Darius Kasparaitis

Anything But Free

Last year several of the big names went off the board before the free agent period had even began, this year it was a different story.  With bundles of cash at the ready, Rangers GM Glen Sather went full steam ahead with the win now philosophy and bought two of the biggest names available.  Is there more to come?  By the time you read this article there could well be another one or two players added to the growing all-star team that we know as the New York Rangers.

The Rangers got in early on the first day of free agency with a visit by assistant coach Terry O’Reilly paying an early morning visit to Bill Guerin.  Although nothing has come of that particular soiree as of this time, the Rangers were thought to be well and truly in the hunt for the two time 40 goal scorer.

Meanwhile across the river, another story was unfolding.  Long time nemesis, Bobby Holik was ready to put his signature on a whopping $45,000,000 contract that could make him the highest paid second (or maybe third) liner in the league.  “He is one of the league’s premier two-way centermen, combining superlative size and passion for the game with an intense desire to win and excellent leadership qualities,” was how the Rangers GM described his first acquisition.

The contract immediately drew fire from fans across the league who accused the Rangers of pushing the envelope too far in the free agency market.  “It was about the money” said a candid Bobby Holik on WFAN.  The large sum included a $10.5 million bonus which puts his yearly rate at around $6.875 million…not bad for a guy the Devils could have signed for around $5 million last August.

Not content to sit back on day two, Sather opened his wallet once again to bring in what he hopes will be the player who can make an impact on the worst defense in the league.  29 year old free agent Darius Kasparaitis was looking for an eight year deal, but ended up setting for the Rangers six year offer at $25.5 million.

Kasparaitis also completes a bizarre scenario in which each of the Rangers Atlantic Division rivals has contributed a piece to the puzzle.  Lindros from Philadelphia, Trottier off the Island, Holik from the Swamp and Kaspar from the Pens…after all if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

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