Let's face it. Every Ranger fan in their right mind knew that today would not be like 2007 or 2009, when Glen Sather signed up every top free agent on the market.
We did hope, however, that it would not be like 2008, when he re-signed Michael Roszival and inked Wade Redden to arguably the worst contract in the game today.
For the most part, Sather stuck to the plan of focusing on bringing back players who made a difference last season, while not doing anything too crazy in a very shallow market.
Just minutes after 12 p.m., word leaked that they had signed backup goalie Martin Biron for two years for $1.75 million. A great signing, filling in the main void on the team. You cannot have Henrik Lundqvist start 70-plus games a season and still expect him to be sharp come April and beyond. I personally would have liked to see Johan Hedberg, a career Ranger killer, get signed, but it wouldn't have been at that price.
Soon after, Erik Christensen came to his senses and accepted a Ranger offer of $1.95 million over two years. Rangers brass expects him to improve next season, and he will most likely play alongside Marian Gaborik on the top line. He score eight goals and finished with 26 points last season with the Rangers after being claimed off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks in December.
I'm all for bringing Christensen back. I hope that he can find his game on a more regular level, as he was too inconsistent last season. But for the money, he's a solid signing.
When news broke that Jody Shelley, who quickly became one of the more popular Rangers both to players and fans after being traded here in February from San Jose, signed a deal with rival Philadelphia, I felt Sather dropped the ball.
I felt like he popped the ball entirely when he signed Minnesota Wild enforcer Derrek Boogaard to a four-year, $6.6 million contract. Sure he's 6'8" and will drop the gloves with anyone in the league, but four years? If this was a two-year deal worth $2.5 million, I'd be all for it. This just smells like Aaron Voros all over again.
Boogaard is only 26 though, a positive versus Shelley, who at 34, would be nearing the over-35 rule, where even if he was to be bought out, he'd still count against the cap. Boogaard can be sent to the minors or bought out in a few seasons if the Rangers are not happy with his performance. This could happen, as he has not scored a goal since the 2006-07 season.
The final move of the day is one that I'm on the fence about.
Vinny Prospal will be back next season after signing a one-year, $1 million deal (plus incentives) to return to the Rangers. I love his intensity and desire, but he is coming off knee surgery. Plus, at 35 years old, he could be a risk.
He did, however, play very well with Gaborik last season, and finished second on the team in scoring. And, it is just one year deal. He could even be traded at the deadline if the Rangers aren't a playoff team.
As you can see, it was definitely a roller coaster ride on the first day of free agency. Expect a lot more moves to be made over the next week or so.
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