Sunday marks the opening of the NHL Free Agent Season. For many, this has become a “Christmas in July” of sorts, as many teams add shiny new toys to their rosters. The New York Rangers have been connected with several names of late, and while it is fun to get excited about new players, the Rangers should guard against too much change. Here is a list of possible signings that the Rangers could make.
Brandon Prust – UFA
Unlike UFA, Marty Biron who opted to avoid a bidding war with Philadelphia for his services and stayed in NY, Prust and Sather disagree on his value to the team-at least when it comes to what he should be paid. Prust is extremely valuable to the Rangers. He gets the system, and is the poster child for Torts-type guys. While his efforts rarely end up on the score sheet in terms of points, his hits and fighting majors are among the tops in the league. He is incredibly popular with the fans and his teammates. Hopefully, both sides can agree on a reasonable number, and Prust stays in the fold.
Justin Schultz – UFA
So much has been made of this kid that it seems he is destined to fail. This is not how things are done in the NHL. The Rangers have made his short list of teams he would “consider” playing for, but do they really want him? As a right-handed, offensively gifted defenseman, Schultz is a rare and much-needed commodity that the Blueshirts need. He hasn’t proven he can do it on the big stage though. Also, will a kid whose decision is being based on guaranteed top four minutes and powerplay time really buy in to the Tortorella system? Torts benched his boy, Brad Richards in the playoffs. Does anyone really think the Blueshirt Bench Boss will cater to this unproven kid? The Rangers made their pitch, with the help of former University of Wisconsin teammate, Ryan McDonagh. They stressed their willingness to play younsters (Hagelin/Kreider) in big situations. It’s up to him now. Then it will be up to him to live up to the hype.
Shane Doan – UFA
Two words-YES PLEASE.
Alex Semin – UFA
Two words-HELL NO!
Keith Yandle – Phoenix Coyotes
His availability is surprising. Exactly the player the Rangers need, Yandle is young and proven. Not sure what it would take to get him, but Sather is on it as he should be. His addition, assuming none of Girardi, Staal, McDonagh, Del Zotto go in trade, would make the Rangers defense the best in the league
Rick Nash-Columbus Blue Jackets
What’s left to say? Scott Howson has to get a huge return for him, and the Rangers shouldn’t bust up a very good team for one guy. Keep in mind, the Rangers win by committee and Nash is used to being a one-man show. NY moved away from Jagr because their system WAS Jagr. Have to worry that Nash might not be prepared to be another cog in the machine or that the Rangers would alter their style to accommodate him. Not in favor of this acquisition.
Zach Parise – UFA
Two words-No Way. Well those were his words. If ever there was a perfect player for the way the Rangers play the game, Parise is the guy. Unfortunately, he rejected the idea of playing for New York. Is it possible that he could have a change of heart? It’s doubtful, but Sather is trying.
Bobby Ryan – Anaheim Ducks
What a mess! Anaheim really put themselves over a barrel with this one. Ryan wants to play for the Flyers, and that is where he will probably end up. The asking price will be high, as the Ducks don’t have to trade him but probably should. If the Rangers could add him without doing too much damage to their roster, he would be a great fit and help solve the offensive woes.
Brandon Dubinsky – NYR
It seems as though a trade for any of the players listed above will involve Dubinsky. One year removed from being the leading goal scorer and point leader of the Rangers, Dubi’s disappointing 2011-2012 campaign has made him unwanted by many in New York. Dubinsky is still a young player. Despite not scoring as much as expected, he still performed admirably in many other aspects of the game. He was better than 50% at the faceoff circle, was second behind only Prust in penalty minutes, had a +16 plus-minus rating, was third on the team in hits with 207-16th best in the NHL, and had 24 assists which is just a slight dip from his norm. Like Prust, he is a reliable penalty killer and was considered one half of the “Heart and Soul” of the Rangers along with captain Callahan this time last year. I believe he will have a huge rebound year next year. Hopefully it will be with the Rangers.