The New York Rangers are coming off a roller coaster of a season. After losing to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup final, the team has high hopes for the upcoming season.
The organization has been fairly busy during the NHL free agency period. They started by signing veteran defenceman Dan Boyle and have now signed free agent forward Matthew Lombardi.
The 32 year old spent last year playing in the Swiss League. Lombardi is hopeful that his 50 point season in Europe will give him enough of a boost to play in the NHL once again.
Lombardi has played for Calgary, Toronto, Phoenix Nashville and Anaheim throughout his career and he's proven he can score goals - tallying 40 points or more three times in his career. He’s got exceptional faceoff skills and isn’t afraid to throw his weight around to try and change the momentum in a game.
If he can stay healthy, he’ll be an excellent addition to the Ranger’s third line. The departure of Anton Stralman and Micheal Del Zotto will be tough shoes to fill. Dan Boyle will easily settle into being the defensive anchor for this team.
The question will be if Boyle gets placed on the first line with McDonagh or on a line with Dan Girardi. A lot may depend on if the organization is able to re-sign forward Chris Kreider as well.
Keeping key men
Kreider was instrumental to the team’s success last season. He accumulated 37 points and also tallied 13 points in the team’s playoff campaign as well. He’s got explosive speed and loves to deke players out one on one. If the Rangers don’t re-sign him, they could be in big trouble heading into this year.
Other new additions that will be looking to try and have an instant impact are Tanner Glass and Chris Bourque. Chris Bourque is not a consistent goal scorer by any means, but he’s still a solid, defensive minded forward that will boost the Ranger’s fourth line.
Tanner Glass will be hoping to solidify a place on the third line. He’ll also be a great asset when it comes to killing penalties for the Rangers. Overall, I believe all of these signings will benefit the Rangers going forward.
With veterans like Mathew Lombardi and Dan Boyle in the lineup, the team may not have to depend on goalie Henrik Lundqvist as much this year. I hope this added experience will provide the Rangers with some secondary scoring options. It will certainly be interesting to see how long it will take Lombardi to re-adjust to the NHL again this year.
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