Rangers Rumors & News
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The Jaromir Jagr era is over for the New York Rangers. He led the team to three straight playoff appearances in his three full seasons here, after the Rangers hadn’t been in the playoffs since the Mesozoic era. This year’s team will have a different look than the previous few seasons, where the Czechs ruled (how do you say Los Rangers in Czech?). If anything, they’ll be younger, with only four players over 30, and Markus Naslund the oldest at 35 (unless Brendan Shanahan comes back). With training camp starting tomorrow, here’s a look at the key free agent/trade acquisitions and departures for this season’s version of the Blueshirts.

Additions

Nikolei Zherdev: The 23-year-old Russian will take over Jagr’s spot on the right side of the first line. Acquired in a trade with Columbus (with Dan Fritsche for Fedor Tyutin and Christian Backman), the fourth overall pick in the 2003 draft scored 26 goals with 35 assists for 61 points last season. He’s a sniper and would probably fit well with Scott Gomez. He arrives with question marks about his effort, and his career plus/minus is -52, so that may say something about his ability to get back on defense.

Markus Naslund: The former Vancouver Canucks captain signed a two-year $8 million contract with the Rangers on July 1st. He’ll be skating on one of the top two lines, with either Chris Drury or Gomez, and will certainly provide veteran leadership. The 35-year-old Swede has 371 lifetime goals in his 15-year career, along with 118 power-play tallies.

Wade Redden: Signed as a free agent, Redden had spent his whole 11-year career with Ottawa. He’ll be the power-play presence on the blue line that the Rangers have been missing (51 career PP goals, and 139 assists). His last season totals were six goals, 32 assists and 38 points, with a +11.

Dmitri Kalinin: Coming over from Buffalo as a free agent, the 6’3” 206-pound defenseman should be a nice addition to the back line. He’s 28. He’s Russian. Will he be better than Marek Malik? Da.

Aaron Voros: The 6’4” bruiser will be taking Ryan Hollweg’s spot as one of the brawlers on the team. He only scored seven goals with seven assists, but racked up 141 penalty minutes last season with Minnesota.

Patrick Rissmiller: Played in San Jose last year (eight goals, nine assists, 17 points), the four-year Massachusetts native will be fighting for a spot as one of the left wingers.

Dan Fritsche: Also coming over in the trade with Columbus, the 23-year-old Ohian scored 10 goals with 12 assists last year. With the Rangers already four deep at center, he may be seeing some time on the wing, unless he supplants Blair Betts in the middle.

In Purgatory 

Brendan Shanahan: No word yet on if the 39-year-old legend will be coming back, even though he’s been skating with the team. He says he only wants to play for the Rangers and money is no object. He was down to 23 goals last year, but that’s 23 goals the Rangers might need this season with all the young, unproven talent they have on offense.

Subtractions

Jaromir Jagr: The future Hall-of-Fame right-winger broke the franchise single-season goals scored and points records in the 2005-06 season. He spent three full seasons with the Rangers, and the team went to the playoffs all three years. But the furthest they could go was the second round. Letting him walk off to Russia was the right move. It was time for the team to make a change.

Martin Straka: Jagr’s Czech buddy is heading back home to Europe to play. In his three seasons in New York, he tallied 65 goals, 122 assists and 187 points.

Sean Avery: Love him, hate him, despise him, whichever―he’s fun to watch. But he’s now in Dallas and Martin Brodeur couldn’t be happier.

Fedor Tyutin: Sent packing to Columbus, the 25-year-old had some good seasons for the Rangers, but you have to give up something to get something.

Marek Malik: Scored one of the greatest shootout goals ever, and had a few stretches of solid play, but he became the Garden whipping boy. It’s time to say goodbye, Marek.

Christian Backman: Only played 18 games for the Rangers and always seemed to be heading to the penalty box after committing a stupid penalty. He was shipped off to Columbus.

Ryan Hollweg: Yes, an actual hockey player who was born in California. Hollweg was fun to root for (who doesn’t like watching a good fight?), but consistently committed a penalty at the wrong time in the wrong game. He was traded to Toronto for a 2009 fifth-round draft pick.

Jason Strudwick: Signed as a free agent with Edmonton. Was useful as a sixth or seventh defenseman, and could fill in on the wing if needed.

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