't see why Grabovski couldn't hit 50 to 60 pts this year.

    Lee Stempniak – 44 pts last year was solid. Not a fan favourite he needs to be tougher, but has a lot of speed and some scoring touch. Could be worth 40-50 pts again.

    Nikolai Kulemin – here's a kid who scored 15 goals in a hot and cold rookie season. Definietly has a great shot and pretty good hands. If he can improve on a pretty good rookie yearr he could be worth up around 20 goals and in around 40-45 pts.

    Sure we don't have any star forwards, but here are 7 guys who can all contribute and all score up over 20 goals giving us a very balanced attack. Problem is we have no game breakers who can score the big goal under pressure, but as a team they can all chip in that way too.

    Heres some more for you

    Mayers, Primeau, Orr – these guys are nothing spectacular, especially in terms of offense. But as a gritty, 4th line, they're great! They'll be tough and punishing and solid defensively.

    Wild cards:

    Tyler Bozak – had an amazing year in College and is considered a solid two way player, could bring excellent 3rd line play

    Jiri Tlusty – tore it up in the American league from January on. Could be a huge wild card to even come in and play top line. Has the speed and skill to be a force in the NHL.

  6. albertateams says:

    All of the above could happen and the leafs are still a middle of the pack team fighting for one of the last playoff spots.

  7. cam7777 says:

    yea, but who are the really elite teams in the East?  The Leafs have matched up really well against the East's better franchises the last couple years.  I believe they had a winning record against both the Penguins and Caps.  The only other potentially "elite" teams would be the Flyers and the Bruins.  So really, what separates finishing 8th and 5th?

    all the Leafs need is to repeat their offensive performance from last year, and nothing more.  if they achieve this, their new defense, and healthy goaltending will bring them a long way.  I personally don't believe it will happen, but I acknowledge that this team could definitely be a big surprize.

  8. mojo19 says:

    I have them pegged for a playoff spot.

    Plz enjoy my controversial standing predictions. Also a guest writer from HTR makes an appearance on my blog.

    http://www.nhlkvasni.blogspot.com enjoy. Just flip past a quick Phil Kessel blurb i wrote

  9. reinjosh says:

    in regards to you comment about LTIR and Kessel
    i asked cam about that and he seems to think that it wouldnt matter
    they would still be considered over and shit would go down
    i have no idea, im just going off what he said
    but its going to be interesting thats for sure

  10. cam7777 says:

    I don't know how you left Anaheim out of the West.  Here are my predictions and why:

    West –

    1.) Detroit Red Wings
    2.) Vancouver Canucks
    3.) San Jose Sharks
    4.) Chicago Blackhawks
    5.) Calgary Flames
    6.) Anaheim Ducks
    7.) Columbus Blue Jackets
    8.) Los Angeles Kings

    9.) St. Louis Blues
    10.) Edmonton Oilers
    11.) Dallas Stars
    12.) Nashville Predators
    13.) Phoenix Coyotes
    14.) Minnesota Wild
    15.) Colorado Avalanche

    I can see Los Angeles making it with the division weakened on the whole.  The Sharks have lost all their depth, and have tried to trade away their captain, the Stars have no defense, and the Coyotes will be dealing with a season filled with outside distractions.  St.Louis however, just came off a season where every young player had a stand out season.  I don't see it happening again.  The older, more experienced Blue Jackets, will oust them when push comes to shove. 

    East –

    1.) Pittsburgh Penguins
    2.) Boston Bruins
    3.) Washington Capitals
    4.) New Jersey Devils
    5.) Carolina Hurricanes
    6.) Montreal Canadiens
    7.) Philadelphia Flyers
    8.) New York Rangers

    9.) Atlanta Thrashers
    10.) Tampa Bay Lightning
    11.) Ottawa Senators
    12.) Toronto Maple Leafs
    13.) Florida Panthers
    14.) Buffalo Sabres
    15.) New York Islanders

    I really think Philly will suffer a lot in the regular season for bringing in Chris Pronger.  He is going to draw so much ire from the officials, and that team will not be able to handle that, and the drama that Emery, Hartnell and Carcillo will create on the ice.  Bringing in Blair Betts is a strong start to addressing that, but much like last year's ducks, those penalties are going to be a killer.  This is the same reason the Candiens will make the playoffs (although be absolutely futile once there), because they will be a disciplined, well coached team that strikes on the man advantage and kills a solid penalty.

