New York Rangers Interested in Anton Babchuk; Possible Shanahan Return?

Greg CaggianoSenior Writer IJuly 14, 2009

The New York Rangers are on the cusp of putting together a complete lineup. Once Brandon Dubinsky is signed it would be very easy to call it a day, and plan ahead for the start of a new season.

But let me be the first to tell you that Glen Sather is far from calling it quits this offseason when it comes to adding more new faces. When looking at this current roster you can make the assumption that they will be better then last season, but that doesn't say very much.

The Rangers are still missing two key pieces: a slapshot from the point and a veteran presence in the locker room.

Seems like a tall order to process. How can this team with limited cap space pull of two very key moves to solidify themselves?

The first part of the answer is Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Anton Babchuk, who has one of the hardest slapshots in the entire league.

Babchuk who is a defenseman, scored 16 goals last season of which nine were on the power play. He is currently a restricted free agent who is asking for $1 million more then what Carolina is willing to pay him.

In an interview with Canes Country, Babchuk told a reporter, "I've heard from my agent that seven or eight teams were interested, including the Rangers and Vancouver. I am optimistic with my future." 

If the Rangers could somehow deal Michal Rozsival to Carolina then not only does that save an upwards of $2 million but it also opens the door to another signing. Rozsival who is no slouch himself could pair very well with current Hurricanes' power play specialist Joe Corvo, thus giving both teams a great deal.

Now for that other signing, and the absence of a veteran in the locker room. The Rangers parted ways last season with Brendan Shanahan after two very successful season on Broadway; but it wasn't easy.

The two parties waited and waited and Shanahan stayed patient because he was sure that Glen Sather was going to make him an offer, but none came and he ended up joining the New Jersey Devils midway through the season.

His voice in the locker room was missed last season and the team was clearly befuddled when they were locked in high pressure situations. A few weeks ago it was rumored that Shanahan had drawn interest from the Philadelphia Flyers, but it now seems talks have fizzled out.

CSN Philadelphia reported today that "a source close to the negotiations has told CSN’s John Boruk that Shanahan has decided not to sign with the Flyers, choosing instead to join either the Devils or Rangers."

Obviously John Tortorella's style of play is not suited for Shanahan as it is up tempo and nothing compared to how he played under Tom Renney or even Brent Sutter for that matter.

But Shanahan will be signing with this team knowing he doesn't have to be the super star because he will not be counted on to bring the offense. A one-year deal of a million dollars would be a more then fair offer, and enticing one at that.

I expect that we will see more news of this in the next few days. It sure will be interesting to see what Sather has up his sleeve, because he certainly isn't done this summer.

Greg Caggiano is a writer on Bleacher Report covering the New York Rangers. He has a New York area sports teams blog called Metro-Sports, where you can read great articles about all professional sports teams that play in the area by a dedicated team of young writers.