The Rangers bottom six forwards are likely to go through a bit of turnover this summer with Ruslan Fedotenko, Brandon Prust, and John Mitchell all being unrestricted free agents and Mats Zuccarello seemingly headed to the KHL. Although discussion about signing third and fourth line players isn’t the most enthralling topic in the world, these transactions are still critical when putting together a team meant to contend.
Today we are going to look at the pros and cons of signing Zenon Konopka, who just finished up a 1 year contract (worth $800K) with the Ottawa Senators.
It’s no secret Zenon Konopka can fight. Listed at 6’0 210 lbs, Zenon is right smack in the middle of most enforcer’s weight class, which was a problem for the oversized Boogaard (RIP). Zenon was tied for third in the league with 18 fights. Clearly having his presence in the lineup would take some of the pressure off of Prust, should he be resigned.
It’s also no secret Konopka is very good at faceoffs. Last season he won 59% of his draws for the Senators. In 2011 he won 58% for the Islanders. For a Rangers team that spent way too much time in their own zone, having a faceoff specialist can be an advantage. Certainly Mitchell was no slouch either winning 53% of his faceoffs, but he wasn’t good enough defensively to see time on the penalty kill. During the playoffs, Mitchell played two minutes on the PK in total. Meanwhile, Konopka received over two and half minutes per game on the penalty kill.