With fans around the NHL waiting for the likes of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to decide where they are going to be spending the next decade, give or take a few seasons, other teams are busy making smaller, depth-related moves. Just before former New York Ranger Jaromir Jagr signed with the Dallas Stars for $4.5 million, the Blueshirts added a solid bottom six forward in Taylor Pyatt, who comes over from the Phoenix Coyotes. For people worried that the Rangers would be losing fighting ability, checking, penalty killing, and hard work, all due to grinder Brandon Prust signing with the Montreal Canadiens, the Rangers made up for his loss, first with Arron Asham two days ago (and to a lesser extent, adding Micheal Haley, which will most likely end up being an AHL move) and now with Pyatt, who is a hitting machine that can kill penalties, and also put the puck in the net on occasion.
I am one of the many fans who wanted Prust to return, yet at the same time, yell “Sayonara!” upon his inking of a contract that would pay him $10 million over the next four seasons. Once again, I am amazed at the overreaction of the fan base for the Rangers letting him slip away, as fans were quick to lambast Sather for not giving in to a 12-minute-a-night checker with 24 career goals. Coming off a 13 goal campaign in the 2010/11 season, Prust netted only five this past season, despite solidifying himself as one of the team’s best penalty killers, and someone who was full of heart and determination. However, for a player who has recorded 0, 1, 5, 13, and 5 goals respectively since coming into the league in 2006, the price tag he received was ridiculous, no matter how well-liked he may be. While I wish him the best of luck, the Rangers easily replaced him now with two players literally for the price of one—Asham will earn $1 million and Pyatt just over $1.5 million in each of the next two seasons.
Pyatt, a 31-year-old left-wing who has formerly played for the New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, and Phoenix Coyotes, is coming off a season where he only scored nine goals, but recorded double-digits five seasons in a row before that, including a career high 23 goals in 2006/07. He has also registered 115 or more hits in each of the last three seasons, when the NHL started officially keeping track of the stat. Pyatt is a veteran of 755 game, with 130 goals and 134 assists for 264 points. This is a solid signing for the Rangers, adding depth to the bottom-six. I am really eager to see a 4th line consisting of big Brian Boyle centering Pyatt and Asham. That’s a line that could out-size opponents, fight, hit, and chip in a few goals.