Is Ruslan Fedotenko worth re-signing? That's the question the New York Rangers and their front office will be asking themselves this summer, as the 33-year-old veteran forward hits the unrestricted free agency market come July 1. He's a proven winner and someone that head coach John Tortorella has a very trustworthy and tight bond with, so the decision may not be as easy as it appears to be on the surface. There is a lot that must go into analyzing Fedotenko's contributions and whether it is best to move on without his attributes or to keep them around for another go.
The Good: Ruslan Fedotenko is a very dependable player. He's not going to surprise you at any time or do something abstract out on the ice - he's a straightforward predictable hockey player who has been a fantastic role model and mentor for some of the younger guys on the team. As I've said before, there are few players in this League as committed to winning as Feds is, and it shows in the way he presents himself. Between the shot blocking and the physical sacrifices we see from this guy each night, it is quite evident that he will give everything for his club to win a hockey game. That's what the current New York Rangers are all about.
Fedotenko was especially key down the stretch and in the postseason, when nerves usually kick in for the younger guys and it is up to the veterans to the lead the way. Ruslan may not have worn a letter on his chest, but he was a leader nonetheless. His fearless play goes a long way on that bench and in the locker room - trust me - and the coaching staff and the squad give him loads of respect for it. It's well deserved.
The Bad: At the same time, however, Fedotenko isn't exactly a big offensive contributor, which is what the Rangers lacked as the regular season and postseason went on. He had just nine goals and eleven assists in 73 games played this season, along with 7 points in the playoffs. On a team that is getting younger, faster and looking to improve scoring, those numbers don't stand out in a good way, that's for sure. Fedotenko can bring you the intangibles but he won't necessarily bring offense. This sometimes makes him tough to place in the lineup.
One other thing I've noticed is that Feds often takes untimely penalties, which sort of goes against the veteran leader thing a bit. It became more of a pattern in the playoffs than it did during the regular season, but it is something that I picked up on and felt was worth noting.
Highlight of the Year:
Overall Assessment: So let's go back to the question presented at the beginning of this article: Is Ruslan Fedotenko worth re-signing? I'm going to cut right to the chase here and say no, he is not. Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of Fedotenko and what he contributes to the lineup, but I also do not feel he perfectly fits the mold for the direction that the New York Rangers are moving in. The more roster spots open for impactful offensive players the better, so it is best the Blueshirts let Feds walk on July 1. Best wishes to him, because honestly, he is a world-class guy.
Report Card Grade: B (out of A-D scale)