Brendan Shanahan: The Rangers Need to Sign Him

Ryan McFaddenCorrespondent IDecember 29, 2008

The Rangers are struggling to find leadership in their locker room.

Their power play continues to fail them in key situations and they're struggling to put pucks in the back of the net. Glen Sather needs to do what he should have done before training camp opened this season. He needs to sign Brendan Shanahan.

Shanahan continues to skate as he hopes to find a home in the near future. His desire to play one last season with the Rangers, or at the very least to play somewhere on the East Coast, is well known.

The Rangers missed out on Mats Sundin because they couldn't free up enough cap space. The beauty about signing Shanahan is that he wouldn't require a major cap clearing move at this point in the season. He could provide a jolt to a team that is in the midst of a tailspin.

Shanahan is one of the true leaders in hockey. He's an old school hockey player, and he wouldn't be afraid to let loose in the locker room after a debacle like the game against Ovechkin and the Capitals last week. He wouldn't have had a problem calling players out in between periods in that heartless performance against the Devils on Saturday.

Chris Drury and Scott Gomez are respected players, but they are not the kind of leader this team needs. Drury's personality is too mild mannered and along with Tom Renney, this team has no sense of urgency. Shanahan could fix that.

Brandon Dubinsky has struggled for most of the season. He couldn't escape the sophomore slump that seems to grab most players. Last season he centered a hall of famer in Jaromir Jagr. This year he's centering the likes of Aaron Voros, Lauri Korpikoski, and Freddy Sjostrom.

No offense to these players, but they're no Jagr. Dubinsky could use Shanahan on his line. He needs some veteran guidance and a proven goal scorer on his wing.

There are doubts that Shanahan still has any good hockey in him. The skeptics point to his poor performance in the playoffs last year as evidence that he wouldn't be able to help an NHL team. People forget that towards the end of last year, Shanahan collided with Dion Phaneuf and was badly hurt. He played through the injury but his performance suffered. This was the cause of his drop off, not his age.

There's still plenty of hockey left in those legs.