Rangers Buy Out Holik
The much speculated buy-out of the remainder of Bobby Holik’s contract is now official. The New York Rangers announced today that they have elected to pay approximately 8.9 million dollars to buy out the remainder of his contract, which had him scheduled to make 6.726 million for each of the next two seasons. The move means the Rangers now have just 11 million dollars committed to contracts for five players, excluding those on two-way deals.
After signing a five year 45 million dollar deal in July of 2002, Holik reportedly came to camp out of shape and sustained a hip flexor injury early in his first season that limited his effectiveness. Under utilized as the premier two way centerman he was billed as, Holik gradually made it known that he was dissatisfied with his role and certain aspects of the Rangers organization. Always willing to share his opinion, the Czech born forward’s comments were not always welcomed by the team’s front office.
The leading scorer for the Rangers in the 2003-04 season, he was the only Blueshirt to dress for the entire schedule and finished his career with the team with an Overtime winner in Washington to conclude the season. Holik is expected to be a highly sought after free agent this summer as teams look to cash in on the Rangers decision to buy out his contract.
Rangers Sign Jessiman
The Rangers announced today that they have signed their 2003 1st round pick (11th over all) Hugh Jessiman to a three year entry level contract. Largely unknown before his rookie year with Dartmouth in the NCAA, Jessiman impressed with 23 goal 47 point effort which along with his size and talent was enough to help him earn a first round draft selection. Jessiman had a moderately disappointing year in 2003-04 which saw his number drop to 16 goals and 33 points and was largely ineffective in 2004-05 after tearing an ankle ligament four games into the season.
A Ranger fan from his youth, Jessiman has shown great dedication off the ice, working out at the Rangers facilities the past two summers prior to his signing. The 21 year old New York native has added approximately twenty pounds of muscle since being drafted and at 6-5 cuts an impressive figure. It is expected that Jessiman will begin the year in Hartford though a strong camp might earn him one of the spots expected to be open to rookies.
Swedish Netminder Henrik Lundqvist Joins Rangers
Having impressed in the Swedish Elite League (SEL) and on the world stage with Sweden at the World Championships, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will take the next step and try to establish himself as an NHL goaltender with the New York Rangers. The Rangers today announced they have officially signed the 23 year old Swede to an entry level contract and will likely send him to the Hartford Wolf Pack this season to learn how to play on the smaller NHL sized rink and compete with fellow rookie netminder Al Montoya.
Last season Lundqvist, appeared in 44 games with Frolunda Indians of the Swedish Elite League amd registered a 1.79 GAA and a .936 save percentage. He ranked first amongst goaltenders in several categories, including: wins (33), GAA (1.79), Save % (.936) and shutouts (6) . He also set records for GAA and shutouts in the post season and allowed just one win in the final series as Frolunda captured the SEL title.