New York Rangers Should Get Tougher and Sign Todd Bertuzzi
Among the Rangers many offseason plans of transformation, one they have successfully accomplished thus far is getting tougher. They added Donald Brashear on July 1, one of the most feared fighters in the entire league, and someone who doesn't take any nonsense.
Brashear, combined with super pest Sean Avery instill a little bit more fear into opponents then Ranger teams of year's past. But how tough are the Rangers?
With the exception of those two players, the Rangers only have one more forward who drops the gloves regularly, and that is Brandon Dubinsky, a player that they cannot afford to have sitting in the penalty box.
The Rangers got tougher, and they also added more scoring by bringing in Marian Gaborik and Ales Kotalik, but they are still missing pieces. The No. 1 center slot for starters is something that Glen Sather has been, and will continue to be working on.
But what about that offensive player that brings both size and toughness along with a scoring touch? That piece has eluded the Rangers for many seasons, but is not out of reach right this second.
Currently sitting on the free agent market without a contract is Todd Bertuzzi, a player who has been full of fan hatred since his incident with Steve Moore in 2004, but can still play the game.
Last season with Calgary, Bertuzzi recorded 15 goals and 29 assists for 44 points, an amount that would have placed him fifth on the Rangers in scoring. His contract last season was $1.95 million and he will most likely be getting a cut in salary this season.
The Rangers need to bring in affordable toughness and can do so by signing Bertuzzi. The Blueshirts' $7.5 million offseason signing Marian Gaborik will be needing some protection and many argue that Brashear was brought in for that same reason, but Brashear will never be skating on the top line with him so the effect is different.
Sean Avery who checks and fights could be that piece on the top line but his small size would make me lean towards the 6'3'', 245 pound Bertuzzi.
A top line of Bertuzzi, Dubinsky, and Gaborik would not be out of the question if they were to sign him and he would have the same role as he did back in his heyday with Vancouver, which was protecting Markus Naslund and Brendan Morrison and netting the garbage left behind, something he made the most of.
In 869 career games, Bertuzzi has 255 goals and 369 assists for 624 points, and has recorded three 25 goal seasons, a 36 goal season, and finally his best, which was 46 goals in 2002-03.
The role he will have is so startlingly similar that he could thrive at it, and for a one year, $1.5 million contract, what do the Rangers have to lose?
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.
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