Potential Replacements for Former New York Ranger Benoit Pouliot
As reported by NHL.com, Benoit Pouliot is now a member of the Edmonton Oilers; therefore, he will not be a member of the Broadway Blueshirts come October 2014. The departure of the 2005 No. 4 overall draft choice will hurt the New York Rangers in a big way, and he will need to be replaced.
Some will say that Pouliot has been inconsistent his entire career and that last year's performance was a fluke, but 2013-14 was the best that he's played his entire career. He was physical, an offensive asset, a defensive specialist and an advanced stats wunderkind.
His presence will be missed in the lineup, and although there aren't many options that can replace what he brought to the table, here are some potential options the Rangers should explore via free agency.
Dustin Penner is a 31-year-old winger coming off a 14-goal and 35-point season playing 14 minutes, 28 seconds a game for the Anaheim Ducks and Washington Capitals. On the surface, that is similar to the production of Benoit Pouliot.
Like Pouliot, Penner has good size—6'4" and 247 pounds—and he is a physical player that loves to stand in front of the net. Penner is a four-time 20-goal scorer, and he is still capable of scoring close to that rate when you consider that he would be paired with an adept playmaker like Mats Zuccarello.
The two-time Stanley Cup champion winger would come at a reasonable rate, and adding him to the roster would make sense when you consider what the Rangers are trying to replace.
David Booth is another option the Rangers should at the very least ponder when trying to replace the void left by Benoit Pouliot. Booth is a 6'0", 212 pounds winger that has a connection to Alain Vigneault going back to the Vancouver Canucks.
The avid hunter has had his fair share of concussion issues, and a nine-goal and 19-point season in 2013-14 was rather disappointing. Due to his down year, he should have a low price tag, and they should pounce on him while he's in a prime position.
Booth would replace Pouliot's speed, his aggressiveness on the forecheck and his knack for going to the net. The former Canuck has a bevy of offensive tools, and he would be an asset to the Rangers in Pouliot's absence.
The New York Rangers should pursue the "All Star" while he is currently available. He is no longer able to command a top salary, and that is because he only tallied 12 goals and 28 points last season.
This is a far cry from the 30-, 40- and 50-goal seasons that Heatley became famous for during his time in Canada's capital.
While's he's been on a steady decline that started during his time with the Minnesota Wild, he doesn't have to be the player he used to be. Playing like he once did would be great, but 15 goals would suffice as a Benoit Pouliot's replacement.
He has size at 6'4" and 220 pounds, owns a great shot and he isn't afraid to go to the net. He plays either wing, so that would give him the opportunity to play opposite playmaking winger Mats Zuccarello.
Ideally he would be a great fit, because he would have low expectations, and his salary likely would be very reasonable. He would also be another big body for the power play, and he's a money guy from inside the slot.
Heatley would at most command a salary of maybe $2.5 million, and that is something that should be palatable for general manager Glen Sather.