Note: There were no pictures of Danis Zaripov available in the editor, so enjoy a picture of his Russian counterpart, Pavel Buchnevich.
After losing out on the services of Alex Kerfoot late last week, the New York Rangers could be pursing another free agent option from overseas. Based on a report last night from Elliotte Friedman, the Rangers are expected to be one of the teams chasing KHLer Danis Zaripov if he makes the jump to the NHL. The 36-year-old has been a mainstay in the KHL for his entire career thus far, but was recently suspended two years by the International Ice Hockey Federation following a doping incident.
Since his suspension, Zaripov has put the wheels in motion to file an appeal and as Friedman mentions, that may lead him to an opportunity with an NHL club. Zaripov has consistently registered 45+ points during his last four KHL seasons, and has been a 20 goal scorer except for last season. If the Rangers can find a way to add him to the forward mix, it suddenly becomes much easier to shift J.T. Miller back to center in a full-time role.
While finding a natural center is the Rangers biggest need at the moment, adding a 45 point winger and moving Miller back to center may be enough of a patch to get them started. It would also give the Rangers enough time to see how the lines shake out, and if all else fails, still leaves them with an opportunity to reassess when the trade deadline rolls around.
However, with Zaripov’s status still uncertain we’ll have to wait and see how everything plays out first and foremost. Friedman does expect some more clarity on the situation sometime next week, though.