Sunday, August 16, 2009


Vaclav! Why do I hear that annoying Insurance Duck saying that name in my head? It's because the Rangers have shattered the sleepy-hockey days of August with a signing announcement:

Glen "Slats" Sather has located an aging veteran on the downside of his career and so, naturally, he has quickly moved to add him to the Ranger squad.

Vaclav Prospal - the 34 year old Czech Left Winger (who reportedly can play some Center if needed) was quite a player back in his day. He's had 80, 79, and 72 points in his top three years (any of which would have easily topped the Rangers' scoring last year). But in from 2007-08 to 2008-09 his career fell off a cliff - as he dropped from 71 to 45 points and watched his plus-minus fall from even to -20. Whenever a player in his 30s shows signs he's falling apart - it's as if a red light goes off on Sather's desk and he suddenly has to have him.

So your New York Rangers have signed him for $1.1 million, and I can already hear some of the faithful screaming their heads off about it. The move also shows Coach John Tortorella's increasing influence in the Ranger front office - Prospal is a former Tampa Bay Lightning player who was once coached by Torts himself.

The move - like a lot of Ranger moves - is a gamble - but that's what you need to do when you're Salary Cap challenged as we are.

But - honestly - I like this gamble and I'll take these odds . If Prospal - with some new surroundings - a coach he used to play well for - and a guy like Marian Gaborik to draw the defense away from him - can return to even his 2007-2008 level of play, he will be well worth the money and should be a leading scorer for the Blueshirts.

The deal also sheds some light on the ongoing Brandon Dubinsky negotiations. Clearly - Brandon and the Rangers are unable to reach a multi-year contract deal. But even if they don't - Dubinsky can always play for his qualifying offer - unless he gets an offer sheet from someone else for more. But Prospal has played some Center - so - that gives the Rangers some needed insurance at that position.

Insurance? Somebody queue the duck again...

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