COLUMBUS OH - DECEMBER 27: Kristian Huselius #20 of the Columbus Blue Jackets celebrates after scoring the game winning goal during a shoot out against the Minnesota Wild on December 27 2010 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus Ohio. Columbus defeated Minnesota 4-3 in a shootout. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
It seems widely accepted that the New York Rangers aren't done making moves this offseason. And while they're probably finished making big moves, there might be a player out there who could pay real dividends. That player is Kristian Huselius.
This would be a major risk vs. reward move, if the Rangers made it.
Here's the allure of making a move for a guy who has played in just 41 games the last two years combined (including only two games last year): pairing him with Rick Nash. This move has nothing to do with Nash's production, he'll be fine with Brad Richards, but everything to do with a player who meshed well with Nash over their careers.
Join me after the jump for more.
Huselius' last two full seasons were 2008-2009 and 2009-2010. In those seasons he scored 21 and 23 goals and added 56 and 63 points respectively. In his career, when healthy, Huselius has been a consistent 20-goal scorer who can add some offense to any team.
Two years ago, he only played in 39 games, but still added 14 goals and 23 points. During the previous two seasons highlighted above, Nash scored 40 and 33 goals as well. While Marian Gaborik is injured, the Rangers could throw Huselius on the top line and push Carl Hagelin down to the third line to shore up the bottom six.
The issue with that plan, however, is the conditioning status of Huselius. After not playing much the past two seasons it doesn't seem likely that John Tortorella would want to throw him to the wolves on the first line and give him serious minutes. But the Rangers could ease him in by giving him fourth and third line minutes -- with Hagelin on the top line -- until he's prepared for more on-ice responsibilities.
Again, the Rangers are looking to shore up their bottom six. They can do that in one of two ways: They can either get a bottom six player or they can get a top-six player and push someone else down to the third line.
Since we're so in tune with our friends over at Jackets Cannon lately, I asked Matt Wagner a few questions about the risks and rewards of Huselius. Here's what he said the risks were:
Nash and Juice had some fairly strong chemistry, and he was a great asset on the PP, but his health is a really major concern. Over the past two seasons he's suffered two high ankle injuries, a groin tear, a shoulder muscle tear, and a knee injury. I just can't see Juice having the durabilty to play a full NHL season at this point, and I think his overall condition is a major question mark.
And here's the reward:
Juice would play the left wing, Nash the right, usually with Brassard or Malhotra at the pivot. They meshed quite well.
Imagine what they could do with Richards as the pivot?
I think Huselius would be a very cheap option and a guy who wants to prove that he can make it in the NHL. Guys like that can have a big year. I think the rewards highly outweigh the risks here.