Thursday, July 7, 2011

Rangers Ranked As 2nd Most Improved Team During Free Agency

In reviewing the early returns of free agency, Dan Rosen at ranked the New York Rangers #2 in term of teams that made themselves better with their moves over the past week.  The Rangers only trail the Washington Capitals who got the bargain of the summer in getting goalie Tomas Vokoun for $1.5 million next year.

Rosen obviously highlighted the acquisition of Brad Richards as the key move for the Rangers as it gives them the top line center they needed, but he also felt the move for Mike Rupp was critical for the Rangers.
Richards brings credibility to the position that the Rangers needed it most. Yes, they had to give out a hefty contract and they will be paying some huge bucks, especially in the first six years when Richards is reportedly in line to make $57 million of the $60 million contract, but he's a 31-year-old former Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe winner who already knows the coach and his system.

Don't overlook Mike Rupp jumping on board for three years at a total of $4.5 million. Rupp is a physical player who fights and can score the odd goal. He's won the Stanley Cup and he's one of the most likable guys in the dressing room.
Over the past few years the Rangers have incorporated more and more young talent from the system to fill holes and become core members of the future of the team.  Now that they feel they are close to contending the Rangers did what you are supposed to do which is surround those players with guys who have been through the battles before and know what it takes to get to the finish line.  Richards brings skill and Rupp brings toughness to the Rangers, but both bring experience in playoff conditions and Stanley Cup championships on their resume.  To go beyond those things both are viewed as good in the locker room which should only build on the chemistry the Rangers’ had as a unit last season.

Worry about the money and the length of the deals later and believe Rosen now when he says the Rangers were one of the most improved teams in the opening days of free agency.