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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Brad Richards, Requiem for a Righty Reargaurd, & Roster Report

   Broadway has set the stage for where they wish to contend the next few seasons: right in the middle of it, downright soon. With the signing of free agent superstar centerman Brad Richards (a contract which will keep him in New York until the age of 40 with a hefty $6.667 million annuity), Glen Sather is concerned with being serious cup contenders well before Brad even reaches 35. The distant cost of having an aged center locked up for such a long stretch of time can only be remedied with the instant positive of becoming stronger down the middle with the stroke of a pen.
   Aside from re-signing forwards Ruslan Fedotenko, Mike Rupp, Dale Weise, & Chad Kolarik; there hasn't been much ink exhausted since the July 1st window opened. The team, including restricted free agents Artem Anisimov, Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Brian Boyle, & Michael Sauer, appears one without much gaping holes remaining between now and October. What are the weak depth-spots? Let's take a look:

      For the sake of argument, let us assume the current RFAs receive a total of $12.75 million to remain contracted with New York for an additional campaign. Yesterday the restricted free agents all filed for salary arbitration (save Artem Anisimov as he does not have arbitration rights yet.) This means NYR can dish out 1-year contracts to a 3rd party's liking, settle on a contract without an arbiter, or simply let the free agent walk if no beneficial settlement can be reached.With some colorful assumptions, here's my guess at how the Rangers depth chart will roughly look:

   Dan Girardi & Michael Sauer remain the only right-handed defensemen on-roster. Added to that, there is basically no addition other than prospect Tim Erixon, as Bryan McCabe & Steve Eminger remain unrestricted free agents. Look for Sather to shell out his remaining cap space on a defenseman, assuming no relevant trades are orchestrated.

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