Found July 01, 2012 on The Prospect Park:
Me Not Crazy Yet
So here we sit fans of the New York Rangers waiting for the beginning of the second most overhyped and overrated days in the NHL calendar. July 1st otherwise known as the start of unrestricted free agency in the NHL.

Ranger fans expect the Rangers to make big move after big move while at the same time praying that the move does not backfire on them. Forgive me as I don't think any other sport in North America makes as big a deal about free agency as hockey does.

It just seems that so many people put so much emphasis on July 1 that if teams don't land the big free agents that their season is already a failure. Landing the biggest names in free agency has rarely ever translated into turning teams into the Stanley Cup winning teams.

Most free agents tend to struggle during their first year after signing the monster contract which is a major reason why I just don't get excited over it.

I am a firm believer in the saying "it's not how much money you spend, but rather how well you spend it." I also wonder how the NHL could say that the salary cap is up to $70.2 million loudly while whispering "only until we work out a new collective bargaining agreement."

It makes me feel kind of nervous because what happens if, when they do settle the collective bargaining agreement that the salary cap drops say $3-$4 million?

And as a long-time Ranger fan, I believe the scars still haven't healed from all those horrible free-agent signings of days past. It just leaves me feeling very nervous whenever I see somebody getting one of those 10 year contracts.

And to this day I still cringe when I remember the Rangers signing somebody like a Bobby Holik who never talked about how he chose the Rangers because they offered him the best chance at winning a Stanley Cup.

That's why when I saw that Edmonton had signed Justin Schultz, I actually was happy that he didn't wind up a Ranger. I may not like John Tortorella's system or his coaching methods but there is a part that I love the hell out of.

I do love the fact that Tortorella has this team playing for each other, putting the team first, and putting personal glory behind team success. When the Rangers sign a free-agent I want to see that player saying he chose the Rangers because they offered him the best chance at winning, not because they offered the most money.

What's really funny is that the moment that Schultz announced who he would sign with that the comparisons to Matt Gilroy and other free-agent college players began. Sure, we can call a lot of those comments sour grapes, but at the same time one thing is true.

Justin Schultz has a lot to prove now and while I don't wish him bad, I do want to see what happens when the Oilers play in Anaheim.

So what should the Rangers do?

The Rangers have addressed the need for a Ranger backup goalie but what about Hartford? Will Jason Missiaen and Scott Stajcer hold up spots four and five on the Ranger goalie depth chart?

They qualified Cam Talbot which basically puts him in the drivers seat for the Hartford starters job but what happens if anything happens to either Henrik or Marty? Would John Tortorella have the confidence to use Talbot?

Which move should they go for next? Solidifying the defense or looking to add offense?


Girardi- McDonagh
Staal- Del Zotto

Wild cards- Erixon, McIlrath, and Michael Sauer

By rights, you have to think that Tim Erixon has learned enough to step in to an NHL role. Yes he is young but expecting him to at least win a third pair spot is reasonable.

Even before he hurt his knee, Dylan McIlrath was a long shot to make the Rangers directly from the juniors. This is not a put down on McIlrath, but rather realizing that he's just 20 years old and there should be no reason to rush him.

Michael Sauer is "progressing" which can be interpreted 100 different ways so in my book, I would be preparing not to have him for at least half the season. If he shows up sooner then it's a bonus and you worry about that when it happens.

RFA- Anton Stralman

It's a cold, cruel world out there and bluntly Stralman had a good second half, and a decent run in the playoffs. If he's trying to use playing in Sweden as a means to get a multi-year contract, then sorry.

Stralman must remember that the Rangers gave him a chance to play in the NHL after Columbus cut him loose. If he wants a two-year deal say kind of like the one Marty Biron signed then sure I can live with that as it makes Stralman a good insurance policy, as well as an attractive trade candidate down the road.

UFA- Stu Bickel

If you would've said last year at this time that Stu Bickel would have spent most of last year playing with the Rangers; odds are good, most people would've laughed at you. The question now is, can the Rangers count on Bickel making enough forward progress to use him all game long?

It's not like he's gonna make a lot of money but for 800,000, I would sign him and use him as a 7th defender or spare enforcer.


UFAs- Fedotenko, Mitchell and Prust

Here I'm glad that I'm not having to make the call on these three because honestly, each one offered me a reason why not to keep him.

Fedotenko is 33, was invisible for most of the season but raised his game during the playoffs. The Rangers could use his character, as well as his ability to be slotted in any position during an emergency.

But otherwise he's a fourth liner/Black Ace not worth 1.4 million. John Mitchell had a great start when he was called up during the midseason.

As as time wore on, Mitchell just did not show forward progress and during the playoffs gave them almost nothing. Easy to replace, so let him walk.

Brandon Prust is very popular with Ranger fans as well as it seems members of the media. But Brandon Prust is not worth 2 million a year for several years.

