"The club has traded the rights to unsigned prospect Ryan Russell to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Montreal's seventh round pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft," the Rangers announced just hours before the deadline to sign players drafted in 2005. Unable to come to contract terms with Russell before the deadline, at which time Russell would re-enter the draft if still unsigned, the Rangers got what they could for him. The Habs immediately signed him to a three-year entry level deal (terms unknown at this time).
Originally drafted in the seventh round in 2005, Russell had an outstanding season this season (30 goals, 76 points in 58 games for Kootenay of the WHL). He likely wanted a deal commensurate with his recent showing rather than his low draft position. Barring that, his second choice would have been to go back into the draft, where he would no doubt have done better than the seventh round. But that's moot -- he is now part of the Montreal organization, and the Rangers get a mulligan with that seventh round pick.
Other players who remained unsigned after the deadline were 2005 draftees Dalyn Flatt (third round, 77th overall) and Trevor Koverko (fifth round, 147th overall), 2003 European draftees Ivan Dornic (sixth round, 176th overall) and Phillip Furrer (sixth round, 179th overall), and John Seymour, L.A.'s 2005 draftee (seventh round, 226th overall) who was traded to the Rangers as a minor part of the Sean Avery deal. The 1987 born Koverko and Seymour are draft eligible this year, although neither is likely to be re-drafted. Flatt, born in 1986, becomes a free agent, as do Dornic and Furrer. The Rangers have until August 15th to decide whether to sign two recent college graduates, 2003 draftees Kenny Roche and Dylan Reese.
The "other" player in the Sean Avery deal, dynamic overage (27) Czech winger Jan Marek, became a free agent when he went unsigned by L.A. by yesterday's deadline. Sidearm Delivery's translation of this Sport Express report in Russian says that Marek turned down the Kings' offer because it lacked a guarantee of making the NHL roster. Instead, he re-upped with his Russian team for a million dollar contract, according to the Manchester Union-Leader (he led his team in scoring, taking them to the Russian League championship, scoring the game winning goal in the final). Any hopes that he might return to the Ranger fold would have been dashed anyway by his NHL demand -- the Rangers are well known for not giving such guarantees (that's what kept Martin Richter in the Czech Republic all these years, and after spending this past season in Hartford without a sniff at the NHL, Richter has already decided to sign with Paradubice back in Czech for next season).
L.A. GM Dean Lombardi went to Europe to "see that Marek kid" (among others players) and came back with this report, according to a transcript at Inside the Kings: "We have to make a decision there, whether to take him or the draft pick. The key in that deal was [Ranger draftee Marc-Andre] Cliche. Now it's either [Marek] or a pick, so we went to see him play and we met with his agent to get a feel. The hard part is that they can get so much money in Russia, so there's the question of whether he even wants to try it. He's a '79 born, so he's not old. He played OK. He's a talented guy, but the thing you run into is that he's small, so you have to look at that.'' The Kings, based on Lombardi's comments, appear to be getting the Rangers' 2008 third-round pick in compensation for being unable to sign Marek.