Derek Boogaard

The Boogeyman

Three profiles down, and around forty to go before we finish our Ranger Countdown series a few days before the regular season kicks off for New York on October 9th.

Yesterday we covered the prospects for new backup goaltender Martin Biron in the coming season. Today we cover another free agent signing – Derek Boogaard a.k.a. The Boogeyman.

Player Profile
Last summer turned into somewhat of a fiasco when Glen Sather inked 38 year old Donald Brashear to a two year contract to serve as the replacement for the departing Colton Orr. It wasn’t enough apparently that Brashear had brought a premature end to the Ranger career of Blair Betts with a cheapshot in the postseason series loss to the Capitals, the latest in a series of illegal actions by a player who has never been well liked by Blueshirt fans.

Nor was it apparently considered that Brashear was well past his prime – despite what coach John Tortorella may have thought to the contrary. The Rangers faithful didn’t hold back their displeasure and the boos rained down on the aging enforcer from day one.

Twelve months later and the Rangers have disposed of their mistake – as well as that of Patrick Rissmiller the year before – and have instead laid out another oversized contract to an enforcer who once again has questions surrounding him.

In this case, it’s not age – Boogaard is only 28 – but health that is the primary concern. The 6-7 258 pound winger managed just 57 games last year with the Minnesota Wild, which was actually his best showing since he played 65 in his rookie season.

Injuries (nose, hamstring, concussion, undisclosed), illness (flu, undisclosed) suspension (2 games for a knee on knee hit)…and even a healthy scratch a couple of times, kept him out of the line-out last year.

He also managed to rack up a pretty healthy -12 plus/minus despite averaging just 6:09 of ice time a game last season – which was actually a career high for him.

Still, Boogaard is with the Rangers do one thing only, and that’s to make sure that the Rangers can hang with anyone, particularly a team like the Flyers. The towering wing is the most respected fighter in the league according to some recent surveys, a distinct difference from last year’s option.

As for anything else he might bring…well let’s just say you should set your expectations low. In 255 games, Boogaard has just two goals and twelve assists…he actually hasn’t scored since his rookie season in 2005-06. In fact he only manages to average one shot on goal in every three and a half games or so.

For the coming season expect him to once again miss a good portion for both injury and non-injury related reasons, perhaps too because Tortorella elects not to use him in every game, especially if he deems Sean Avery and Brandon Prust to be sufficient against certain opposition.

2009-10 Statistics
Team: Minnesota Wild (NHL)
Stats: 0 goals, 4 assists and 105 penalty minutes in 57 games

Team: New York Rangers
Stats: 1 goal, 2 assists and 160 penalty minutes in 45 games

Fun Fact
Has never played more than 66 games, nor scored more than 2 goals at any level since the age of 16.

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