New York Rangers' Biggest Takeaways from the Start of Free Agency

Jeremy Fuchs@@jaf78Correspondent IIIJuly 8, 2013

New York Rangers' Biggest Takeaways from the Start of Free Agency

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    The frenzy of free agency has died down a bit, and we can start to understand the biggest takeaways from the start of free agency for the New York Rangers

    What did the Rangers do? What can we learn from it?

    Read on to find out what the Rangers did and didn't do and what it means for the roster going forward. 

Added Depth

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    Instead of big moves, the Rangers decided to replenish depth.

    They signed Dominic Moore to a one-year deal and Benoit Pouliot to a one-year deal to help the forwards and added Aaron Johnson to the blue line. 

    These are not flashy moves, but they add depth, which was such a major issue last season.

    They were exposed by the Boston Bruins, who have a lot of depth. Now with Moore and Pouliot, the Rangers have scoring threats for the third and fourth line.

    Pouliot scored eight goals last season and had 16 goals the season before. He'll see some time on the power play as well.

    Moore did not play last season, but he is an excellent penalty killer who can put the puck in the net. He scored 18 goals in 2010-11.

    If anything, these signings will take some of the pressure off of Rick Nash. For too much of the season, Nash had to do it single-handedly. Now, when Nash is not performing—like in the playoffs last season—they have players to pick up the slack.

    Johnson is capable of serving as a sixth or seventh defenseman. Along with Justin Falk and Danny Syvret, the Rangers have more options should a defender go down.

    Under-the-radar moves like the ones the Rangers made are the type that help teams get better. Instead of big, flashy signings, the Rangers filled holes quietly and might end up being better for it. 

Avoided Big Signings

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    In past years, the Rangers probably would've paid big money to re-sign Ryane Clowe.

    They were handcuffed by cap issues, to be sure, but the Rangers are lucky that they didn't re-sign Clowe. Clowe, who received a five-year, $24.25 million deal with the New Jersey Devils, played in only two playoff games for the Rangers last season, due to, as per the New York Daily Newssuspected concussions. 

    In the last three seasons, Clowe has scored 44 goals. Benoit Pouliot, the newest Ranger, has scored 37 goals in that same time period.

    Perhaps Clowe finds his old form in New Jersey. But the decision to sign Pouliot over Clowe is a big step for the Rangers. Pouliot has the chance to play a top-six role, while Clowe looked sluggish last season.

    The Rangers have always been attracted to big names. This year, however, their restraint will pay off. 

Continued Youth Movement

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    By not signing many free agents, the Rangers are committing to a youth movement.

    And by placing Arron Asham and Darroll Powe on waivers, as per the New York Daily News, the Rangers put their money where their mouth is.

    The Rangers will give J.T. Miller, Marek Hrivik, Danny Kristo, Justin Falk, Jesper Fast, Oscar Lindberg, Danny Syvret, Dylan McIlrath and Michael St. Croix legitimate chances of making the team.

    It's been a long time since the Rangers committed to a youth movement. They've long favored signing top free agents.

    That hasn't always been the best strategy. And while some of these youngsters will probably not pan out, some assuredly will, and will make big impacts. 

    It's about time too. The playoffs showed how important young players can be. Torey Krug was a revelation for the Boston Bruins, while Brandon Saad played top-line minutes with the Chicago Blackhawks.

    If two of the young players listed above can make the roster and have an impact, then the Rangers will be a better team for it.