Igor Ulanov

Moves I`d Make

Extreme Views by RangerExtreme

I thought I’d take a break from the Sather bashing this week and give you some insight on who I think would have been good acquisitions for the Rangers to have made this offseason. I’ll start off by praising Glen Sather on actually inking a deal with a low budget UFA who I had rated very high on my checklist, defenseman Igor Ulanov. I think Sather’s acquisition of Igor Ulanov was a solid example of good talent evaluation while being fiscally responsible at the same time.

I think it will take time before Ranger fans will appreciate Ulanov’s play but I project him to have a very solid season this year as a Blueshirt. Ulanov, who is 6’3 211 and not a brawler by any means brings to the table 10 yrs experience and a attitude in front of the net that the Rangers will need desperately this season.

Sather signed the 32 yr old Rushkie to a 3 year 6 million dollar deal. At 2 million a year he’s a solid 3 or 4 guy on the backline who isn’t totally inept on the offensive side either. He had 20 assists in 67 games with Edmonton and also ended up tied for the team lead in Plus/Minus with Eric Brewer at +15.

Here are several other quality free agents in order that were signed by other teams that came at reasonable prices. No stars here but solid 3rd or 4th Line guys that the Rangers or for that fact many teams could have used.

Rob Zamuner – This former Ranger prospect has emerged into one of the elite defensive forwards in the league. Zamuner who is 32 years old 6’2 and 206lbs and plays LW would have been a tremendous asset to the Rangers on even strength defense play and primarily on the Penalty Kill where the Rangers were horrid last season 29th out of 30. Zamuner however was signed by the Bruins to a 3 year 6 million dollar deal. Zamuner also chipped in 19 goals on the left side for the Senators last year, which is very decent output for the left side.

Jason York – Although Jason’s play slipped a tad last year. This is a defenseman who really could have helped the Rangers keep the pucks from being deposited on their net this upcoming season. York is not a physical punisher in front of the net but relies more on position and guile to play his role as a defense first defenseman. Ottawa who is struggling with small market financial woes couldn’t hold onto York. This resulted in the 31 yr. old being eventually signed this offseason by Anahiem. York received a 3 year 7.5 Million dollar deal.

Stu Grimson – If your going to do things right do it in grand style. Instead of acquiring freakish Giants like Kyle Freadrich or Steve Mckenna who basically can’t fight their way out of a paper bag, Why didn’t Slacks get the 6’5 240lb Grim Reaper. Like a fine wine Stu gets better with age by continuing to pummel and intimidate opponents. Although the 3-yr. deal he got from Nashville is a bit much for a guy who is 36 years old, at about 700,000 a year he would have been well worth it. You need an enforcer? Why not get one of the best in the Biz in Grimson who had 235 minutes last year instead of farting around with prelims like McKenna and Freadrich. Grimson and McCarthy would have been a scary combo.

Donald Audette – After the Rangers scrambled to sign Brett Hull following the Lindros deal why didn’t Sather use the forethought he claimed to have before getting Erica and signed the 32 yr. old Audette instead of making a last second gasp after the fact for a 37 yr. old Hull? Getting Audette would have made up for the lack of goal scoring on the wing the Rangers gave up when they eventually traded Hlavac to Philly and he would have come at a bargain basement rate. Audette was signed by Dallas to a 4 yr. 12 million pact and will likely fill Hull’s spot on RW. Hull had 39 goals last year and Audette had 34 with both Buffalo and Atlanta.

Steve Staios – The last two years in Atlanta Staios has made a serious upgrade in the quality of his game. Now that he has settled into the defenseman position after being a swingman for most of his NHL career, Staios has developed into a nice player to fill the 5-6 defenseman slot. At 6’1 200 he uses the body and is a solid D-man and getting better. He recorded 137 PIMs in 70 games last year so he likes to mix it up occasionally which is always a bonus. Edmonton signed the 28-yr.old defenseman at a very cost effective 3yr 2.85 Million dollar deal.

Again these are not guys that get people talking on local sports radio or sell tickets but are players you need on every team.  They bring their assets to the table, game in and game out. Plus they come at a very fiscally responsible price which is always a key. Evaluating and obtaining role-players such as this is almost as important as obtaining your high priced UFA’s. Especially on a team like the Rangers that need to bring a much more intense effort every night and establish some kind of home advantage.

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