    As for the Pens winning the conference, well, a fully season with Gonchar back in the fold, and feeling like champs all around, should elevate this team.  The caps will win their division, but I want it noted that I predict at least one of the teams further down the standings will be statistically better – the South East division is going to be tough this year.  Atlanta is going to throw everything they have at making the playoffs and keeping Kovalchuk, only to come up short.

    As for my Leafs, if they find themselves in 8th-10th place, struggling for a playoff spot, Burke will do the right thing, and trade off assets for picks and prospects.  As a result of trading them when the Leafs are actually in the hunt, he will get decent returns this time, and pounce on oppurtunties.  Unfortuneately, the result is that the team will fall in the standings post-deadline, and end up with a decent 1st round pick.  However, if Kessel is acquired, Burke will push harder, and might mortgage any potential returns on UFA's in order to secure a playoff spot.  The Leafs are a real wild card this year in my opinion.

  11. cam7777 says:

    it doesn't make sense to me that you can place a player that is not on your roster, on your roster's LTIR.  Even if it was for only 5 minutes, the Bruins would still have to breach the cap to sign Kessel.  That's just my take on it….

  12. mojo19 says:

    It would be easy. They would match the offer sheet, then put him on their roster, then put him on LTIR and get immediate cap relief. Then they would have a month or two to get their cap shit taken care of.

  13. mojo19 says:

    In terms of playoff spots

    our differences in the West are that you have Anaheim and Colombus in, and I have Edmonton and St.Louis (who you have pegged as 9 and 10). So we're pretty much in agreement.

    In the East you have the Rangers and Habs, I have the Leafs and Lightning. I figured a lot of people would pick the Rags and Habs and addressed it on my blog.

    Putting the Flyers in 7th though, i don't know we'll see. But I like the make up of this team. Pittsburgh could take that division and the East easily but I like them in 5th. Cup hangover could make it challenging for them to stay focused and determined all year long and there could be some dips.

  14. reinjosh says:

    those are controversial ahah
    i pretty much agree with the Eastern Conference standings
    The leafs and the lighting will be dark horses and will be running on proving everyone wrong.

    Philly is the team to watch though. Adding Pronger gives them the best blueline in the East and puts them on par with the Flames, and one could even argue that they are better.
    Having Carter, Richards, Gagne, Briere, Hartnell and Giroux as their top 6 is just downright scary and one of the most enviable front 6 in the league and arguably the best in the East.  Not only are they skilled but they are tough as nails. Between Carcillo, Asham and Cote, they combined for 583 penalty minutes last season. Add Chris Pronger patrolling the blueline and hothead Ray Emery in the net (who proved he could hold his own in a fight), and this makes up for a team you do not want to piss off.
    Many people seem to think Emery is going to be this teams biggest problem and biggest question mark but I disagree. He has proven to everyone he is a capable goalie. With such a good defence in him he wont have to win games single hand-idly but just play adequately. He has shown in interviews that he gets that this is his one and final chance and that if he screws it up he is done. And everyone get something straight. This isnt a kid who wants just the money. He grew up looking for that cup and he can't win that in the NHL. And the having the Flyers place the goaltending in his hands (by signing a true backup in Boucher), they are showing him they believe in him. Not to mention a little responsibility would be good for him.
    No this teams biggest problems will be expectations. With such a talented team, they will face that and if they falter out of the gate, the backlash could affect them more than anything.

