The New York Rangers continue to prepare for the upcoming NHL season. The organizations latest transaction outside of rookie selection camp was the addition of veteran forward Lee Stempniak.
Stempniak signed a one year, 900k contract over the weekend. The 31 year old was a late pick up by the Pittsburgh Penguins this year. In his 21 games with them, he tallied 11 points. He also accumulated five points in the Penguins previous playoff campaign as well. His overall point total was 34 points this year.
This is an excellent signing for the Rangers. Stempniak brings plenty of experience to the roster. Throughout his career so far he’s tallied 150 goals and 191 assists. He’s scored 40 goals or more three times as well. Stempniak’s style of play is built on speed. And although the 31 year old has lost some of that, he still has plenty to offer his new team.
He’s got exceptional stick handling skills, a wicked wrist shot and isn’t afraid to crash the net when required. I’m sure the New York Rangers management are thrilled to have signed him. With a price tag like that, I believe there are many other teams that are jealous. This is a heck of a deal with very low risk involved, which will certainly benefit the Rangers.
This is a wonderful opportunity for Lee Stempniak to improve his game and get back into the form he was in when he played for St. Louis. Being able to play with former teammates Matthew Lombardi and Tanner Glass will certainly benefit both Stempniak and the Rangers moving forward. Stempniak played with Lombardi in Calgary and Glass in Pittsburgh.
That being said, the Rangers third or fourth line could include Lombardi, Stempniak and Glass. This deal also frees up some much needed cap space for the Rangers. The organization still has yet to resign forwards Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello and Chris Kreider. Defensemen John Moore is also without a contract as well.
I believe it’s going to be very difficult for the New York Rangers to re-sign all four of these players. Therefore, I believe that if one of them has to be dropped, it should be John Moore. Brassard, Zuccarello and Kreider accounted for 141 points. These guys served as the base of the Rangers offense last season, along with Derek Stepan.
Plus the team has already seen the departure of forwards Brian Boyle and Benoit Pouliot. Therefore, I believe if the Rangers lose even one of those guys it’s going to make their next playoff run much more difficult. I believe the team must drop John Moore and give someone like Raphael Diaz more ice time so he can improve.
One thing is certain, the New York Rangers are in a tough spot, and have quite a few difficult decisions to make. I can’t wait to see what this squad will look like heading into next season.