We’ve already covered some of the more intriguing players that will be available via free agency, but it doesn’t appear likely that the big-ticket guys like Zach Parise and Ryan Suter will end up in New York. The 2012 free agent class is extremely thin, but at the draft last weekend GM Glen Sather confidently stated the team would still be “fairly aggressive” in free agency. So who else could the organization pursue on July 1st?
Today we’ll look at the forwards.
Ray Whitney – Scares many off because of his age (40), but he actually seems to be getting more productive somehow. Wants to be paid, but doesn’t require a long-term commitment. Might make a lot of sense on a one- or two-year deal.
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With new GM Brian Burke trying to rebuild in Toronto, seemingly every player on their roster is available via trade. The most notable players available are Nik Antropov, Jason Blake, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Pavel Kubina, Tomas Kaberle, and Vesa Toskala.
Only Nik Antropov interests me of this group. The others are either overpaid (Kubina), locked up for too long (Kaberle, Blake), or just plain bad (Toskala). Ponikarovsky’s an interesting case, as he is similar to Antropov, but I don’t think Sather can afford to have him locked up for next year as well at his $2.15 million cap hit.
As for Antropov, he’s that big body the Rangers desperately need (6’6, 230lbs) in front of the net on the powerplay (note: Aaron Voros does not count). He would almost certainly bolt for that $4 million contract he will get at the end of the year, so there’s no long term committment. And to top it off, the Rangers can actually afford him because he’s only a $2.05 million cap hit from the beginning of the year.
I don’t know what it would cost to get him, but I would assume a mid level prospect and a mid level pick, plus whoever is needed to clear space (Voros/Fritsche?).
This is another one where you would hope the tires are kicked around a bit. He would be a good pickup at the right price.