Rangers Reunion? Impending FA’s Who Could Return To Broadway
NHL Free Agency is only a month away and this summer’s market seems to be a hot one, with players like John Tavares, John Carlson, James van Riemsdyk and James Neal, among others. There are a few former Rangers out there that can be potential candidates for a reunion to New York.
John Moore, Defenseman
This may be outrageous, but it may not be such a bad idea to bring back John Moore. One of the names that went underappreciated during his time here, Moore contributed to a stellar defensive corps that led the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014. Paired with Kevin Klein, John Moore was solid in his third line pairing in his time here. Moore was shipped along with Anthony Duclair to Arizona for Keith Yandle.
Moore then signed with New Jersey and solidified himself as a stay at home, slick skating defenseman and contributed to last season’s Devils’ playoff appearance. Although he has stated he would prefer to stay in Jersey, Moore is 27 years old and would provide a stable presence in the back end for the influx of youth this team is incorporating, so if the deal is right, I’m sure he wouldn’t turn it down. Moore is an excellent skater and has vastly improved his defensive abilities, which make him a prime target for a reunion in blue.
Rick Nash, Forward
I am not against a Rick Nash reunion by any means, but personally, I wouldn’t want him to return. Although, if the Rangers are looking for some veteran presence on a discount, I would not be upset if they signed Nash to fill out a bottom six line role. Nash still has a ton of talent to keep up with today’s game, but his age and current skill set has him suited for a more defensive, 2-way role. He can still score with the best of them, but is not the forward he used to be. If the Rangers end up bringing Nash back, he will most certainly be on a team friendly deal and as a vet presence to help the youth acclimate to the NHL.
Michael Grabner, Forward
First off, I want to thank the New Jersey Devils for overpaying on Michael Grabner, it’s even better that he was a non factor for New Jersey, which all but cheapens his value on the market and opens the door even wider for a Rangers return. Before he was dealt, Grabner was the leading scorer for New York and was a top penalty killer for this team. His arrival at the beginning of the previous campaign gave the Rangers the speedy player they sorely missed after losing Carl Hagelin.
Re-signing Grabner would almost certainly help this team in the short run, adding a veteran presence as well as top end speed in a penalty killing role and the eventual goal here and there solely based off his speed.
Dominic Moore, Center
Having done two terms with New York, and the second being his most successful, possibly tossing Dominic Moore a flyer for either a PTO or a one season contract may not be the worst idea. If the Rangers are looking for someone to take faceoffs or fill out a fourth line center role, or potentially a depth role, maybe a reunion wouldn’t be the worst idea. Lets not forget this team did sign Maxim Lapierre, Adam Cracknell, Andrew Desardins and Peter Holland to contracts, so if flyers were thrown to them, I wouldn’t see the hurt in possibly inviting Moore to camp to either fight for a spot, or use his signing to light a fire under a younger player to solidify a spot.
Benoit Pouliot, Forward
I know it seems like I’m going off a trend here, but this is pure coincidence that most of the players mentioned here were all part of the 2013-14 Rangers. The same can be said for Benoit Pouliot. Benny has bounced around from Edmonton to Buffalo after his stint with New York and a reunion wouldn’t be the worst idea.
Although he is older, he still possesses NHL level skill and has familiarity with Mats Zuccarello. The line of Brassard-Pouliot-Zuccarello was arguably one of the better lines the Rangers have boasted in some time, and possibly, by bringing back Benny on a short term deal or a PTO, could potentially spark some kind of fire on the Rangers depth chart. The Rangers are looking for veteran players and are also looking to be cost effective during this time of change.
Lee Stempniak, Forward
I always maintained the thought that Lee Stempniak got a raw deal as a New York Ranger. Signed after Pouliot went to Edmonton, Stempniak was brought in to fill the depth role as a bottom six scorer, but did not live up to that, primarily due to Alain Vigneault crushing on Tanner Glass and his intangibles. Stempniak was able to fill out roles with Winnipeg, Boston, New Jersey and Carolina as a bottom six, depth scorer.
Even if it’s a PTO or a one year deal, signing Stempniak would ensure the Rangers have options and a short term deal would not get in the way of any one young forward’s development, as a player like him would be expendable, but helpful, as you can never have too much depth.
The Rangers are dead set on a change, but they’ve maintained that this rebuild or retool won’t be just throwing the young kids into the pit and seeing what happens. The team wants to surround the youth with veteran leadership and many of the players above, who are former Rangers, can help assist with this development, alongside coach David Quinn. From having already played for New York, whether it was long term or short term, their experiences will almost certainly help out the budding youth this team is boasting. If anyone can help push these kids into becoming solid NHL players, why not?