    And Boston, I think is going to have troubles. Kessel and Kreicji take a big chunk out of the teams scoring and that will hurt them. A lot will depend on Ryder being able to score and not faltering, Recchi not showing his age, Lucic proving his breakout season wasn't a fluke and Wheeler not suffering a sophomore slump. Adding Morris to the defence was smart. He brings experience and allows the defense to be solidified. Thomas should be able to keep up his play but he could just as easily injure himself from his very risky type of game, or even get figured out by opposing forwards. This team has a lot of questions to answer and will have to prove they belong among the elite in the league. If the team suffers without Kessel and Kreicji, they could play themselves out of the playoffs before the season is half over.

  15. lafleur10 says:

    mojo i know your a laffs fan i can respect that, i read your blog and you picked tampa and the laffs ahead of the habs! nice try they won't come close to the habs!  tampa might score as much as us  toronto won't! yeah your defence is much improved but you have made some changes to your offence and that will result in a drop in scoring and more loses plus your goaltending is a big question mark! which toskala is going to show up and gustavsson is an unknown! ,tampa bay will score lots but there goaltending is questionable (as smith is still feeling the concussion like symptoms), as well and right now the habs are better than both teams with more depthi'm not sayiing we are the best team in the east far from it but i could us realistically finishing as high as 5th and as low as 8th no lower

  16. PointMeAtTheSky says:

    To Toronto:

    Phil Kessel

    To Boston:

    Ian White
    Conditional TML 2010 1rdp (Condition: Top Ten protected. If draft pick ends up being in the top 10, Toronto has the option to defer the pick to the following year).
    TML 2010 3rdp

    Sign Dubinsky to 3.000 offer sheet.

    To Toronto:

    Nathan Horton
    Shawn Matthias

    To Florida:

    Tomas Kaberle


    Van Ryn-Schenn


    Leafs would need to dump a little bit of salary, but this benefits all of the teams involved (except for the Rangers of course).

    No I'm not a leafs homer….these moves just seem to make sense to me.

  17. bbruins37 says:

    i dont think theres any way phili finishes that low. they were already the most penalized team in the nhl last year. they can deal with pronger taking penalties because they have one of the best PK in the league (and its that much better with pronger there).


    1. boston
    2. philadelphia
    3. washington
    4. pittsburgh
    5. new jersey
    6. new york rangers
    7. montreal
    8. buffalo

    9. carolina
    10. ottawa
    11. florida
    12. tampa bay
    13. toronto
    14. atlanta
    15. new york islanders

    the 7-10 range is a toss up. i really like what the hurricanes have done this offseason but an expected price rounding back to form and ryan miller healthy for a full season would put them in the playoffs. the heatley situation complicates things too.

    i know the thrashers added some players this offseason but that roster is far from impressive. the only way they move up the standings is if kovalchuk puts them on his back in a contract year. i guaruntee they will be th worst team in the league in 2010/11 when kovalchuk leaves though.


    1. san jose
    2. detroit
    3. calgary
    4. chicago
    5. vancouver
    6. anaheim
    7. st. louis
    8. edmonton

    9. dallas
    10. nashville
    11. columbus
    12. los angeles
    13. minnesota
    14. colorado
    15. phoenix

    i dont think anyone can really justify not having that top 5. they are clearly the class of the west. i think anaheim has 6-8 locked up even without pronger. there's too much talent on that team.

    the rest is a crap shoot. i think anyone of st. louis, edmonton, dallas, nashville, columbus, L.A. have a shot at the playoffs with L.A. having the most potential to shoot up the rankings.

    turco (and thus dallas) should rebound and nashville is ALWAYS on the playoff bubble. im expecting the jackets to take a step back with mason going through a little bit of a sophmore slump.

    the blues should only get better because of how young their key guys are (along with kariya coming back) and i think edmonton will cash in on their offensive depth, along with khabi between the pipes.

