by Pete Robinson
With Avery’s and Hossa’s arbitration date coming up where does this leave the Rangers? Over the past week, the Rangers have re-signed Shanny and Hank. According to the cap, that leaves approximately 3.7 million in cap space to sign Avery and Hossa. All I can think is, ‘What is Glen up to?’
Looking at the stats, Avery is coming off a career high. Between playing both the Kings and the Rangers, Avery put up 48 points, making it his best season yet. But can he continue it? I think he can. He’s clicking very well with Shanny and with the additions of Gomez/ Drury; I think he’s going to have his best season yet. Avery has also become a fan favorite out on the Garden Ice, his gritty style of play and his ability to pester the best of them, makes him a good aspect on the team. We could see that in the playoffs, Avery having agitated his opponents into taking penalties and making mistakes. But how much is Glen willing to pay this guy?
Marcel Hossa. What can I say? He too is on a career high with 18 points, but where does he fit into the equation? There is no doubt that Hossa finally picked up his offensive game this year, but, with the top line locked up, where will Hossa go; and will he be as offensively minded without Captain Jagr and Mike Nylander (who has departed to the Caps)? Marcel made 600k for his 18 points last season and thinks he deserves more. He moves to arbitration in the beginning of August.
Another aspect is the trades. Who’s coming and who’s going? I’m sure many fans are thinking, ‘When is Marek Malik going?’ Well folks, there is no word on that, but many beat writers are hinting it. Another rumor concerns Rangers’ top prospect Al Montoya. For years GM have dumped there less desirable players by moving them with a great player and that might be the fact with the Hartford Goaltender. Another question at hand is the fate of Defensemen Darius Kasparitis. We haven’t heard about him since midway through the season, but his 3 million still hits the cap for us. Will they waive? Or will they wave ‘bye- bye’ to Darius?
To figure this out, we have to look at the line equation. Who’s making the cut? Well we know the top six will be there; Straka, Drury, Jagr, Shanny, Gomez and Avery (if signed). But how will the bottom turn out? Well Cullen will be down on the third line and Betts on the fourth. How will the rest be distributed? Well, we have Hossa, Callahan, Prucha, Orr, Hollweg, and Rangers prospects Nigel Dawes and Brandon Dubinsky on the outside looking in. One can only imagine what this year’s camp will look like. Who will make the team? I can safely say recent fan fave Callahan will make the team as well as Petr Prucha and Hossa (if signed), leaving enforcer Colton Orr, the gritty Hollweg and the youth Dawes and Dubinsky. We also have to look at the Defense as well. Rosie, Tyutin, and Girardi look like they’re here next season. As for Mara and Malik, who knows? Will Souray join the bunch? Depends on the cap and the trades that are on the horizon. Is Staal ready? By camp time we’ll know, but until then we have to wait and see