By popular demand, I have decided to abandon the "Analyzing The Rangers" series and I will be moving on to bigger and better things. I am currently sitting on a coach bus with 50 of my friends on a trip to Niagara Falls from upstate New York. We left an hour ago and after the DVD player on the bus broke (we had Pirates II and Harry Potter IV) most of the guys went to sleep and are out cold. Because I am fortunate enough to have a Motorola Q with me, and because I cant fall asleep on a bus for the life of me, I figured it would be an appropriate time to write a blog entry.
Anyway, Ive decided to address a hot topic in Rangerland. The biggest thing that is currently on the minds of Rangers fans is the potential signing of Michael Peca. Aside from the discussion as to whether the Rangers will sign him or not, most fans are not even sure if they want the deal to happen. So I am going to present both sides of the coin here and you can decide for yourselves if signing him is the right move. I will start with the advantages of signng him and then move on to the disadvantages. (And of couse I will not abandon my catchphrase) Michael Peca, Here We Go:
1) Peca will come cheap. His agent said that he will be willing to play in New York for half of the salary that he earned last season. That number comes out to 1.25 million which should leep the Rangers under he cap. The Rangers are 1.6 million over the cap but when they send Kasparitis to the AHL at the start of training camp, his 3 million contract will come off the books, leaving the Rangers 1.4 million under. If they sign Peca for that price, they will be 150k under the cap with the ability to spend 2.8 million over the cap and allow Shanahan's bonuses to take effect next season.
2) Peca has good skills. He is an excellent defensive forward who can throw hits and agitates his opponents, much like Avery who has had great success in New York. Defensively he is solid and is an excellent shot blocker. He will replace what the Rangers lost in Jed Ormeyer as he is a very good penalty killer. He can produce offensively, especially with the good wingers that the Rangers could set him up with. He certainly will help the Rangers who lack checking forwards who can score often.
3) Peca is an insurance plan. Is Dubinski or Ansimov really ready? There seems to be some uncertainty about whether the top two Ranger centers in the minors are NHL really. If they really were, I doubt the Rangers would even consider signing Peca. He could be an insurance plan for the Rangers so if Ansimov and Dubinsky dont have a good camp, Peca could step in as a third line center, while if one of the young ones do make the team, he could be used as trade bait with his low salary or as a replacement in case of injury.
4) Peca has veteran leadership. That is the one thing the Rangers lack on the third line and it would be beneficial for the likes of Prucha, Avery and Callahan to be centered by a player who has been around the block his fair share of times.
DONT SIGN HIM:
1)Peca is injury prone. That may be the biggest concern about him and why his agent is begging GMs to sign him. Without his injury problems, Peca would cetainly command a salary of over 2 million because he is not a bad player. Therefore, because the Rangers have to develop their young players and give them a chance to play in the NHL, and are also lacking an elite defensman, it would be too big of a risk to waste cash and a roster spot on a player who missed 47 games last season and who's productivity may be greatly affected by injury in the coming one. It is better to use the money to trade for a defenseman at the deadline and give the roster spot to a young, developing forward with good potential.
2) Peca is a center. If the Rangers were to spend money on a forward, it would be best spent on a winger. With Drury, Gomez, Straka, Betts, Dubinsky and Ansimov all natural centers as well as Avery who is comfortable as the pivot, the Rangers have too much depth at center to sign another one. It would be better to save the the money for a defenseman or if it must be a forward, for a winger.
3) Peca will cost money. And although the Rangers CAN sign him, it may cause trouble for next season. The reason being, that if the Rangers need to spend at the deadline, Shanahans 2.8 million in bonuses will end up counting against next years cap. Add that to the fact that the Rangers have to resign alot of players next season, have to give Lunqvist a long term extention and, if Jagr decides to stay, will have to pay all 8 million of his salary and you have got yourself a problem. So signing Peca may fit into this years cap situation but next year, things may get ugly.
So those are the pros and cons of signing Peca. I would like to hear your thoughts and what you would do. As for me, I am not sure what the right thing is. I would not sign him solely because acquiring him is a risk/reward situation and the Rangers are in no position to take risks in my opinion. But I will certainly try to look on the bright side, no matter what happens.
Looking forward to watching, listening and breathing the Rangers in 07-08.