Thursday, August 02, 2007

Avery Gets His Dues

I suppose if there was a reason why that a lot of players didn't go to arbitration this summer, it would be the fear of getting the "Sean Avery treatment" from their club. Avery was reportedly chewed out in his hearing and the arbitrator split the difference between what the Rangers offered and what Avery wanted. Avery ended up with a 1-year, $1.9 million deal, which the Rangers gladly accepted and Avery signed off on.

This finishes the starting line-up for the Rangers, barring any really big surprises in camp. This Rangers line-up is somewhat uncomfortable when it comes to cap space, sitting at a rounded $49.5 million, only $800,000 away from the limit. When you spend the big bucks to attract Gomez and Drury, not to mention the monster deal for Jagr, the new deal for Lundqvist has and Shanahan not being shy at the bank machine... this isn't a really big surprise.

Martin StrakaScott GomezJaromir Jagr
Brendan ShanahanChris DrurySean Avery
Marcel HossaBlair BettsPetr Prucha
Ryan CallahanNigel DawesRyan Hollweg
Michal RozsivalPaul Mara
Marek MalikAndrew Hutchinson
Fedor TyutinThomas Pock
Henrik Lundqvist
Steve Valliquette

Up front, the Rangers could be one of the most dangerous teams in the league. There's goal scoring galore in the top two lines of the squad. The top six combined for 156 goals, but they weren't a unit yet. With Gomez and Drury inserted into the line-up, there could be a dramatic increase in goals and assists from these six guys.

On defense, it's tough to say. Rozsival comes into camp as the top rated pool defenseman on the team, as he finished the season with 40 points in 80 games. He isn't really known for a great offensive prowess, but at half a point-per-game, it isn't anything to sniffle at. Mara and Malik were subject to injury for a portion of last season, while Hutchinson, Tyutin and Pock saw some time on the bus with minor league clubs. It's far from the best six in the league, but it might be able to do the trick... in the regular season.

In goal, Henrik Lundqvist is turning heads all around the league. Finishing 8th among goaltenders in the pool rankings, he was hardly a factor is games that the Rangers lost, rather he was quite stellar. He had a sparkling .917 save percentage through the year. There are a lot of pundits claiming he's in the Top 5 of all goalies in the league, which I don't think is too far from the truth. He is a pretty safe pick in the first round, if you so desire.

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