A look at which forwards are still free agents

January 26, 2013, by
Why yes, Jason Arnott is still available. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Why yes, Jason Arnott is still available. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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:

Petr Sykora

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.

Dominic Moore

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.

Jason Arnott

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.

Categories : Analysis, Forwards


  1. Mikeyyy says:

    If we could I would sign Arnott and Sykora.

    Kreider is clearly not ready and the best the whale has to offer is Newbury.

    We have no real second line as they are not playing well. Stepan looks off, Cally is grinding hard with no help. Hags is doing his sundstrum impression. And Kreider is trying to find out where the puck is.

    Problem I have is will they help? It’s known that it takes half a season to get used to the ranger system. Is it too late? We are 1-3. And that one win came off a blown lead. Basically gabby was a machine and we won. One more loss and we are 1-4. Then it’s time to start looking at the system as its not generating any offense. If a few lines were struggling with it, I would say its just needing some time. But when all lines are struggling, then it’s most likely a systemic issue.

  2. rocketroy says:

    RANGERS HELP WANTED…..Without a doubt we should sign Arnott & Sykora both, immediately, as we cannot allow this slide to continue 3-4 more games…They couldn’t possibly be any worse than some of our 3rd & 4th line players…One of our areas we have been very poor is…FACEOFFS…Jason is a terrific on faceoffs and a high character guy for dressing room…Sykora is still really good playmaker. I think this could be our short term band-aid.

  3. Bloomer says:

    While pointing the finger at the 2 young forwards seems to be in vogue, the vets haven’t exactly been knocking the lights out with the exception of Pyatt, and one game exceptional performance by Gabs. Surely, Arnott is an improvement over Halpern who has been dismal. I still would like to see Gilroy get a shot as he brings some mobility to a defence that been flatfooted and been struggling making passes.I have watched Benn Ferriero quite a bit out here on the West Coast and I think he will be a good addition

  4. Leatherneckinlv says:

    I am for signing either Betts or Moore and moving Boyle to RW.

    Hagelin, Moore and Boyle would be a vast upgrade over the current third line

    Betts signing would be nice as well

    I would like to see cameo appearances by Thomas, Miller and McIlrath to see them in NHL game action as well.

  5. steve says:

    I think its too early to panic, but our 3rd and 4th lines are horrible, and burying hagelin and or kreider down there with ineffective and slow line mates doesn’t work either…In a tight season with only 44 games left…no time to waste….and as soon as Hrivik is ready he deserves a shot…. anyone who has watched the whale knows that a healthy hrivik literally turned there season around…they were dismal until he got going, and struggled again for a week and half when he first went down again. He’s big, fast and a real playmaker and has been working on his shot

  6. The Suit says:

    Torts system, whether you like it or not, is built around skating, forechecking and keeping the puck in the other team’s endzone. With this in mind…

    Arnott isn’t a strong skater anymore and is probably on the verge of retirement if he doesn’t sign. Sykora didn’t look very good in the playoffs and I wonder if teams are staying away from him for that reason.

    Dominic Moore is probably your best bet here, but he just lost his wife a few weeks ago, so who knows if he’s even interested in playing this season. Not much available here. If we don’t make one of these cheap signings, let’s see where we’re at around 12 games in and perhaps explore a trade.

  7. Eric says:

    Sign Arnott or Moores ASAP! We horrible on face offs and need someone who could win draws.

  8. Dave says:

    I love being right.