Very short article because I'm up way too early for this. Finally, after a whole day and night's worth of speculation, the deal agreed upon by the Rangers and Flames Sunday night has been finalized. The Rangers ship the unwanted Ales Kotalik and the underachieving Chris Higgins to Calgary in exchange for Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust.
Although Jokinen has struggled in the past two seasons, he was a four time 30 goal scorer with the Florida Panthers and has recorded 20 or more goals in six straight seasons. He is as close as a first line center that the Rangers have had since Michael Nylander left, and hopefully he will mesh well with Marian Gaborik. The Rangers also get a young scrapper, Brandon Prust, who is said to be fearless, although he is short in stature. Perhaps getting him is just as important as Jokinen.
Whether the deal turns out to be a bust or not, the Rangers win this hands-down. Chris Higgins, a 20 goal scorer only has 6 on the season and has struggled every step of the way, while Kotalik has been benched in eight out of the last nine games. The two just did not work out. Jokinen has the potential to be a top-flight player, although I must admit, I am not expecting much. He is on the final year of a contract, making $5.25 million, and when the summer arrives, the Rangers will have some cap room. I don't think he will be enough to push the Rangers into the playoffs, but who knows, with some more Sather magic, anything is possible.
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