  18. bbruins37 says:

    again…krejci is now expected back mid october and hasnt ruled out starting the season.

    with kessel out of the line up:


    no team in the league can boast that kind of depth, even with kessel out. sturm returning from injury shouldnt be underestimated. he brings alot to the team. bergeron looked to be regaining his form towards the end of the season too and in his career he has shown to have the best chemistry with sturm.

    you can say what if this player doesnt live up to what he did last season for any player in the league. lucic and wheeler will both be playing for contracts this year.

    im not worried about ryder at all. he has had one sub par season in his career. he was arguably the bruins best player this post season. should he play on savard's wing with kessel out, 40 goals isnt out of the question.

    when has thomas ever been injured? he has played this way his whole life.

    and the best defense in the league subbing ward for morris, and they'll get ference back for more than half the season. hunwick should further develop, along with stuart and boychuk coming in.

    clearly the best in the east, although the flyers will be very close

  19. mojo19 says:

    Well, just like a good offense can overcompensate for weak defense because they can A.Score, and B. Keep the puck in the oppositions end of hte ice which means less time in your own end, a good defense can also overcompensate for a 'weaker' set of forwards.

    With really strong defense the Leafs *should* be able to win more battles for loose pucks in their end, and with more skill and toughness back there they should cause more turnovers and move the puck up the ice to the forwards with more precision. This will give the forwards more time on the attack and better offensive chances throughout the season.

    Gustavsson is an unknown, so I am going on faith on that one I guess. But its faith backed up by amazing stats in the SEL.

    As for the Habs, they could definitely finish higher, the east is pretty wide open but as of right now I'm picking them and the Rangers to miss, I know most people would disagree, but we'll see what happens.

    And the lightning got a quality guy in Nittymaki, if Smith is not 100% Nitty can come in and play some games for the bolts. He's no saviour but I think he's an upgrade on Ramo and whoever else has been in there (Kolzig hurt too last year). I like the addition of Tanguay and additions of Foster, Ohlund and Victor Hedman on the blueline. Once again improved defense should be the key for this dark horse.

  20. lafleur10 says:

    realistically if you get kessel with the 1st rd pick it won't be top 10 protected or you won't get him plain and simple chiarelli isn't going to take a marginal defenceman alone for a 36 goal scorer it will have to include the pick no question about it!and i think the laffs could get a better deal for kaberle than horton and mathias.

  21. cam7777 says:

    what, you think they could do better than that?  i'm impressed lafleur – that's a very sensible comment.

    i don't like the matthias/horton return either.  it's a good trade that upgrades our prospect pool and top six forward core, but at the expensve of leaving us without a solid puck mover.  a year from now, we'd be having to trade kadri and matthias with more picks just to get another kaberle like player back on the roster.

    it would be easier to wait for kadri another year or two, while signing forward rfa's and ufa's, and hoping for the best from the likes of bozak/hanson/stalberg, etc….

    it's much easier to find scoring than quality defensemen.

  22. KingCanada says:

    I really dont think anyone should put LA ahead of St Louis.  They were one of the hottest teams after the deadline and actually traded away veterans to then have the youngsters take over and play surprisingly well.  This was all accomplished without Johnson or Kariya in the lineup so expect big things from this team.

    LA has no goaltender and a shaky defence at best.  The West is a competitive conference and Im almost positive they miss the playoffs again.  Not to mention the Blues have more offensive weapons then the Kings so I dont see why your favoring them.  On paper and on the ice they are a better squad IMO.

  23. KingCanada says:

    OK no those moves dont make sense at all.  First of all you cannot get both Kessel AND Dubinsky with that.  If you offer a RFA 2.6 mill or more per season itll cost 1st, 3rd instead of just a 2nd which youve already traded off to get Kessel.

    Next Kaberle has a NTC and Burke had ALL summer to trade him and didnt so THATS not happenning.  Especially for that package wow, a lazy power forward and an underperforming prospect, great!

    Lastly if Burke wanted to get Kessel hed sign him to offer sheet.  Why would he aquire his own 2nd rounder last week only to NOT include it to aquire Kessel?

    Lastly I just want to add that Dubinsky wont get offered anything more then 2.6 and the Rangers will match it no problem considering their lack of forward depth and their cap space of at least 3-4 million.

