Jaromir Jagr

The New Squad

by Pete Robinson

Out with the old and in with the new. Thus ends the Jagr Era of the New York Rangers. Even though it was short, Captain Jagr will definitely be missed by all. Whether you loved him or hated him, Jaromir Jagr was a main contributor to the rebuilding of the Rangers, as well as the reason our blueshirts have made the playoffs three years straight since the lockout. But his time has come, and I wish him the best at Avangard Omsk, but its time for the Gomez-Drury era to begin.

Looking at the free agency pick ups and trades, I’m quite excited to see what GM Glen Sather has set up for us. First, I have to note, that I was not pleased with the letting go of Sean Avery, but’ his price was a littttttllleee too steep for us. Besides, we just signed the Swedish Avery in Andreas Jamtin. Jamtin, 25, isn’t called the Swedish Avery for nothing. He is one of the most aggressive and energetic players in the Swedish Elite League. When drafted in 2001, Jim Nill of the Detroit Red Wings would comment that Jamtin is ‘a pest on the ice.’ Even with his pestering (660 PIM), Jamtin has proved he has some hands too, scoring 98 points in 239 games. If he tries out this year, I believe the Rangers might find a spot for him. If he can essentially replace Avery, he could find himself on the 3rd line. Worse case scenario the 4th line, replace the Ryan ‘where’s the net’ Hollweg.

Wade Redden is another pickup we can definitely get excited about. For two years now, Ranger fans have been praying for a great defensemen and Redden definitely is one. Coming from Ottawa, Redden had 38 points in 80 games with the Sens, but I think he will fair much better with the Rangers. If properly paired, Redden will command the blueline and quarterback our PP. It will also be good to see our defensemen hit for once, which Redden isn’t afraid of doing. My prediction is that he will have a personal scoring high if he remains healthy this year.

Markus Naslund. What can I say? Glen is taking another risk. Like Jagr, we picked up Naslund at an all time scoring low with 59 points last season. But, will the ex-Vancouver captain regain his glory? Playing with the likes of Gomez or Drury, we might see the reemergence of who scored 104 pts in ‘02-’03. My prediction is that the ex-Canuck will regain some points, probably around 70-80.

Let’s look at the trades. Tyutin and Backman for Zherdev and Fritsche. Not a bad trade. Tyutin, a fan favorite and one of the last pre-lockout Rangers, looked to be struggling last season. Glen essentially using Tyutin as bait to lose Backman’s big millions got a speedy but moody winger and a 4th line center. Zherdev has the talent and skills to be a top 6 winger. Playing with Gomez, Zherdev might score some big numbers this year. He might be the kid to watch.

Voros and Rissmiller, two pick ups I didn’t quite understand and won’t understand until camp. Both are definitely 4th liners and will bring a little more western style of physical play to the table. I see one of these two making the squad on the fourth line and the other sitting in Hartford or as a healthy scratch.

So where does that leave us? Cally and Dawes will definitely make the squad as will our enforcer Colton Orr. But how about Prucha? Surprisingly he hasn’t been traded away, but Glen must have some hope for him. For Prucha its bulk up or get lost. After watching him get smashed around last season, it might be happy trails for the 30 goal rookie from two years ago.

Training camp is steadily approaching, but we still have a long summer to enjoy. Here’s to the new squad and a new hope for the silver cup.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x