The center on the free agent market this summer that will be number one priority for teams lacking depth up the middle will be Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks. Marleau, who has struggled pretty badly in 07/08 has since bounced back with two impressive seasons, recording 71 and 83 points, respectively.
Because of this renaissance, Marleau will be a hot commodity in the coming weeks, and the New York Rangers will most likely find their interest peeked at the free agent’s availability. However, his salary was $6.3 million last season, this coming after a career high 44 goals. Marleau will be set to make $7 million or higher, depending on the desperation of the bidder.
The Rangers will not be able to afford his salary, what with Chris Drury making $7 million to score fifty points, and the Rangers having impending RFA’s Dan Girardi and Marc Staal to sign. And even if the Rangers were to free up space, such as by miraculously getting rid of Wade Redden, I still would not want him.
As good as he has been, Marleau seems just like the player the Rangers would sign. At 31 and coming off his best season ever, he is past his prime, or at least on the cusp of passing it. He is going to command big bucks as mentioned earlier, but also a long term deal.
I do not see Marleau eclipsing the 44 goals and 83 points he scored this season, even if he would be playing alongside Marian Gaborik.
Fact is, if the Rangers do sign him and put him on the top line, even if he and Gaborik score 100 points each, where will other offense come from? Signing Marleau will only allow that one signing, with no space available to bring in secondary scoring.
However, with Marc Savard now available in Boston, according to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, the Rangers have a cheaper option that they can target.
The Bruins already have a slew of centers, including newly acquired Nathan Horton, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, and the soon-to-be-drafted Tyler Seguin. The Bruins will have no room for Savard and can use the cap space.
Should the Rangers bring in Savard, they would have a highly skilled center locked up for the next seven years (I know, it seems daunting) but the cap hit is a very manageable $4.007 million. Savard is only one year older than Marleau, and has put up 63 or more assists in four out of the last five seasons. He failed to reach that last season due to injury, where he only played 41 games, but still managed to put up 23 assists.
Savard also has experience playing in New York, albeit very brief. He was drafted by the Rangers in 1995 and played two seasons with the team from 1997 to 1999. In 98 games he scored 10 goals and 41 assists for 51 points. He was then shipped out by Neil Smith for Jan Hlavac.
But what would it take to get Savard?
Boston will most likely ask for Dubinsky and a draft pick, because remember, they need to clear up salary and could also use Dubinsky as a bottom six, checking forward, something he would be on the Rangers if it was not for such a severe lack of skill.
If the Bruins are desperate enough, than perhaps Dubinsky and a second round pick will be enough. I really cannot see any other moves that would work between the two teams that would be cap friendly. Obviously, the Rangers would love to shed Rozsival or Brashear in a deal, but to be realistic, that is just not going to happen.
Should Savard get traded, I expect we will see something on draft day, but it is just a hunch.
As a side note, Jonathon Ragus from Ranger Nation and MVP Gotham just posted this Facebook status: “Stupidity is a terrible thing. Ranger fans who think they should sign Evgeni Nabokov to be Henrik Lundqvist’s backup, I have one question for you– What the [expletive deleted] are you smoking? Sipping the stupid juice today?
I thought that was hilarious. I know Rangers fans aren’t that dumb, so for the sake of everyone’s IQ, I pray that July 1 will get here sooner rather than later.