Monday, June 30, 2008

Holy Free Agency Batman! Part 1

When it comes to free agency, all eyes turn to the New York Rangers who always try to make a splash. Last year they did by signing Chris Drury and Scott Gomez. What will happen this year?
Well here is what the Rangers SHOULD do in my book. Let Jagr go (everyone knows that). Depending on if Avery's price goes down, keep trying to sign him. If Rozsival wants more than $4 million then let him go. Re-sign Mara, bye bye Malik and it seems Straka and Shanny will both be gone. 
But of course everything that happens tomorrow and beyond for the Rangers depends on Jagr so I have to look at both possibilities.
Lets say Jagr re-signs. The Rangers are definitely going to go after Mats Sundin. It has been talked about for the last week and has gotten some wheels. I am hoping the Sundin doesn't go to Montreal (who own his rights). I just don't see it happening since if he is so loyal to Leafs fans, why would he go to their arch-enemy? It doesn't make sense. Obviously the Rangers are sort of a rival in terms of the Original 6 but Montreal is numero uno on Toronto hate lists. But the Rangers will go after Sundin because that is what the Rangers do. And if he comes to NY, I would be happy as it would be exciting to see another big face on the team. But hopefully Sather doesn't do anything stupid and sign him longer than one year along with Jagr. If there is any room left in the coffers after signing those 2, the defense needs to be shored up a little. I would definitely shop Backman TODAY and try to get someone's negotiating rights or whatever you can get (hey a baseball team traded a guy for 10 baseball bats). Obviously spending big money on those 2 guys will limit the options for the Rangers but guys like Jeff Finger, Bryce Salvador, and Jason Smith will be cheaper options for the Rangers defensive depth.
Lets look at if Jagr doesn't come back. This will really open up options for the Rangers. If Jagr goes, Sundin may come but I don't think he will since the reason to bring him in is for Jagr. The Rangers will have to look to building around Gomez, Drury, and Lundqvist. At the forward position, there are alot of guys the Rangers could go for. Brian Rolston (please don't sign with the Mullet Bolts), Michael Ryder, Radim Vrbata, and Matt Cooke would be names to look at. I think Rolston would be absolutely perfect for Gomez and the rest of the team for that matter. It would give the Rangers a point shot that isn't found very often. Rolston can still skate and that shot of his hasn't lost any of its potency. If the Rangers want star power on the wing then they could go for Markus Naslund but I would steer clear of him. Although a line with Sundin centering Naslund wouldn't be a bad idea. 
But the most important thing for the Rangers to do is shore up the defense. They could sign one or two of the guys I mentioned but defense needs to be addressed. They don't have to get Brian Campbell or Wade Redden but they need guys who are good defensive defensemen who are physical and will make it hard to get good chances. Jason Smith, Brooks Orpik, Jim Vandermeer, and Brad Stuart would be good options to looks at. I hope they re-sign Mara since he was the only physical guy outside of Tyutin's hip checks, which don't happen very often.
One other piece that needs to be addressed is the backup spot. Reports have been swirling that Valiquette may leave and go play behind Roberto Luongo in Vancouver. If he goes, Mikka Wiikman could definitely take over the back up spot. However, to help Henrik for a year and give Wiikman a full year with a starting role in Hartford, I would go after Curtis Joseph. A veteran presence behind Lundqvist could help him avoid the mid season slump that he seems to go through all the time. Also, Joseph is one of the better goalies of our time and he would be very inexpensive. The Rangers were going after him at the deadline until he went to Calgary. And they almost had him too. 
However, what I want to happen and what will actually happen are 2 completely different things. My predictions for tomorrow (and beyond) are Jagr re-signs, Rangers nab Sundin, and they get Brooks Orpik. Will it be enough to get the team over the 2nd round hump or even into the playoffs? I don't know but you never know what will happen with the Rangers.
The Coyotes free agency preview will be up later. PLEASE COMMENT ON THESE! I WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN!!!


mike said...

we need jagr back. i see sundin and jagr signed, along with rozi and mara

Joe said...

Congrats on your first multi-response blog post. My preview will be up later today for those who may want to read it as well.

Debbi said...

and what's wrong with building around Gomez, Drury and Lundqvist?? I like Smith and Orpik on defense..not crazy about Sundin and everyone knows how I feel about Jagr!
Hey did I inspire the "batman" theme???

Gootzman said...

Hahaha no you didn't inspire just came out.

mike said...

jagr must be a ranger. we need him.. he needs to be a stop gap until our young guys like cherry and anisimov and everyone are ready to compete on this level