D-Men McCabe, Tyutin on Rangers radar
Just passed the halfway mark, the New York Rangers (25-16-3, 53pts) have emerged as a surprising contender in the Atlantic Division.
New York is just five points behind 2nd place Pittsburgh (27-14-4, 58ts) and six points behind first place Philadelphia (26-10-5, 57pts)
Under head coach John Tortorella, the Rangers have emerged as one of the best defensive teams in the NHL, ranking 6th at 2.46 goals against per game.
Tortorella has done an excellent job getting the most out of his squad that includes a young inexperience blueline but there's no way around it that the Rangers lack the kind of fire power to in the long run, compete with the likes of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
With the struggling Alexander Frolov out for the season, this week, General Manager Glen Sather made what he called a risky move but a deal he couldn't turn down in acquiring forward Wojtek Wolski from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for defenseman Michal Rozsival.
"We like our young defense, think they are all progressing well, and we know this is a little risky, but the opportunity to do something here with a 24 year-old who's been an obvious goal scorer & pretty high talent, we just thought it was too good of an opportunity to turn down, " Sather said.
"It's a good opportunity to get younger and bigger."
Wolski, 24, was originally selected as Coloradoâ€™s first round pick, 21st overall, of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He had registered six goals and 10 assists for 16 points, along with 10 penalty minutes in 36 games with Phoenix this season.
Wolski carries a $3.8 million cap hit and is due to make $4 million in the final year of his contract. The Rangers will save $1.2 million on their cap.
Rozsival also has one year left on his deal and is due to make $3 million next season but has a cap hit $5 million.
The cap strapped Coyotes will be clearing $1 million in salary for next season with the move which gave the ability to make this deal earlier this week as the Coyotes have been actively trying to replace the departed Zbynek Michalek.
Rozsival, 32, has registered three goals and 12 assists for 15 points, along with 22 penalty minutes in 32 games this season. In 10 NHL seasons, Rozsival has registered 60 goals and 181 assists for 241 points, along with 535 penalty minutes in 669 career regular season games with the Rangers and Penguins."
Rozsival signed with the Rangers in August 2005 and then signed a 4 year - $20 million contract with the team in July 2008.
For the Rangers, they took a risk that their defensive group could take a step back but their getting a potential high end talent in Wolski who has the offensive skills to be a consistent 50+ point player.
Wolski has underachieved tremendously the past two seasons since a rookie season where he registered 50 points (22 goals, 28 assists) in 76 games but Wolski's only 24 years old.
This is the kind of risk that is the right one to take for a Rangers team take. John Tortorella is the kind of coach who gets the most out of his players and this is a big opportunity for Wolski in his young career whose earned the underachiever lable he has right now.
The Rangers focus will now turn to adding a veteran defenseman or two before the February 28th trade deadline. The team is actively looking for a power play specialist type of blueliner who can bolster their offensive attack. The team has expressed interest Fedor Tyutin, Bryan McCabe and Tomas Kaberle.