As the prospects of the New York Rangers begin their tournament in Traverse City, the veterans and hopefuls of the team begin their routine for the beginning of training camp. Among those that will be invited to a try-out this September, are three veterans, all of whom fans should be familiar with.
Alexei Semenov, who tried out for the Rangers last season, and impressed fans with his ability to keep the crease clear, ultimately decided to play in Russia for the season, as his wife was not content with the contract he was offered. Semenov really wanted to play in New York last year, and it is apparent he wants to this year as well.
In 249 NHL games, split with the Sharks, Panthers, and Oilers, Semenov has seven goals and 26 assists for 33 points. He has also amassed 249 penalty minutes. He would be the optimal choice for a seventh defenseman for the team this season, the spot he would have had last year. He defense is not the greatest, and he has virtually no offensive game, but for the right price, his toughness and six-foot, six-inch frame would be a welcome sight.
Also for defense, Garnet Exelby will be attending camp this fall. Exelby is known as one of the harder hitters in the league, who at any given time, can lay a devastating check on an opponent, and is no stranger to dropping the gloves. However, he is awful positionally, and goes out of his way to check opponents, leaving the defense vulnerable. I’m all for toughness and some spark, but not at the cost of letting goals in. I do believe that if he is Redden’s replacement, we will all be praying for Redden’s defense by mid-November. For a league-minimum salary, though, I would consider him for a seventh defenseman role, but that is all.
Lastly, the Rangers invited two-time Stanley Cup champion Ruslan Fedotenko to camp. He won the Cup with John Tortorella in Tampa Bay in 2003/04, and again two seasons ago with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He is a solid third line forward who could pot 15-20 goals a season. But his invite is puzzling.
All we have heard from the Rangers is that the “kids” will get a chance, but if the Rangers sign Fedotenko, there goes the spot of another young Ranger player. I am not against his signing, just not at the expense of a spot for Evgeny Grachev or Dale Weise.
Since the Rangers are so busy giving veteran try-outs, how about another opportunity for Petr Nedved, as Marian Gaborik’s center?