For better or worse, Derek Boogaard is a New York Ranger and Jody Shelley is not. General Manager Glen Sather signed the 6-foot-8 Boogaard, 28, to a four-year deal today worth $1.65 million per season after Shelley, 34, accepted a three-year, $3.3 million deal with Philadelphia.
Boogaard, formerly of the Minnesota Wild, is widely regarded as one of the better fighters in the NHL, but his dance card was little more than half as full last season (9) as it was when he broke into the league in 2005-06 (16). Shelley has dropped the gloves at least 13 times in each of his eight full years in the show. He also potted a pair of goals in 21 games with New York at the end of last season. Boogaard hasn't lit the lamp since his rookie campaign.
explained that he wasn't willing to give Shelley the three-year deal that he desired because of Shelley's age. He also cited his displeasure with the treatment of his goaltender as another reason for the Boogaard acquisition.
"There was just too many times last year when I saw guys scraping snow in Henrik's face around the front of the net and I didn't like it," said Sather during today's conference call with the media. "I don't think we're going to see that happen any longer here."
You may not see Brandon Prust any longer here either. Boogaard landed an elbow to Prust's dome towards the end of the 2008-09 season when Prust was playing for Calgary and had just returned from injury. The hit earned Boogaard a five-game suspension. Prust missed 57 games in all that year. It will be interesting to see if he wants to share a dressing room with Boogaard.
Hopefully, we won't have to see Lundqvist play 73 games any longer here either as the Rangers also signed goaltender Martin Biron to a two-year deal this afternoon. Biron was about as good a backup as there was in the NHL while with Buffalo. He proved pretty decent as a starter as well, helping Philadelphia to the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals. However, the 32-year-old netminder posted his worst numbers since his rookie season in 2009-10 with the Islanders, driving his value down and allowing the Rangers to nab him for less than $900,000 per season. That seems like quite a bargain for a guy who was earning $3.5 million a year on Broad Street.
As far as the youth movement is concerned, Sather did make some progress today with the signing of 2008 draft pick Derek Stepan. The former University of Wisconsin forward captained Team USA to a gold medal at the 2010 World Junior Championships, tallying two points-per-game to lead all skaters. Stepan, 20, leaves the University of Wisconsin after two seasons.