Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants is reporting that the New York Rangers have re-signed Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL) forward Dane Byers. Byers, age 24, played in five games with the Blueshirts last season and recorded a goal along with 31 penalty minutes during that short time. He proved to the coaching staff and management that he is NHL-ready and has the will to compete at the pro level. Dane is a big bodied grinder - 6-3, 204 pounds - and knows how to use his body. At the same token, he knows how to produce offensively and has the ability to score goals and cause havoc in front of the net. For that reason, I think he will be considered for the lineup out of training camp.
Jody Shelley, Brandon Prust and Aaron Voros are all Byers' competition, assuming Shelley and Prust re re-signed, as they are very similar in the role that the fill with the Rangers. I personally like all of them except for Voros, who just has not seemed to impress me much in his two years with New York. If there is anyone Byers could beat out for a roster spot, it could be Voros, but nothing is guaranteed.
Hopefully this is the first of many off-season contract extensions we see given to Rangers players this summer. Among the bigger names Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, and Vinny Prospal are yet to be re-signed, but that is expected to come within the next few months. Remember, these negotiations are often long-lasting, especially when general manager Glen Sather has multiple on his plate.