With the New York Rangers already pretty much set with depth on their bottom-six, adding Jeff Halpern would seem like a puzzling move, unless there was more to it than meets the eye, of course. By adding Asham and Pyatt last week, they were replacements for previously departed players, but with Halpern, it may be a move to replace someone who is still on the roster. The Rangers are heavily involved with the Columbus Blue Jackets for Rick Nash, and possibly the Anaheim Ducks for Bobby Ryan and Nashville Predators for Shea Weber. A deal for either of these players would most likely include, but is not limited to, Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, or Brian Boyle. While Halpern is not as skilled as them, and is much older, it is still a solid pick-up for the fourth line.
The 36-year-old Halpern is an excellent grinder, penalty killer, and is great on face-offs, something which will be a welcome relief to a team that had difficulty winning draws all season long. He brings 861 games of experience to the table, having scored 146 goals and 358 games while playing for the Washington Capitals, Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning, Los Angeles Kings, and Montreal Canadiens. His better days are behind him, but the deal is only for one year at $700,000.
As we all await the dominoes to fall, as Gootz alluded to earlier, perhaps this is one of those early, minor steps in an overall large scheme. The Rangers have been plugging holes with veterans since free agency opened up, something which I am perfectly fine with because they will not be carrying the team. I think the next few days will finally open up with some major moves. Fingers are crossed.