Rangers Rumors & News
This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 18th, 2009 at 4:49 pm and is filed under 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.

90953146BB011_NY_PHOENIX_COThe usual state of affairs when the Rangers sign a free agent goes something like this: Free agent is past his prime with his best days well behind him, he signs an outrageously sized contract and then plays like crap while laughing all the way to the bank (see Redden, Wade or Fleury, Theo). But the Blueshirts have hit the jackpot this year, with Marian Gaborik, Vinny Prospal and Ales Kotalik (well, three out of four ain’t bad – Donald Brashear and the word “jackpot” don’t go together – except to his agent). Unfortunately, it’s the rest of the roster that’s dragging the team down.

Gaborik, Prospal and Kotalik have scored a combined 26 goals. The Rangers have a total of 62, which means those three free-agent pickups have contributed 42% of the team’s scoring. Prospal’s the bargain of the century, with his one-million-dollar contract (I’m so old I remember when a million dollars was a lot of money). Kotalik gives the Rangers the point man on the power play they’ve been missing the last few years. And Gaborik is having his best season, which says a lot. We surely haven’t been able to say that very often: A New York Ranger free-agent acquisition is having his best season ever.

So where the heck has everybody else gone? Let’s run through the rogues’ gallery of underperformers. Christopher Higgins: 2 goals; Chris Drury: 2 goals; Sean Avery: 2 goals; Ryan Callahan: 3 goals; Brandon Dubinsky: 3 goals; Enver Lisin: 3 goals. That’s 15 goals by six of your top nine forwards, and a pace of 8 or 12 goals for the season for all of them. Artem Anisimov has probably played better than all those guys. Callahan hits everybody in sight, but he’s got to start scoring more than he is. And the rest of those guys aren’t doing much of anything to go along with not scoring.

The power play, which helped carry the team during their 7-1 start, is now in a slump. Nobody besides Gaborik, Prospal, Kotalik and Michael Del Zotto are producing any offense. And combine those scoring woes with a mistake-filled defense, and the result is a not-too-surprising 4-8-1 record in their last 13 games.

The Rangers’ big off-season purchases are carrying the team. But they’re only carrying them to mediocrity because nobody else wants to come along for the ride.

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