With the Rangers prospects progressing with the hand of the coaches,they are also gaining much needed mentoring with veteran leadership. That veteran leadership role will need to be filled in Hartford in the crease. The Rangers moved Al Montoya last spring to the Phoenix Coyotes along with Marcel Hossa. In return the club thought they were getting an adequate goaltending prospect in return with the addition of David Lenevue. Lenevue certainly looked like he gained his form playing in Hartford under the coaching of his old coach Benoit Allaire.He had a great playoff performance and just a few days ago fled the pack for the flock,signing in Anaheim were Francoise is the goalie coach. With Rangers brass keen on the future of Mikka Wikman,they will need to add a quality vet for # 3 depth insurance as Wikman keeps the # 1 role.
Having Hank bid for a fourth vezina run and big Steve Valiquette in the backup role in NY,the Rangers need to find a player willing to take a two way contract and provide experience as well. Looking at a player like Brian Boucher last year,the veteran keeper took a deal to come back to Philadelphia. He was then a moveable asset at the trade deadline,being sent to San Jose. As more and more players and goalie head to Russia for the pay day,they are torn being away from the families who sit stateside. Playing in Europe is a fun novelty for the first few weeks and even for a season,but in the long hall players complain about over seas conditions. Quotes from players coming back from post lockout play were not that charming and it seems that the AHL may be a better avenue to getting back in the NHL. Looking at a goaltender like Robert Esche who played last year in Ak-Barskazan and is a native of Whitesboro NY may be a good fit. Esche is a great team guy and took Philadelphia on a solid run a few years back. He may have to put some work in at the minor level and grab the next wave of injury ( I hope not in NY) to get back on with an NHL club. Esche despite playing in Russia last season was still one of the starters in this years past World Championship.
The Rangers also have another huge asset in Benoit Allarie, who is a goaltending guru. Getting the chance to resurrect a career in a top organization while gaining advise from one of the best in the business could be a nice lure.Looking at what he's done pushing Valiquette to the next level and helping Lunqvist maintain his vezina performance is just some of handiwork. After a few weeks of hard work and his coaching Anaheim must have seen something in Lenevue to take a shot on him pushing Jonas Hiller in Ducks camp. David Aebischer may want one last shot of advise and a chance to get back on track,as the butterfly coach may adjust some of his techniques.Look for the Rangers to look into a goaltender of his caliber,where at 30,still may have some game left. If the once highly rated Jocelyn Thibault doesn't get a call for a backup role,he may have to accept a Boucher type deal to keep swimming in NHl waters. Speaking of waters will will see where most of these goalie float to or swim back from in the next few weeks. Ray Emery has gone to Russia too and this may be a good opportunity to focus on his game and come back next year. There are other net minders like John Grahame who may have seen there NHL days pass them by where international play still provides an outlet. In any aspect the player willing to take a # 3 role in the organization has to be on his A game,putting his ego aside using the AHL not as a demotion but as a learning experience.He needs to weight for someones miss fortune in the hope that it will change his for the better.Who will it be?