A look at which forwards are still free agentsJanuary 26, 2013, by
Yesterday we discussed how the Rangers forward depth is clearing becoming an issue for the club. Before the season started, we had also discussed how the Rangers could definitely use a forward to help make that fourth line stronger. Keep in mind that the Rangers need bottom six help, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be fourth line help. The Rangers could look to add a third or even second liner –especially if the struggles of Carl Hagelin and Chris Kreider continue– to push some of the current players down a slot.
Another signing might be crucial to give the Rangers that edge they need on the bottom six. A quality signing would also help the Rangers if and when injuries rear their ugly head. There are still quite a few free agents that are available, and the Rangers have some cap room to give for a one-year deal. But of those available, only a few really pique my interest:
Sykora played with the Devils last year after earning a roster spot in training camp. The 36-year-old winger showed that he still has it, putting up a nice season that included 21 goals and 44 points. He also played to the tune of a 9.1 GVT (3.0 PVT), and his peripherals (.032 QOC, 7.6 RCorsi, 49.3% Ozone Start) are fairly solid. It’s actually surprising that Sykora is still available.
I’m not one for bringing in ex-Rangers, so it’s funny that the first two I look at are ex-Rangers. After leaving the Rangers, Moore started adding some offense to his game, capped off by his 2010-2011 season in Tampa where he finished with a line of 18-14-32. He immediately trailed off next season, scoring just four goals. Moore’s peripherals (1.2 GVT, -.02 QOC, -6.4 RCorsi, 42.3 OZone Start) are less than stellar. Plus he will likely be one of the more expensive free agents still available.
Arnott is a household name when it comes to veteran leaders. Even at 38 years old, Arnott showed he can still play with the kids, putting together a line of 17-17-34 with St. Louis. Arnott is a pretty solid two-way guy who is fully capable of winning a face off. As for his peripherals (6.4 GVT, 2.1 PVT, -.067 QOC, 3.9 RCorsi, 60.3% OZone Start) suggest that he was babied a bit in St. Louis, perhaps because of his age. In his prime, Arnott was known for being great in his own zone, so I had to go back a few years to see if that was a one-off year. His numbers were relatively similar in 2010-2011, but the 2009-2010 season showed he started 50% of his shifts in the offensive zone. It’s unclear if that’s his age showing, or just trying to get the best out of someone on a team (Nashville) with limited offensive fire power.
Of all the free agents available, these are really the only three worth talking about. Moore should be scratched off this list too, as he is clearly the worst of the group here. Personally, I’d be ok with either Arnott or Sykora. Both would fill a hole and add some much-needed depth.