The last time the Rangers were together as a team, Andrew Gross reported that he got the impression that Mats Zuccarello, Anton Stralman, and Ruslan Fedotenko may have played their last games as New York Rangers.
Among the players who sounded as if they might not be back were Mats Zuccarello, Anton Stralman and, possibly, Ruslan Fedotenko.
Gross’s crystal ball has already been accurate regarding the fate of Mats Zuccarello, who has left the organization to play in the KHL. As for Stralman, his future with the Rangers is very much up in the air. Stralman is currently a restricted free agent and I’ve no doubt that the Rangers will pursue him and try to convince him and his family to stay in New York.
But what of rugged, veteran winger Ruslan Fedotenko and his future with the club? Join me for more after the jump…
As per Andrew Gross:
And Fedotenko, 33, coming off his second, one-year deal with the Rangers, said he’d "like to come back but I want to take my time and evaluate and see what happens and go from there. It’s a great organization a great place to play. I love everything about it. But I want to see the direction the team goes and what I want to do."
Sounds like someone who wants to see what the open market has to offer. I thought we had something special Ruslan... I thought you loved us...
Fedotenko has hardly been a revelation playing in a Rangers sweater but he’s been exactly what the team asked him to be. Fedotenko has been a veteran presence in the bottom six forwards that contributed to the forecheck, finished his checks, and chipped in ten goals a year during his two years as a Ranger. There is no escaping the fact that players like Ruslan Fedotenko aren’t very difficult to replace through free agency but Fedotenko’s history with Tortorella and chemistry with Boyle and Prust might have the Rangers feeling like one more year of Fedotenko might be worth it.
Two years ago Fedotenko was signed to a one-year deal for $1 million, this past season Fedotenko played under a one-year deal for $1.4 million. If Fedotenko should return he would almost certainly want the salary he had this past season or maybe even a raise. Another two things to consider regarding whether or not the Rangers should bring Fedotenko back are his age and the fact that the Rangers need to find ice time and roster spots for the half dozen kids that are going to be chomping at the bit to play next year. The cap space that Fedotenko occupied with his contract could be put to better use in the free agent market, perhaps to find some depth scoring, which is what the team needs like Humpty Dumpty needs to stay the hell off of walls. Although Fedotenko has been a good soldier on this team and turned out to be a great free agent signing two years ago, it looks like it may be time for the Rangers and Fedotenko to part ways and move on.
What do you guys think? Should the Rangers try to bring Fedotenko back for one more year or should they move on look for better options in-house or in the free agency market? Should we do genetic experiments with Fedotenko and turn him into an egg-man and put him up on a wall?