The concept of bringing Michael Peca to the New York Rangers occurred to me for a minute last month, but I figured there would be no way something like that could
get done. Not with the Rangers currently over the salary cap and not with the teams' commitment to the youth movement over the last couple of years.
Could it be that the Rangers are back to their old ways? Spend, spend, spend on veterans that never bring them to the promised land? Anyway you look at this, it seems like desperation. As if the Rangers are trying to collect a bunch of over the hill vets to get them to the Stanley Cup like they once tried to do. Peca may have all the intangibles a team wants, strong faceoff man, nice touch around the net, leadership, experience, but he wants a lot of money and he's aging badly. Which is exactly what fans thought the Rangers would stay away from.
There are two reasons for this move: first, the Rangers realized that the absence of Matt Cullen would be felt a lot more than they previously thought. Second, Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky didn't have a strong showing at rookie camp. Why would the Rangers essentially trade Matt Cullen for Michael Peca? Cullen is younger and faster and already has a year of experience in the Rangers system. Not to mention he had gelled with line mates Petr Prucha and Ryan Callahan. Do you really think Peca can keep up with the speed of that line?
I can understand the appeal when trying to sign a player like Peca, but that goes for any over the hill veteran free agent with a strong track record. We love them for what they have meant for hockey, but do we really want them to play in pace of the stud prospect waiting in the wings?
I may be wrong on this one, but I believe Ranger fans would be with me when I say let's swing and miss with young infusion of talent that has been a trend for the Rangers over the last two seasons. Ryan Callahan, Henrik Lundqvist, Dan Girardi, Petr Prucha, Ryan Hollweg and the guys like Nigel Dawes and Marc Staal who will break into the line up for sure this season, these guys have helped and will continue to make the Rangers a winning team. They have provided a spark and a hunger this team had missed for years.
My best guess is Michael Peca will get a 1 year deal. If the Rangers sign him for more, GM Glen Sather should be questioned about the direction of the team. His youth movement has worked and if it ain't broke don't fix it.