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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Larry Brooks at the NY Post wrote that the Rangers will be targeting Mike Knuble come July 1. Knuble is 37 and is a big presence in front of the net on the PP, which the Rangers sorely need. But I have a problem with this article:
Subtracting Antropov, Markus Naslund, Nikolai Zherdev (probably), Paul Mara, Aaron Voros, Blair Betts and Colton Orr from the roster leaves the Rangers with 110 NHL goals on their team. It doesn’t matter that Knuble will be 37 on July 4. It matters that he can score and probably is affordable.
My problem comes from the players listed here. First off, Voros has a three year deal, he’s not going anywhere unless the Rangers unless the Rangers buy him out, or send him to Hartford. Strike one Larry. Strike two: Betts is going to be resigned. Strike three: why even mention Mara, Voros, Betts and Orr in a conversation about goal scoring? Really? But this post isn’t about picking apart the article, it’s about the rumor Brooks is creating, so let’s get to that.
This isn’t the worst of rumors to hear, Knuble is a physical presence in front of the net that can bang home some rebounds on the powerplay, and they do need someone to help replace the goal scoring hole vacated by Markus Naslund. As some people react to this “rumor” (note: quotations), I find it to be completely absurd that people are willing to throw more than one year at him. Since not everyone understands the intricacies of the cap, I’ll point out that if you sign a player over 35 to a multi-year deal, you are hit with that cap number for the entire length of the contract, regardless if the player retires, gets hurt, or just sucks and you send him to the AHL. That cap number remains with the team.
If Sather brings in Knuble at, say one year, and $2 million, I won’t exactly be screaming for his head. I’d prefer him spending money to keep Zherdev around, and maybe trying to lure Radulov back from Russia, but this won’t be a terrible way to spend money.