December 2, 2009. Things for the Rangers began getting hectic on this date as they were in the middle of a drought and just waived long time back-up netminder Stephen Valiquette. Then, in the midst of it all, general manager Glen Sather announces that he has picked up forward Erik Christensen off of waivers from the Anaheim Ducks. Many, even outside of the Blueshirts fanbase, questioned the move and looked at it as yet another useless acquisition that the Rangers find themselves making often. Little did we know, though, that Christensen would eventually be a spark on offense for the Rangers, and would become one of the few to develop chemistry with star winger Marian Gaborik.
What We Liked: 26 points in 49 games played with New York are decent numbers for a player that critics felt was not going any further with his career after seeing him continuously fail on various teams around the league over the years. Realizing that this could make or break his future, Christensen poured his heart and soul onto the ice night in and night out while with the Rangers, and was one of those players that was seldom criticized by head coach John Tortorella. He could keep up with Gaborik and always seemed to know where he was, enabling him to lay the perfect feed onto the blade of the Gabs and more often than not, create a legitimate scoring chance. For that reason, the Rangers will seriously consider re-signing Christensen for next season as he is a restricted free agent come July.
Continue reading after the jump.
What We Didn't Like: The 26-year-old center is streaky - has been for his entire career - which is a clear drawback. While Christensen was an overall plus on offense, he didn't help the larger problem of this team, which happens to be consistency. Marian Gaborik and Vinny Prospal were really the only two players to put up numbers regularly, while the rest of the club was hot and cold, on and off. This will hurt Christensen when it comes time to negotiate a new contract, because we hope general manager Glen Sather is smart enough to prevent himself from handing out any more large contracts to players who cannot produce on a consistent basis.
Highlight Game: February 14, 2010: The Rangers, down 2-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning heading into the second period, make a thrilling comeback to eventually win the game by the score of 5-2, led by two goals and an assist by Erik Christensen. Erik turned many heads with his performance in that contest.
Final Thoughts: I would like to see Christensen re-signed, personally, but for no more than $1 million or so. Tortorella could work with him and eventually get him to be a solid secondary scorer. I believe that the first line still needs to have a legitimate centerman in the middle, but at least we know Christensen can fill the hole if need be.
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