One of the best websites there is for coverage of the New York Rangers is Rick Capiniello’s Rangers Report. It’s where the picture to the left is from. Rick is a tremendous writer who’s forgotten more about hockey than most people know and at the same time had a great sense of humor. The site is just great to read.
In today’s listing, Carpiniello listed the scorecard as to where the New York Rangers organization stands at this point in terms of who’s coming and going.
Let’s discuss this a bit shall we?
Do you think the Rangers/Whale are better teams? Worse off? The same?
Who would you like to see them REALISTICALLY go out and get at this point?
Carpiniello’s list and our commentary follow:
Headed to arbitration:
Still unsigned UFAs:
Still unsigned RFAs:
Michael Del Zotto.
Now as we see it, neither team is as good at this point as they were as they ended the season.
Starting with the Rangers, losing Prust was a kick to the heart, but at the same time the contract he got was as close to an example of how the owners are shooting themselves in the foot by overpaying players. $2.5M per year for four years is crazy for a guy who plays twelve minutes a game. He’s a tremendous penalty killer and a great heart guy to a team, but Brandon Prust was not the reason that the Rangers went to the Conference Finals. He was a factor no doubt, but he can be replaced. The question is, with who?
Arron Asham? That guy has travelled around the block more times than Dale Earnhardt, Jr. In terms of points per game, Asham has 206 (92g, 114a) in 756 NHL games and has 940PIM. That’s good for a PPG of .272 and .80PIMPG. Prust has 63 points (24g, 39a) and 612PIM in 279 games. For “Pruster” that’s a .225PPG and 2.19PIMPG. Asham is also 34 and Prust is 28.
In looking to them, it means the Rangers will be a lot softer team, not as strong on the PK and get roughly the same offensive production. EDGE: PRUST
Micheal Haley is destined for Hartford. Haley likes to fight, has some speed and had a productive AHL season with 15g, 10a for 25pts. He also had 125PIM in 51 games with the Sound Tigers. In 14 games with the Islanders he had 2g, 1a and 57PIM, most of which game in that infamous game with the Pittsburgh Penguins. No comparison to Prust at all. It’ll be near a miracle if he makes the Rangers. Safe bet is he’s ticketed for Hartford. EDGE: PRUST
Another former New York Islander, Taylor Pyatt is the brother of former Wolf Pack forward, Tommy Pyatt. He’s 30 years old and his best season statistically was six years ago in 2006 while with the Vancouver Canucks where he netted 23g and 14a for 37pts in 76 games. For his career, he has played in 755 games (never all 80) and 130g, 134a for 264 pts or .349 per game. He’s only tallied 404PIM in his career where he’s played for four other teams, the Islanders, Buffalo Sabres, the Canucks and the Phoenix Coyotes. EDGE: PRUST
Kyle Jean, heading to Hartford. He’s a LONG term project for the organization. EDGE: PRUST
So of the players the Rangers have signed to this point, they don’t have someone that can do for the Blueshirts what Prust has brought to the table.
Of the other players that have left, Fedotenko, Mitchell, Woywitka, Scott, Johnson and Audy-Marchessault, they were all depth players who didn’t have much of a future, if any, with the organization. The only exception being Audy-Marchessault who came from out of nowhere to play exceptionally well for the Whale all season long. Not signing him hurts both teams and with him likely to be playing next season with Springfield, the Whale will likely pay for that one dearly.
As for the retained players, Biron is a good signing as he and Henrik Lundqvist get along well; he’s played well and been a good locker room influence and most importantly, coach John Tortorella trusts him.
Bickel will continue to develop at the NHL level and will be called upon to pick up some of the fighting that Prust has left behind. Bickel isn’t afraid to drop the gloves with anyone and will get the chance to prove that next season in New York.
For Kris Newbury, this is probably his best shot at making an NHL team right out of camp. Newbury does a lot of the things that Prust can do but has been slowed in his career by the terrible habit of taking god’s awful penalties. That just will NOT fly in New York. It’s a safe bet that Newbury will get a long look in training camp as he can play both forward and wing, fights, passes well and can score in front of the net as well as play with a lot of energy. If he can get the discipline to control himself on the ice, this might be his breakthrough season. If not, he will be called upon again as a leader on the Whale where he did just about everything that a player can be called upon to do.
Stralman has obviously changed his mind about going back to Sweden and will be with the Rangers again providing he doesn’t ask for an insane contract that the Rangers walk away from.
Of the unsigned free agents, Vernance is very likely the only one to get any kind of serious consideration. He played well for the Whale last season while Deveaux and Bell were inconsistent at best.
As for the RFA’s Zuccarello is going to play in Russia. That was done to retain his rights. Del Zotto is going to be resigned. That’s not a matter of if, just a matter of when, for how much and for how long.
In terms of who the Rangers should go after, the obvious names of Rick Nash and Bobby Ryan are still be out there. In terms of either one, if you have to break up the whole magilla to get either one of them, or to part with some of the untouchables, Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh or Chris Kreider then wait There are plenty of young kids developing in the system that can fill those roles in the future.
The keywords for the Rangers as they move forward this off-season are going to be patience, caution and thoughtfulness.