They weren't glamourous moves, and they certianly weren't the big splashes the fans were expecting, but the New York Rangers and general manager Glen Sather made a couple of savvy moves to help round out the Rangers bottom two lines.
The best move in this category was the two-year deal extended to former Phoenix Coyote winger Tyler Pyatt. Sather also brough in Arron Asham, allowed Brandon Prust and Ruslan Fedotenko to jump ship for hefty contracts the team shouldn't have matched anyway, and kept some AHL depth in Kris Newbury.
So what does any of this mean for the Rangers? Well, for one thing, the team has some stability in a few roles they deem imperative. Asham, Rupp and Stu Bickel (also resigned this offseason) all bring a level of grit and toughness that Glen Sather covets. The Rangers should have no issues dropping the gloves if necessary, and with all the interchanging parts, the Atlantic Division games should be fun this season no matter who is playing.
Join me after the jump for more.
Whether or not you agree with the signing of Asham, he was brought here for a reason: fighting and toughness. It's a role the Rangers covet and it's one that the Rangers went out and replaced once Sather realized he wasn't going to be able to hold onto Prust. Again, regardless of what you think of the fighting role, it's a position the Rangers enjoy having filled. Throw in Mike Rupp and Bickel and the Rangers shouldn't be pushed around by anyone.
Pyatt is a player who can play all over the ice -- although he didn't play on the penalty kill for the Coyotes -- and be used in various situations. He's a quick player who also brings some grit and toughness. He will probably pair well with Brian Boyle or Brandon Dubinsky (if his offense doesn't kick in) and should be a player Tortorella can rely on.
A role the Rangers will have to fill still is that of a solid penalty killer. Both Prust and Fedotenko were big parts of the Rangers' penalty kill, and Asham and Pyatt (the two additions) don't help in that regard. The Rangers could lean on Carl Hagelin more, along with the regular contributions of Ryan Callahan and Dubinsky, but those three would ware down fast if they're the only ones who are being used.
Boyle might see a bigger role on the penalty kill if things don't change, and Tortorella might opt to use Marian Gaborik there (something he did when he first came to the team but hasn't done as much since).
There are a lot of options that still need to be sifted through, but for right now that's a glaring need -- aside from a high-end scorer.