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This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 1st, 2008 at 7:40 pm and is filed under Devils Rumors & News, Hockey, Rangers Rumors & News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

The Hudson River rivals agreed to a pair of four-year, $20 million deals today with defenseman Michal Rozsival returning to the Rangers and Brian Rolston returning to the team with which he began his career.

In the duel of duplicate deals, the Devils come out on top here, adding a player who has scored 30+ goals in each of the last three seasons to their anemic offensive, not to mention a player who they already know will thrive in their system.

Meanwhile, Michal Rozsival hits pay dirt with the Blueshirts.  Here’s what I had to say on the prospect of Rozsival returning back in early May:

One has to imagine that Rozsival will be seeking a sizable raise over the $2.3 M he earned this past season, especially given the fact that [Christian] Backman is pulling in $3.4 next year. Putting aside my personal feelings on Rozsie, the defenseman played first-pair minutes all season-long and appeared in at least 80 games for the Blueshirts for the third consecutive year. He’s scored roughly 40 points in back-to-back seasons, and while his goal-production slowed considerably in the season’s second-half, his 13 tallies was still good enough for 12th overall amongst NHL defenseman and puts him in the company of some of the league’s premier offensive-dmen.

If Mathieu Schneider can earn $5.750 million from Anaheim, why should Rozsival sign for anything less than $4 million?

As it turns out, Michal will be pulling in $5 million per, putting him at a pay-scale commensurate with some of the league’s elite defenseman.  Back in May I presumed that such a hefty raise would price him out of Glen Sather‘s plans.  Unfortunately, as it turns out, it’s the Garden that will be signing those fat checks.

Needless to say, this move doesn’t please me.  The fact that Rozsival is now being paid like a No. 1 or 2 defenseman reduces the chance that the Rangers will go out and acquire a legitimate first pair d-man, whether via trade or free agency.  Moreover, in my mind, Rozsival is not a top-pair defenseman, and in fact, following the Blueshirts’ season-ending postseason loss to the Penguins, I cited Rozsival as one of the more overmatched players on the ice.  In Rozsival’s defense, he clearly played the Pittsburgh series though injury and underwent hip surgery in the offseason.  To me, however, injury doesn’t excuse timid and undisciplined play.

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