NHL Free Agency 2013: Breaking Down New York Rangers' Wish List
While they do have $14,155,833 in cap space according to CapGeek, most of that money will be used to sign their restricted free agents—Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh, Carl Hagelin, Mats Zuccarello and Justin Falk.
Whatever money they do have left over will have to be used scraping the bargain bin.
What is the New York Rangers' wish list for this offseason?
Read on to find out.
Before identifying specific players, we first have to identify what the Rangers need.
It's pretty simple. The Rangers need a quarterback for the power play. If that person can solidify the sixth defense spot, even better.
In addition, the Rangers could use some depth at forward. They were exposed by the Boston Bruins' depth. The Rangers were about a line worse than the Bruins, and that's a major reason they lost.
The more competition the better, but even if the Rangers could pick up just one depth player, it will be a success.
The Rangers' power play was abysmal last season, and they desperately need someone to quarterback it.
The Rangers haven't had a power-play quarterback since, arguably, Brian Leetch. On the roster, Michael Del Zotto is probably the best option, but he doesn't have a dynamic shot.
When thinking of the ideal power-play quarterback, guys like P.K. Subban, Mark Streit, Zdeno Chara and Shea Weber come to mind. They have hard, low shots that don't get blocked. They move with ease on the blue line. They are a threat to shoot from practically anywhere above the circles.
Is there someone on the market like that? No, but a few guys come close.
The first would be Marek Zidlicky. Playing with the New Jersey Devils, Zidlicky had four goals and 15 assists. Eleven of his 19 points came on the power play. Zidlicky also played 21 minutes and is not terrible in his own end.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported that the Rangers are interested in the 36-year-old defenseman.
Another option is Ian White. Last of the Detroit Red Wings, White played minimally last year. But he has shown an aptness for the power play. In 2011-12, White played in 77 games and had 10 power-play assists. He had 32 points overall.
White is not the best in his own end and is a bit undersized at 5'11". But his offensive upside is needed, and given the fact that the Rangers have five solid defensemen, they could put White on the bottom pair.
Historically, however, he's a great puck-mover. In 2011-12, Kaberle had 15 power-play assists. Like the others, he's not great in his own end. But given the depth ahead of him, the Rangers can probably get away with it.
All three would fill a need. Zidlicky is probably the best bet and would represent the biggest upgrade.
The Rangers need some bottom-line forwards who can put the puck in the net.
The first two lines of the Rangers are set. They will include, in some form or another, Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, Chris Kreider, Rick Nash, Carl Hagelin and Ryan Callahan.
The other two lines are up for grabs. Brad Richards will probably center the third line. On the roster, only Brian Boyle, Mats Zuccarello and Taylor Pyatt are guaranteed spots. J.T. Miller has a strong chance to make the team out of camp, and Derek Dorsett was effective as a fourth-line grinder, but neither are locks.
The moves to waive both Darroll Powe and Arron Asham, as per the New York Daily News, only exacerbate the need for more grinders who can put the puck in the net.
A winger like Dan Paille, who was so instrumental in helping the Bruins reach the Final, or a center like Dave Bolland, who scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal, would be ideal in helping upgrade the bottom six.
Alas, they aren't available. Instead, they could look at someone like Matt Hendricks. Hendricks scored five goals last season and also hits, fights and provides energy on the forecheck.
Clarke MacArthur has more offensive upside. He's the kind of gritty player who helps teams wins games. He scored eight goals last season, but his career high is 21.
Eric Nystrom, who scored seven goals and had four assists last season with Dallas, would be an ideal third-line winger. It remains to be seen, however, if Nystrom, or any of the guys mentioned above, would be willing to come to New York for a bit less than they may get from teams with more cap room.
Because of the cap constraints, the Rangers will probably be able to sign only one guy like this. But it's a need. A gritty player who can sustain offense, wreak havoc on the forecheck, kill penalties and play solid defense would go a long way in helping the Rangers advance further in the playoffs next season.
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