Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mixed Reaction Among Rangers Fans!!

Reaction about the Rangers direction as a franchise and the current offseason has been mixed amongst the fan base. A lot of fans seem to think negatively about everything the Rangers do but it seems as though for at least one offseason Glen has figured out what he needs to do to make the Rangers a better team. Granted it took him ten tries at it but that's for another discussion. While there is still plenty of time for Glen to mess up what he has done so far, it seems like the Rangers organization and team is heading in the right direction.

We got started early by signing Mats Zucarello Aasen to a two year contract, paying him $1.75M a year. This is a great signing as we scooped him up quick and this kid could be a dynamic player in the NHL someday. He has some speed and a goal scoring touch and played in the Swedish Elite League with some NHL veterans and they all held high praises for this kid. MZA put up some good numbers over there which should translate well to the NHL. MZA could make the opening night roster but playing a year or half a year in the AHL would not be bad for him as he will be able to get use to the NHL rink and how the game is played with out as much pressure.

Next was the re-signing of Erik Christensen who was a pleasant surprise last year after we claimed him off of waivers from the Ducks. He scored eight goals and added 18 assists in only 49 games. A big factor in the resigning was the fact that he had some pretty good chemistry with Gaborik which at times last year was hard to find. At only 925k for the next two seasons, this is a great deal for a player who has always had the potential to be a big time player in the NHL. One year in juniors he scored 54 goals and added 54 assists in only 69 games. He has also shown the ability to play at the NHL as when he was acquired by the Ducks in 08-09 he had nine points in only 17 games but they failed to find a spot for him the next season and he was placed on waivers. I can't really find any reason to be mad or upset about this trade as there really is not much the Rangers can lose in this signing.

Join me after this to read my take on the rest of our moves and my final analysis of Sather's offseason.

The next signing was probably the worst of the summer so far as Sather signed Boogaard to a 4 year deal worth about $1.6M a year. The player is not a really the problem as Boogs is a good fighter and very intimidating to the Carcillo type characters out there. The terms of the contract is the issue with the signing. They gave a guy who has not scored in 4 years, $1.6M a year? Really? Come on Glen that is ridiculous. A lot of fans were upset about letting Shelley go but the reasoning behind it was fine. They only wanted to give him 2 years and not the third as is would be an over 35 contract. Ok Shelley is older and we do not want him anymore. That is fine with me but giving this guy all that money is ridiculous especially when you could have add Orr for only one million a year. We will see how this signing plays out on the ice.....

We also added a veteran back up goalie early in free agency in Marty Biron. There is not much else to say here except that this should help give Hank some extra rest and also leave us with a reliable back should anything happen. Probably one of the most important needs for this team and Glen went out and addressed it quickly and with a cheap price tag.

A very popular move among Rangers fans was the signing of both Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh out of Wisconsin. They were two of the leaders on the Wisconsin team that came close to winning the NCAA championship. Both will have a shot to make the opening night roster and most Rangers fans are in hopes that McDonagh plays well in Camp and makes the team subsequently sending Redden down to the minors for good although that might happen anyway. Stepan will most likely be spending at least the start of the year in Hartford but McDonagh has a great chance of making our opening night team.

Sather also decided to keep Mike Sauer and Brodie Dupont locked up each for one year at the league minimum. Not much to comment on these deals as it seems like Dupont probably will not be cracking the lineup this year and it did not seem like Sauer fit into Torts system. But it is still nice to see the Rangers keeping some of there young kids around as you never know if one will have a breakout year and make the team and it shows a commitment to more of a youth movement. He also added Jeremy Williams but this is most likely just a depth signing and replacement for Parenteau and I fully expect that he will play the full year in Hartford but you never know as he could have a great start to the year and maybe come up at some point.

The signing of Alex Frolov is basically a move for a player who will guarantee around 20 goals but if he fits in perfect could provide a lot more. Frolov has played his whole career with the Kings and had a little fallback last year but has been a consistent scorer and has averaged over 60 points over the last four seasons. He has scored 30 goals twice both since the lockout and had a 32 goal season just one season ago. This addresses a dire need on this team with some secondary scoring help. At only $3M for one year this is a great move and if he plays well we could probably keep at a discount of his actual worth.

Another move that was made was the trading of Aaron Voros and prospect(if you can even call him that) Ryan Hiller to the Ducks for Steve Eminger. Eminger has actually had some success in his career and I would not be surprised if this guy played more games then most fans expect. He has averaged 16 points a year over the last five years while only averaging 57 games a year. That would be roughly 25 points on average if he played a full season which for the Rangers on defense would have been third among our defencemen last year. The main problem in his game is his defensive play and this is somewhat showcased by his -32 over the last five years. He did play for some terrible teams(Florida,Washington(when bad) and Tampa) over that time so that also factors in. But if given a shot, he might produce and this minor trade was a good move by Glen.

The resigning of veteran Vinny Prospal is kind of up in the air. It seems as though now this will be taking a spot away from a kid like MZA or Grachev but if Vinny puts up the same numbers as last year and continues to play well with Gaborik then you really cannot look down on this move to much. It is only a one year deal so if he does not put up the same production then we can still call up one of the kids and bench Vinny. But with that said I do not see any reason to believe Prospal will not play as well as he did last year so it looks like a pretty good move. Not to mention that if the Rangers do not have a good season then they cold trade him for a pick or two.

Yes we did resign Girardi and probably overpayed a little and yes Staal has not been signed but he will be and Sather has already made a respectable offer at 4/14 and rumor has been that Staal wants less years and Sather and his agent will eventually work it out.

The main reason I get for the negativity around the Rangers offseason is that we have not improved much and we will have the same team as last year but that is not true. One of the main problems with this team is that they had no chemistry and that every year we would put out a brand new team. Fans would complain about all the moves and now we will have pretty much the same team and fans complain about that. Now this team has some continuity and will play much better then last year because they are an actually team. They played great down the stretch and will carry that into this year. Torts will not have to switch lines around as much because he will know who works with who. Plus we added some much needed scoring help in Frolov who will produce at least 20 goals and players like Anisimov, Callahan, Dubinsky, Staal, Del Zotto, Gilroy, and Prust will only continue to get better as players. We finally have kept a core group of players and added some much needed pieces to put out a better team and this has by far been the best Sather offseason yet.

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