  24. cam7777 says:

    Because the division will be easier this year.  Phoenix and Dallas will be pushovers, and they should be able to steal an extra couple wins from Anaheim and San Jose.

    Conversely, the Jackets are a strong team, Nashville never relents, and that leaves just Chicago and Detroit.  That's a much tougher division this year in my opinion.

    Also, as I said, a lot of those young players played way above their head last year.  Now I realize it's probably not conventional wisdom, but I got the feeling that last year, when everythign went wrong for them (Kariya, Johnson, McDonald, Brewer all out), everything else went right for them (all their young players played to above expectations, Colaiacovo finally kept off the injury bug, and Tkatchuk and Boyes managed to be exceptional role models).  My bet is that they will face similar adversity this year, except all those other players will now be in their Sophomore jinx year.  Everyone's going to be on the lookout for Oshie, Berglund, Perron, etc…

  25. cam7777 says:

    It wouldn't be easy though if this happened at 11:59 PM on September 30th.  And now there's a report out of Boston saying Kessel does not intend to resign with the Bruins, and he awaits an offer sheet.  If that's the case, then Burke can sit back and comfortably wait to snatch Kessel.  Because once October 1st rolls around, Chiarelli can't breach the cap, not even for 5 minutes while paper work is filed.  Injury should not matter.

  26. PointMeAtTheSky says:

    No, Boston would still get a pick…in a future draft. But looking at Kessel, He was a top 10 pick, 6th overall I believe. He scored 36 goals in 70 games (equivalent to 41 goals in a full season). He's worth the pick. It might still be prudent to put top 5 protection on it though…

    As for the Kaberle deal, I think that's a pretty good deal (If Burke does want to trade a defenseman for a viable first line forward, Kaberle is their only bargaining piece). Horton and Matthias is a pretty good deal. Horton is 24, and a potential 30 goal scorer for the next decade. He is inconsistent though. Matthias has disappointed, but he too has top 6 power forward potential.

    The thing is, it's all in Kaberle's hands. With his No trade clause and the salary cap, Florida might be the only plausible destination. He wants to stay in the east. Toronto most likely won't trade him to Ottawa or Montreal, and besides they don't have the necessary pieces. Buffalo has some pieces, but none as good as Horton or Mattias. Boston, NYR, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have no cap space. New Jersey has no top 6 forward to give up that would be worth except for Zajac and Parise, who are going nowhere. Ditto Washington. The only top 6 forwards there better than Horton won't be going anywhere.

    Carolina could be a possibility, but with Pitkanen and Corvo, they would probably be wiser to hang on to their forwards.

    I doubt Kaberle would want to go to Atlanta, and other than Little…who would they send back? Plus they seem to have stacked up on top 4 d.

    That pretty much leaves the Lightning and Panthers. The Lightning could benfit from Kaberle, but the only asset they have to give is Ryan Malone, and I don't think Burke is intereseted in him.

    Florida needs a replacement for Jay Bouwmeester, and Horton could use a change of scenery (as could Matthias). And why wouldn't Kaberle want to go to Florida, live in the sun and play with McCabe again?

  27. PointMeAtTheSky says:

    From the compensation lists I've seen for this year, if Toronto signed him to a 3 million dollar offer sheet, the compensation would only be a 2nd round pick. 1st and 3rd are for anything above 3 million. Maybe that information was wrong.

    Why wouldn't Kaberle waive his no-trade to go to Florida? He can live in the sun and play with McCabe again, wh he had great success with (statistically speaking).

    I agree that keeping Kaberle would be a good idea. He's their only legitimate puck moving d-men. And he's a bargain for what he brings and what he makes. But if Burke wants to make the play-offs this year, he needs some legimate top 6 scorers. He also has to move some d-men to get them. And Kaberle is the only D-men that would be available and have enough value.

    He acquired the 2nd round pick to bully Chirelli into making a deal. White effectively replaces the 2nd round pick in the deal.

    If somone wants Dubinsky, they have to offer up 3 million, because as you said, the Rangers will match anything around 2.6, but will likely walk for 3 million.

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