I know it may be early, but the way in which Vinny Prospal has been playing for this New York Rangers team all season long has been stunning, and I think it is about time the front office begins to talk with Prospal's agent in hopes to re-sign him for the next season. I say his performance this season has been stunning because a 35-year-old free agent making $1.1 million usually is not expected to contribute all that much, and most often the fans do not have high expectations. After being bought out by the Tampa Bay Lightning at the conclusion of last season, Vinny had something to prove and he made it clear that was determined. Apparently determination can take you very far.
Prospal's 17 goals and 35 assists for 52 points are good for second on the team in scoring behind Marian Gaborik. In fact, the Czech native is in the top fifty in the National Hockey in scoring and has already surpassed his point totals from last season by seven with fourteen games still to be played. And his goal scoring, which Vinny is not particularly known for, has been timely to put it best, and he has more goals scored than Scott Gomez did as a Ranger just a year ago.
Offense is not the only area of Prospal's game that has been sharp as he has been stellar in the defensive zone as well. Vinny has a plus nine rating on the season, which is excellent for a player that is sent out onto the ice everytime his club is shorthanded. And of course, his energy, enthusiasm, and intensity are present every night, which not only benefits him, but his teammates, especially the youngsters, around him.
Obviously Prospal's numbers will only go up from this point on, especially if he continues to put on performances such as last night's in Atlanta. So now the decisions lie in general manager Glen Sather's lap. Prospal should, and deserves to be, re-signed for the 2010-11 season. However, taking his age into account, you do not want to lock him up for an extended amount of time, nor do you want to give him a paycheck that will come back to bite you in the behind later in the year.
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In my opinion, I think Prospal should get a one-year contract worth $1.5 million. That is how I would go about dealing with Vinny, and at this point in his career, I think winning is more important to him than the money in his bank account. He loves New York, he has stated that he would love to return, and it has been an easy adjustment for his family travel-wise.
I say this because Prospal has grabbed the attention of other teams around the league, there is no question about that. He may be offered larger and lengthier contracts than Glen Sather will put on the table, but Vinny just does not seem like the greedy type to me. He doesn't want to leave the Rangers and the Rangers do not want to part ways with him either.
I think that Prospal would be delighted to return to the Blueshirts for the terms I listed above, and I also (hope) that Sather will present him with a contract offer along those lines come the summer months. From a fan's perspective, we would all be thrilled to welcome Mr. Intensity back to New York for another go-around.
Tell me what you think in the comments.