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The New York Rangers’ Busy Offseason: The New Guys (Part 2)

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Former New York Islanders forward Michael Grabner signs with the New York Rangers.

Former New York Islanders forward Michael Grabner signs with the New York Rangers.

NHL

NHL

Former New York Islanders forward Michael Grabner signs with the New York Rangers.

Jenna Febbo, Health and Beauty Editor

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The New York Rangers had to desperately fix a couple of weak spots in their team. The two big ones—their defense and their bottom six forwards. With little room to work with on defense, because of the anchors known as Marc Staal and Dan Girardi, the Rangers focused their attention on their bottom six revamp. Let’s all give General Manager, Jeff Gorton, a round of applause because boy did he fix that bottom six!

Gorton picked up experienced forwards, on very good (cheap) contracts, and for that, I commend him. Here’s the only problem: there are, like, 40 forwards on the roster right now. Okay, so I am exaggerating a bit (a lot) but seriously, the Rangers have way too many good forwards and way too little room for them. With new-to-the-NHL-rookies, Jimmy Vesey and Pavel Buchnevich, expecting to make the opening night roster, the plethora of forwards has us all scratching our heads.

Could this mean the end of Tanner Glass, the “gritty” forward that’s been plaguing the Rangers for the last two seasons? (I think, and I pray, so)

Let’s take a look.

The New (The Bottom Six Fix) 

Brandon Pirri – Finally, the Rangers got this guy! He was a commodity at the trade deadline last season, and there were many rumors swirling that the Rangers were going to pick him up. They did not and fans were furious because the Florida Panthers traded him to the Anaheim Ducks for a 6th round pick. That’s one hell of a deal and that’s one hell of a deal the Rangers could’ve easily made.

Pirri is going to fit nicely with the Rangers. He adds depth to the line-up and can be useful as a winger or a center. They can probably even slide him in on the top six, if needed. In the 2014-2015 season, he scored 22 goals with the Florida Panthers so he has the potential to be a 20 goal scorer, but fans shouldn’t expect that to happen. Fans can expect similar results to his last season play, where he scored 14 goals and 15 assists with the Florida Panthers and the Anaheim Ducks. But hey, you never know.

The Rangers and Pirri agreed to a one year, 1.1 million-dollar-deal.

Michael Grabner – Well, well, well, look who’s made his way back to New York. However, this time, he’s behind enemy lines. Grabner played five seasons with the New York Islanders before being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in September of last year and has 173 points (104 goals and 69 assists) in 397 career games. Grabner’s past three seasons have been a bit underwhelming due to injuries (and playing in doomed Toronto) but that still doesn’t change the fact that he is a super fast and is very good on the penalty kill (which we desperately need, hallelujah!). Plus, the fact that a once Islanders fan favorite is now playing for his former arch-rival is an exciting storyline. The Rangers and the Islanders meet on opening night, October 13th, at Madison Square Garden and I cannot wait.

The Rangers and Grabner agreed to a two year, 3.2 million-dollar deal.

Nathan Gerbe – Another clever depth signing, snaps to you Mr. Gorton! Gerbe is a good defensive bottom six winger that will also help the penalty kill. There’s just one thing every NYR fan should know—Gerbe is only 5’4. Now, don’t judge a book by its cover. Gerbe is a good player and he can add to the offense. His last season with the Carolina Hurricanes was pretty short. He was injured and scratched for a large portion of the season and only played 47 games, scoring 3 goals and 4 assists. In the 2014-2015 season with Carolina, Gerbe scored 10 goals and 18 assists in 78 games. Hopefully, if he stays healthy, that will be the Gerbe we see.

The Rangers and Gerbe agreed to a one year deal worth $600,000.

Josh Jooris – Jooris was a surprising signing, considering the Rangers already have plenty of bottom six options. Still, he’s a good pickup and will provide comfort to the lineup while Oscar Lindberg is out, recovering from his offseason surgery. When Lindberg does return, what happens? The Battle of the Bottom Six begins! One has to think a trade is coming at some point. Hopefully that trade includes one of the defensive anchors I mentioned earlier (their names make me cringe). Jooris scored 37 points (16 goals and 21 assists) in 119 (career) games with the Calgary Flames.

The Rangers and Jooris agreed to a one-year deal worth $600,000.

As an added bonus, I’ll throw in the two defensemen the Rangers picked up this summer.

Nick Holden – In late June, the Rangers acquired Holden from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a 4th round pick in the 2017 entry draft. Holden is an okay defenseman that will probably fight for the 6th d-man role with Dylan McIlrath. He is 6’4, 210lbs and knows how to throw around his body but he has issues with consistency and possession. Then again, he did play for the Avalanche. He could be useful to the penalty kill so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. He has 61 points (21 goals and 40 assists) in 221 career games.

Holden is set to earn 1.65 million dollars for the next two seasons.

Adam Clendening – Clendening was the Rangers’ first signing on July 1st (aka Free Agent Frenzy) and was probably added for depth. He agreed to a two-way deal, which means he’ll probably land in the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Rangers’ AHL affiliate. Still, he’s a decent enough d-man to have in your back pocket just in case of injuries. Clendening has 11 points (2 goals and 9 assists) in 50 career games with four different teams (since the 2014-2015 season, poor guy).

The Rangers and Clendening agreed to a one year, two-way deal worth $600,00 (NHL) and $300,000 (AHL).

The Rangers’ offseason was definitely not underwhelming. Their group of forwards is now probably one of the strongest in the NHL. If only I could say the same about their defense. Still, I think the Rangers are in good shape. Do they have a lot of work to do? Yes, their defense is still a mess but for now, let’s take the small victory.

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