New York Rangers General Manager Glen Sather once again took a step back into the Rangers past to try and fix the future with the announcement that free agent left wings, and former Blueshirts Jan Hlavac and Martin Rucinsky had both agreed to terms with the team. Terms of both contracts were not disclosed, but given their recent history and next year’s CBA negotiations looming, it would seem likely that they will be on one year contracts.
The 26 year old Hlavac had expressed interest in returning to New York after he was not qualified by the Carolina Hurricanes, his team from the 2002-03 season. Since leaving the Rangers in the Lindros trade in August of 2001, Hlavac has played for the Flyers, Canucks and Hurricanes and has been unable to replicate the success that he enjoyed while playing with the Czechmates line that included Petr Nedved and Radek Dvorak.
Perhaps ironically, Martin Rucinsky was brought in during the 2001-02 season as a replacement for Hlavac to try and ignite the play of Petr Nedved and Radek Dvorak, both of whom struggled in the season following the trade that sent their linemate away. Two games into the experiment, Dvorak suffered a season ending leg injury and Rucinsky languished before being united with Eric Lindros and Pavel Bure in a line that had some success down the stretch. Rucinsky later left as a free agent after being able to reach a deal with New York, finally signing with St Louis after the season started.
Jan Hlavac, Left Wing
Career Record: 73G 90A 163Pts 82PIM in 284 NHL games
2002-03 Stats: 10G 16A 26Pts 28PIM in 61 NHL games
Martin Rucinsky, Left Wing
Career Record: 194G 269A 463Pts 605PIM in 735 NHL games
2002-03 Stats: 16G 14A 30Pts 38PIM in 61 NHL games