The Impact of The Latest Rangers Re-Signings
In a rather slow but calculated offseason for the New York Rangers front office, there have been a few deals struck recently for the Blueshirts. Cody McLeod, Steven Fogarty, Boo Nieves and Rob O’Gara have signed deals to remain with the Rangers organization. Here is the impact of each player coming back to MSG for the 2018-19 season.
The 33-year-old enforcer re-signed for one season with the Blueshirts. How much playing time he will get during this season is unknown, but if last season was a model for this one, he is gonna be sitting for a while every night.
Last season, Mcleod saw the ice for just under eight minutes a game. The angle of re-signing him has to be something that is under all of our noses because bringing back someone that didn’t contribute anything in the limited time he was out there doesn’t seem to be logical.
For what can be seen, McLeod is past his prime and on his way toward the end of his career. Sure he is an enforcer, and someone to throw out there to pressure and instigate, but is that really what’s necessary for this team? There are plenty of other options that were available to replace McLeod, but nevertheless, shoulda coulda woulda won’t work here.
By the way, a possible replacement for McLeod, Miles Wood from New Jersey would have been a decent acquisition. CF% of 49.9 and noticeably getting better from his first two full NHL seasons. He can play the left side on the fourth line and even notched a hat trick last season. Wood can also be a physical player as well; but again, shoulda, coulda, woulda won’t work anymore now that McLeod has signed on the dotted line.
Perhaps the most unknown at the NHL level, we have not seen nearly enough to decide what he can be. Fogarty, a former Notre Dame product, only appeared in one game for the Blueshirts last season and saw 12:16 of action on the fourth line. The imagination has to wonder what he would do game-in and game-out with those minutes.
At the AHL level with Hartford, Fogarty has been less than stellar, and often times dismal. At -28, Fogarty wasn’t a viable option to help keep the score level while he was on the ice.
Whether Fogarty can become a great player or bust remains to be seen. With this franchise in rebuild mode, it makes sense to at least give him a shot. Come opening night, he could be a part of the Rangers roster, but for all intents and purposes, until he can show consistency, he will be in Hartford.
There are many within Rangerstown that believe in Boo. He is probably the one player in this article that fans are happy to see gain another chance to prove his worth.
Nieves played considerably well for the Blueshirts in 2017-18. In 28 games, he scored one goal and helped on eight others. One of the most impressive stats he holds is his PDO, which is his shooting percentage and the goalies save percentage combined. Nieves sits with a staggering PDO of 106.1. He can play a 200-foot game and shows a lot of promise of being called up and staying up.
His use will mainly be for emergency or dire situations. Re-signing McLeod eliminates one spot on the fourth line leaving the center and other wing spot open. Nieves can fill in down the middle, but with the possibility of Hayes and/or Spooner coming back, and the team’s re-signing of C/W Vlad Namestnikov, it doesn’t seem likely.
Still, he has the tools to surprise a lot of people. The Rangers are keeping him around for a reason, what that reason is, is to be decided during the season.
Adding some veteran leadership to a young blue-line, Rob O’Gara returns for one more season in New York.
A few months ago, I took a stab at who will be in the defensive core for the Rangers and (spoiler alert) I didn’t have O’Gara returning. I thought his short stint with the Rangers wouldn’t be enough to merit a return, but I was obviously wrong.
To place him now, I would have him sit on the left side of Anthony DeAngelo, instead of either Skjei or Gilmour. O’Gara is a defensive d-man, and alongside an offensive minded DeAngelo, the pairing could work.
He has only appeared in 33 games in his career, so nobody knows how he will be once given a full season. He signed a one-year deal worth $874,125.