AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
The Rangers dropped a tough one to the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight, 2-1 in a shootout. The play of Marc-Andre Fleury was the only reason this game wasn’t a repeat of Wednesday night. A truly sensational performance. While the loss stings, securing 3 out of a possible 4 points in a home and home with the Pens is more than we could have hoped at the beginning of the week. On to the goals…
Penguins 1, Rangers 0
- The Pens started to get their forecheck/cycling going to begin the third period. Chris Kunitz made a nice play with the puck behind the net, and found an unguarded Jussi Jokinen in the slot. He blasted a laser over Hank’s glove, and Pitt had the first goal of the game. Read more »
The Carolina Hurricanes have placed center Jussi Jokinen on waivers, which prompted a lot of discussion about the Rangers claiming him. Jokinen is having a down year, but he is still a good face off guy and one of Carolina’s top puck possession forwards (1.11 CorsiRelQoc, 3rd among ‘Canes forwards). Jokinen is shooting well below his career average (9%, average of 13%), which would affect his point totals. Also, his quality of teammates have taken a big hit over the past few years.
Two things might stop the Rangers from claiming him: His contract ($3 million through next season), and that he would be contract number 50 for this year. Fifty contracts is the max, and leaves the Rangers with minimal flexibility. His contract is a big dent in a year where the cap goes down. The Rangers would need to move a body this year and another body in the offseason to fit him in.
Now that the 2011-2012 season is behind us, many have already turned their attention to free agency. But before you do, a word of caution.
July 1st always represents a feeding frenzy and fans pay close attention to the mercenaries that could be brought aboard to hopefully take their teams to the next level. The Rangers are notoriously active on the free agent market and will surely be a major player again this summer.
But before getting too excited about the players that could sign the dotted line with New York, remember that many of the men that switch teams won’t make quite as big an impact as we may convince ourselves to believe leading up to the kickoff of the signing period.
That’s not to say that all of the impending free agents have inflated values – Ryan Suter and Zach Parise are both bona fide superstars and could buoy their future employers to the next level as Brad Richards did for the Blueshirts.
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