If you follow me on Twitter, then you saw some tweets about the four players that currently are in the Rangers organization that will provide the team with some much needed cap bargains. Those four players are Corey Potter, Erik Christensen, Brandon Prust, and Jody Shelley. Each brings something unique to the table and can potentially fill a hole in the Rangers at a very cheap price. Let’s go ahead and look at these four players.
Corey Potter: The UFA defenseman has been a little overlooked in this organization because of the young, high-end depth and the old, crappy contracts. According to those who watch him daily, Potter is NHL ready as a steady defensive defenseman with solid positioning. He isn’t a big crease clearing guy, but he only made $600k last season. Even at a 20% raise, Potter comes in around $700k and would be a solid, cheap defenseman on a blue line that has $11.5 million tied into two third pairing defensemen.
Erik Christensen: The RFA winger, picked up off the waiver wire from Anaheim, played fairly well during his stint with the Rangers this year. He was a bit inconsistent, but on this team, it’s not at all surprising. In his 49 games, Christensen put up a line of 8-18-26 with a respectable 5.2 GVT. His 2009-2010 salary was $800k, so a modest raise puts Christensen at $900k for a 2nd-3rd line forward. Not too shabby.
Brandon Prust: The surprise (to some) of the Olli Jokinen trade, Prust is a high energy player who hits, fights, and even chips in a few goals here and there. Prust finished with a line of 4-5-9 and a 1.8 GVT in 26 games with the Rangers, with 65 PIMS. Prust showed he can put the puck in the net when playing on the surprising line with Artem Anisimov and Jody Shelley. The RFA was signed at the league minimum last season, and even with a modest raise of 20%, that puts him at $600k, which is just above the league minimum for a 4th line winger. On a team riddled with bad contracts for 3rd-4th line players, a cheap one is a welcomed sign.
Jody Shelley: The biggest surprise, in terms of results, from the 2010 Trade Deadline acquisitions was Shelley. The tough guy struggled at first, but really clicked with Anisimov and Prust at the end of the season. A seasoned veteran who is a strong locker room presence, Shelley would be a welcomed replacement to Donald Brashear, who has been banished to Hartford. The UFA made $700k last season, and will probably make the same this year on a one year deal. Considering this organization will still be paying Brashear next season too (unless he is traded), then Shelley is considered to be a bargain at half the price and double the playing time.
With the Rangers in dire straits regarding the salary cap, they will need significant cap bargains to field a competitive team for the 2010-2011 season. Re-signing the likes of Potter, Prust, Shelley and Christensen give the Rangers much needed cheap flexibility on the forward corps, and a much needed cheap defensive defenseman on the blue line. Whether the Rangers re-sign all four is up to Glen Sather, but when it comes to bargains, you aren’t going to find many better ones from within the organization.