The New York Rangers may or may not be done for the night, but in all likelihood, we will have to wait until tomorrow before we see any more moves. Today was an exciting day for free agency. It was not as hectic as in years past, but controlled. It seemed that early on, announcements of signings were coming at a nice even pace. That made it really easy for us writers to cover what was going on.
The Rangers made the first splash of the day when they inked goaltender Martin Biron at 12:01pm to a two year deal worth $1.8 million. This was a great move by Sather, who addressed this team’s biggest need right off the bat. Speculation was rampant leading up until noon that it would happen, and it did. Biron had been given permission last night by the Islanders to talk to other teams. Biron has since told the press he wants to push Lundqvist, and be a solid insurance policy as backup goalie. (My article on Biron)
Then came the biggest shocker of the day. Jody Shelley, who most expected would re-sign with the Rangers, fled to Philadelphia for three years at $1.1 million per. The Rangers then went and jumped on Derek Boogaard, and gave him a four year deal at $1.65 million per. Fans have been ripping this signing all day long, but it really is not that bad. Boogaard is an immense physical specimen and will finally provide adequate protection for Henrik Lundqvist and the team’s smaller forwards. This is a good signing, and I am really excited to see him fight wearing Ranger blue. (My article on Boogaard)
The Rangers then welcomed back two new faces in Vaclav Prospal and Erik Christensen. Prospal would sign for an even lower amount than last season, at just $1 million. There is also an additional $1.1 million in bonuses up for grabs. But still, it is a bargain and shows how much he really wanted to be here.
Christensen also took an affordable contract, for one year at $925,000. He will most likely be this team’s number one center this season, unless they make a trade.
When you take a look at how economical the Rangers were, on four players they spent $4.75 million for next season. Meanwhile, Anton Volchenkov himself got $4.5 million from the Devils for next season.
I said last night that if the Rangers could not get Kovalchuk, that they should only make small moves. Kovalchuk is still on the market, and there is no word that the Rangers are interested, and that he is close to signing with the Los Angeles Kings. If that is the case, then expect the Rangers to just re-sign their RFA’s, and call it an off-season.
However, several interesting trade rumors came up on Twitter this afternoon. Early on, the Fan590 reported a deal between the Rangers and Flames was in the works, and this was later echoed by beat writer Steve Zipay. We do not know who exactly was involved, but it seemed serious for a while. Calgary is reportedly done for tonight, so we will see tomorrow if any of this rumors come to fruition.
One last thing regarding the Boogaard naysayers. Let’s take a look at some other contracts dolled out today. Manny Malhotra, who scored a career high 14 goals last season got three years/$7.50 million from Vancouver. What a brutal contract, yet TSN chose not to bash that. Should the Rangers have signed him, they would have been up in arms.
Instead, they focused an entire five minutes, ripping into the Rangers signing, and basically had Keith Jones telling viewers that Jody Shelley was the greatest player to ever don a Rangers sweater.
Same can be said for the Johan Hedberg contract– he got $1.5 million and a no trade clause as a 37 year old backup. Everyone is mum on him too.
Negativity must just be a Ranger thing.