Rangers Pick up Justin Falk for Ferriero


The parent New York Rangers made the first deal of NHL draft day Sunday, when they acquired 6-5, 220-pound defenseman Justin Falk from Minnesota in exchange for forward Benn Ferriero, who played 23 games with the Whale this season after being traded to the Rangers by Pittsburgh.  A sixth-round 2014 draft pick also went to Minnesota in the deal.

Falk must still be re-signed, as he is a restricted free agent, as is Ferriero.

The Rangers currently have five defensemen under contract for this coming season, not counting Ryan McDonagh, who is a restricted free agent and almost assuredly will be re-upped.  Getting a deal done for McDonagh would then give the parent club six blueliners, which would seem to put Falk in a position of battling John Moore for the sixth spot, with the odd man out heading to the Wolf Pack.  Way too early in the off-season to be counting on anything like that, though.

At the recent Wolf Pack season ticket holders town meeting, Pack assistant coach Jeff Beukeboom told the season seat-holders in attendance to expect significant new blood on the Hartford blueline, and this would seem to be the beginning of that trend, whether Falk ends up wearing a Wolf Pack jersey or via a domino effect of the trade.

Falk has played five seasons in the Wild organization, including 108 games with the NHL club, after being drafted in the fourth round in 2007.  He has spent all of the last two seasons with Minnesota, after playing most of his first three years with AHL Houston, and had three assists and 40 penalty minutes in 36 games with the Wild this year.

The Snowflake, Manitoba native was part of two deep Houston playoff runs, playing 20 postseason games his rookie year, 2008-09, as the Aeros went to Game Seven of the Conference Finals before losing to Manitoba, and going all the way to the Finals in 2010-11, when Houston lost in six games to Binghamton.  Falk also won a Memorial Cup in his last year of Junior hockey, with the 2007-08 Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League.

Ferriero, a 26-year-old veteran of four pro seasons, had four goals and 12 points in his 23 games with Connecticut, and had his moments with the Whale, but was not among the players summoned from Hartford to New York for the Rangers’ playoff run.  That seemed to indicate that Ferriero was not in the organization’s long-term plans.