Scouting the Free Agents: Marian Gaborik

In the second edition of "Scouting the Free Agents" we are going to look at one of the biggest question marks of the off-season: Marian Gaborik. The 27 year old Minnesota Wild right winger is going to draw a lot of attention, mainly because of his scoring prowess. A lot of teams can use his skill, but is he worth the risk?

Let's start with the positives. Gaborik, when healthy, is certainty one of the best scorers in the league. He has scored 30 or more goals 5 times in his 8 year NHL tenure; he has notched 40 once. Probably the most impressive stat is how quickly he scored his goals. In 2006-2007 he scored 30 goals and 27 assists for 57 points in 48 games. Last year, although he only played in 17 games, he scored 13 goals and added 10 assists. The man is quite obviously a point machine. If you need more evidence of his goal scoring ability: you all may remember his little five goal outburst against the Rangers two years ago. He is a playoff performer as well. In 29 playoff games he has 12 goals and 10 assists for 22 points. In 2003 he has 9 goals and 8 assists in 18 playoff games, so he doesn't disappear when it counts.

Now onto the negatives. Gaborik is probably the definition of injury prone. Since the lockout he has played in 207 of a possible 328 games. This past regular season he only dressed for 17 games. Let me share with you a few of the big injuries on TSN.CA's injury list for Gaborik.

  • March 09: Missed 38 games (hip surgery)
  • December 08: Groin injury sidelined indefinitely
  • December 08: Missed 27 games (back injury)
  • January 07: Missed 34 games (Groin Strain)
  • October 06: Groin injury sidelined indefinitely

Okay so here is where you get to play GM. Do you take the risk on a guy who will probably command upwards of 6 million a year (I'm low balling because he was injured all of his contract year) but has a definite scoring touch? Or do you let him walk to another team even though you need all the power play help you can get? I think that because of his injury's he might sign for about 6 million a year. Can the Rangers afford to let a 40 goal scorer who is only signing a 6 million dollar contract walk? What would you do in this situation (notice how I'm staying neutral)? Post your thoughts in the comments below and let the discussions begin!   

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