What are the Rangers going to do next? Although the Rangers should be content with what they have done this off-season, especially considering that they do not have alot of cap room, rumors continue to swirl about a big move that they are planning. I've heard the Rangers are interested in Ed Jovanovski and Michael Peca and they are yet to resign Sean Avery and Marcel Hossa who are headed to arbitration. So, I would like to speculate about how these moves could potentially happen and how likely they are to occur.
Sean Avery: Avery is partially responsible for the turnaround in the Rangers season after his arrival. He is a pesky guy who can skate, get under an opponent's skin and has a pretty good shot. I am almost certain that this will head to arbitration, proof being that he has not been resigned directly, especially after the Rangers dumped Cullen's salary. Because of the impact he had on the Ranger's season, i believe he will command a salary of 2.5 to 3 mil per year. This deal is borderline for the Rangers and whether they sign him will depend on Peca.
Michael Peca: Peca plays a gritty style game similar to Avery's and although he is older and slower, he has more experience and disipline than Avery who is a bit of a loose cannon. He should not get more than 2 million and according to Eklund, both sides like the look of a two year deal. If Avery's gets a high number in arbitration, look for the Rangers to walk away if Peca is available. If Peca gone and Avery gets a high number, the Rangers will sign Avery. In my opinion the Rangers will put Avery at 3rd line center so getting one of the two is a must.
Ed Jovanovski: Jovo to the Rangers is a bit farfetched in my opinion. Yes, the Rangers front office said it can be done but it would squeeze the cap a bit to much for my liking. Jovanovski had great years as a team leader and shut down defenseman in Vancouver. His last season in Phoenix was injury plagued and he was not very productive. I think with the Rangers having better team than the Coyotes, Jovanovaski would do well but for a 6.5 million per year deal with 4(?) years left, it is a big risk because of his injury history. Many say that the Ranges need an experienced defensman to win the cup now but i think it is best to wait until next year to lose the salary of the vets, get a restructured team to gel and then look at Jovo or free agents for a better veteran defenseman. The Rangers would have to give up Mara, who I happen to like, an probably a prospect/young player. I dont like that. I dont want Jovo. He probably wil not end up a Ranger next season. Do we need him for a cup? Possibly, but we need to build toward the cup over a few seasons, not go crazy one year and roll the dice on another big name player.
Marcel Hossa: I like Hossa. I like Hossa with Gomez and Jagr. He plays the possesion game like Jagr and playing with, chemistry aside, an elite playmaking center in Gomez, Hossa could be a vital piece for the Rangers top line. Hossa will not get over 1.25 in arbitration and I think at that price the Rangers must sign him with the exception being that they cannot cap-wise or would have to move somebody to do so. He is a player with unfulfilled potenial,living under the shadow of big brother Marian but he has his own style and skill set that fits with Jagr. He can keep Jagr happy which is important after Jagr's alleged grumblings about the loss of Nylander. If he is up there with Jagr, we can move more talent to the lower lines and create a deeper four line team, a la Buffalo.
My prediction: Rangers sign Peca for 2 yrs 2 mil per and Hossa for 1 yr 1 mil. The lines are as follows:
Hollweg-Betts-Dawes/Orr when we play Philly