Sunday, July 19, 2009

New York Rangers Round-Up

The New York Rangers have signed Ales Kotalik to a 3 year, $9 Million dollar contract, signed newly acquired Christopher Higgins to a 1 year, $2.25 Million dollar contract and re-signed Ryan Callahan to a 2 year, $4.6 Million dollar contract.

Glen Sather continues his preposterous spending in his attempt to add an element of chemistry to the Rangers. In an earlier off-season trade he moved overpaid, under-performing center Scott Gomez to the Canadiens for Christopher Higgins. This has forced team leader Chris Drury into the number one pivot role, a role he is not suited for.

Ales Kotalik has potential to be a good winger, with the emphasis on good. He is a very skilled and speedy forward that seems to disappear for large stretches at a time. Last season saw him spilt time in Edmonton and Buffalo, where the lack of points and chemistry were an indication that he wasn’t a fit for the respective teams. In Edmonton, Kotalik was given top line minutes only to squander the opportunity playing with fellow countryman Ales Hemsky. With 43 points in 75 games last season, Kotalik has only gone over the 60 point mark once. He should line up as a top 6 forward in New York but will frustrate coach Tortorella, just like Nik Zherdev. He may be an option as a depth guy in your draft but owner should only expect 50 points out of the winger regardless of the line he ends up on.

Christopher Higgins is looking to start over in a city where he could once again become a 20 goal man. Last season was horrendous for Higgins, with 23 points in 53 games. Higgins should be able to quietly increase his point totals to the 40 point mark. Owners should keep an eye on him and see how he performs with his new teammates; he may get hot and would be worth a waiver claim at best.

Ryan Callahan is entering the magic third year as a full time NHLer and his value has increased each year. Last season he saw time on the top line and was a banger and crasher who created open ice and opportunities for his teammates. With 40 points in 81 games, Callahan has increased his point totals each season in the league and is a favourite of coach Tortorella. If he ends up playing with Gaborik on the top line, his point total may exceed 60 points. He is a more draft worthy candidate at this point than his other 2 newly acquired teammates as his potential is not yet know. Grab him in later rounds as 50 points should be achievable by the youngster.


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