Well, it looks like those rumors connecting the Rangers to KHL star and free agent Danis Zaripov had some truth to them. Igor Eronko reported today that the Rangers made Zaripov an offer, but the NHL wouldn’t allow the deal. When the league changed it’s mind, the Rangers did the same.
Danis Zaripov says he had an offer from Rangers right after the suspension, but the league didn't allow to sign the contract. When they allowed, NYR changed the opinion. Also recently there was an offer from Blues on PTO— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) November 22, 2017
Another interesting fold to this story is that Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault may have had the final say on whether or not the KHL star joined the team.
Some more info on the #NYR interest in Danis Zaripov here. He says a move was close after initial offer but club pulled out because "coach Alain Vigneault felt that my speed did not allow me to fit in and adapt quickly." https://t.co/HeyYrqHekU— Alex Nunn (@aj_ranger) November 22, 2017
This detail is particularly intriguing to members of the media and fans who have been speculating about just how much control Vigneault has regarding the team’s roster. Of course, every head coach has weight to throw around when it comes to what their roster looks like, but some of the Rangers recent roster decisions have raised a few eyebrows.
Vigneault’s concerns about Zaripov’s speed come from a reasonable place. The Russian forward is 36-years-old and has little (if any) experience playing on North American ice. Zaripov was not known for his speed in the KHL and the NHL has a longer, tougher season than what he’s used to in Russia. We can safely assume these factors played a pivotal role in Gorton and the Rangers choosing to back away if Vigneault expressed concerns about Zaripov’s skating ability.
IIHF issued a statement on Danis Zaripov: he's cleared to play in any leagues from November 23— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) November 21, 2017
Zaripov has 227 points in his last 229 regular season KHL games with Metallurg Magnitogorsk. With the IIHF lifting his suspension ahead of schedule, Zaripov will be eligible to return to the KHL (or any other league) tomorrow. The chances of him signing with any NHL team, including the Rangers, now appear slim.