Hunt for the Seventh DefensemanOctober 20, 2009, by
With the way the Rangers defense folded last night, and the horribly inconsistent play of Michal Rozsival (and to a lesser extent, Dan Girardi), it has become abundantly clear that the Rangers will require a seventh defenseman to put some pressure on some of the guys who may have become too comfortable with their role on the team. Competition breeds improvement, even if he only plays one game a month.
Finding a defenseman that can not only accept playing a limited role, but can come out of the press box and deliver a decent game is a tough task. The defenseman will have to be a veteran who is used to that kind of treatment. The Rangers have $1.2 million (prorated) in cap space available for the seventh defenseman. But you would have to assume that GM Glen Sather would like to have some room at the trade deadline. So someone at the cap minimum would be preferable.
I was perusing the waiver wire today and saw something interesting. According to TSN, Devils defenseman Cory Murphy has been waived by the club. Murphy, 31, has been a career seventh defenseman, playing anywhere from 25-47 games during his NHL tenure (which began in 2007-2008, after spending six seasons in Europe). He also makes the NHL minimum $500,000 (on the NHL level of his two-way contract, $105,000 in the AHL).
Murphy definitely fills all the requirements of the proverbial seventh defenseman. He’s a veteran (meaning he has a lot of hockey experience), has experience playing in a limited role, and makes the minimum. He wouldn’t cost the Rangers anything, as he was waived. And, the cherry on top, he wouldn’t cost owner James Dolan much if he doesn’t succeed. They can bury him in the minors for 20% of his NHL salary if he isn’t claimed off waivers.