Here is a signing that no one saw coming, and that is tough guy Arron Asham completing his Atlantic Division tour by signing with the New York Rangers this afternoon for two years, at $1 million per season. While I was surprised to learn of the acquisition, I am very pleased with it, though it probably spells the end of Brandon Prust’s time on Broadway. However, Asham is a much better fighter and a lot more intimidating than the scrappy Prust. He might not bring as many intangibles, but his signing is a bargain price, something that Prust’s would most likely not be, as he is expecting to get both more years and more money with his new contract.
The 34-year-old Asham has now played for all five Atlantic Division teams in succession after beginning his career with four seasons for the Montreal Canadiens. He was a fan favorite on the New York Islanders for four years, before moving on to the New Jersey Devils for one, the Philadelphia Flyers for two, and spent the last two years on the Pittsburgh Penguins. He is good for netting a few goals and will add a solid presence on the fourth line for the New York Rangers. Given the contract he received, it is hard to not like this deal. Asham has 756 games of NHL experience where he has recorded 92 goals and 114 assists for 206 points. He also has racked up 940 penalty minutes. As an enforcer, he has reached the 20-point plateau six times, his career high being 34 points (15 G, 19 A) in 2002.
Side note: with the Islanders adding Matt Carkner today, who attacked Brian Boyle while playing for the Ottawa Senators in the first round in the past post-season, the rivalry just got a lot more heated. Really looking forward to that first game, with Rupp and Asham going for the do-si-do with Carkner.