People I fear are forgetting that during the playoffs Prust would play good one game then brutally bad the next. You're ready on the hook for 1.5 for Mike Rupp who's bigger and in the playoffs was better.

I could see giving Prust a minimal raise up to maybe 1.1 million for two years but anything more than that and I have to say thank you for your service to the Rangers goodbye.

Who do you target?

The easy way is to target the highest priced free agents on the market which has been what the Rangers have done over the years. It's not always worked and has done more harm than good.

If you go strictly by points per game, then here is your list of targets. If you are going to target if you are going to target specific areas like power play scoring then here is your list of targets.

One also has to remember that Wade Redden's salary is added back onto the summer cap for the Rangers as as well. I seem to dream a lot and my dream is that the Rangers target players based upon how well they fit into John Tortorella system not their personal stats.

I dream that the Rangers don't spend every available penny they have and save something for a trade down the road. The Rangers have a good thing going and instead of tearing everything apart; look for pieces that will fit inside the puzzle.

If you give me a choice then I want Ryan Suter not Zach Parise. I would rather make a trade for Ryan Getzlaf than sign a free agent forward.

Let me keep the door open in the hope that the JT Miller or Christian Thomas can make the team in training camp. And most of all I want to keep the forward progress that the franchise has made keep moving forward.

Failing that I just pray that Sunday doesn't bore me to death.


Rangers Sign Micheal Haley (UPDATE: Prust Goes to MTL)

#NYR Rangers have signed former #Isles tough guy Micheal Haley to two-year deal — Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) July 1, 2012 I really like Haley's toughness and swagger, as did Isles fans, but this signing begs the question: How many tough guys do the Rangers need on the roster? Rupp, Bickel, Asham and now Haley are all signed to contracts.  GM Glen Sather needs...

Yet another signing making Sather look good.

Right before free agency opens up another desperate general manager on another desperate team has once again made Glen Sather look good. While there’s no doubting the Flames acquisition of Dennis Wideman was a solid move, the contract given to him by Jay Feaster smacks of desperation and makes Ranger contracts like Marc Staal’s and in particular Dan Girardi’s look like excellent...

Rangers Sign Aaron Asham

Asham completes his tour of Atlantic Division, 2 yrs $1M per with Rangers.— Larry Brooks(@NYP_Brooksie) July 1, 2012 Two reasons I'm not a big fan of this signing: - It likely means Brandon Prust is officially not re-signing with the Rangers. They essentially fill the same roll in terms of being an enforcer, but Prust is cleaner, more respected and is more offensively capable...

Needs Must Still Be Fulfilled

The New York Rangers may have made three moves over the course of Sunday's opening of free agency in the NHL, but those three moves made them little progress in respect to what is needed by this club for the next season. The re-signing of Stu Bickel and additions of Arron Asham and Micheal Haley bring a degree of toughness to the team that they lost to the Montreal Canadiens...

Rangers re-sign Martin Biron

Via Larry Brooks, the Rangers have re-signed backup goalie Martin Biron for two years and $2.6M. The 34-year-old netminder posted a 2.46 GAA and a .904 save percentage in 21 games last year, capably filling in as the club was able to rest Henrik Lundqvist for the stretch drive. Re-signing Biron — or replacing him another solid backup — was a top priority this summer and it...

What To Expect From The Rangers

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post, It’s difficult to determine just who Sather might target over the next 48 hours. There is no credible right defenseman on the market to fill the second-pair hole on defense that remains wide open after University of Wisconsin free agent Justin Schultz’s decision yesterday to sign with the Oilers. Rather than throw Monopoly money at marginal...

Biron Back With the Blueshirts

The New York Rangers made a smart move by re-signing their backup netminder Martin Biron to a 2-year deal. Larry Brooks ‏@NYP_Brooksie NYR have completed vital bit of business. Post has learned that Biron has re-upped for 2 years, $2.6 total. There is no doubt that Biron has been a valuable asset to the Blueshirts since joining the team in the 2010-11 season. Biron has showed...

New York Rangers newest member Tracy Morgan

This is what it would be like if Tracy Morgan joined the New York Rangers.  Morgan appeared in this 24/7 style skit at the 2012 NHL Awards.  Check it out:

Rangers Out of Running for Schultz

Hearing NYR are out of running for Justin Schultz. Not going to NYC. — Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 30, 2012

Rangers sign Asham; re-sign Bickel

The New York Rangers have added grit and experience to their lineup by reaching a deal with forward Arron Asham on the first day of NHL free agency. A 13-season NHL veteran, Asham spent the past two years with Pittsburgh. He had five goals and 11 assists in 64 games last season. Overall, he has 92 goals and 206 points in 756 career games split between five teams. Asham broke into...

Marty Biron Will Remain With The New York Rangers

via Bob McKenzie tweet, NYR and Martin Biron agree to a 2 year deal worth a total of $2.6M, AAV of $1.3M.

Rangers Sign Arron Asham

via Josh Yohe tweet, The New York Rangers give Arron Asham two years, $2 million.
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.