When a new head coach arrives at a club it’s not just coaching staffs that tend to follow. Players who have built relationships often do the same, and with Maxim Lapierre approaching free agency, the opportunity to join the Rangers seems a logical one for all concerned.
Lapierre is a hard working hockey player that adds depth to the bottom six and is exactly the type of hockey player that the Rangers need when you look at how they were eliminated by the Bruins. He adds size, grit and a solid work ethic. All these traits would help address multiple needs on the Rangers, and this is without considering the relationship he has developed with Alain Vigneault in Vancouver.
Vigneault will surely want a few of his own in New York and the opportunity to grab a player with a solid playoff background such as Lapierre’s, without giving up anything but free agent dollars, seems an ideal situation. At 28, Lapierre is not an aging veteran and, after a relatively modest regular season and a quick exit in the playoffs, it’s not likely he could command big money on the free agent market – no matter how thin it appears this summer.
The Rangers aren’t likely to make significant roster changes and are more likely to add proven depth to ensure they can compete from top to bottom with the likes of the Bruins. With Vigneault renowned for rolling four lines players like Lapierre will be needed if Vigneault’s approach is to succeed in New York.
Of course, the Rangers will have to deal with their own roster issues before addressing potential new recruits. This includes what the Rangers will do with players such as Ryane Clowe, Taylor Pyatt, and Arron Asham before bringing in other physical type players. That said, if Vigneault does indeed intend on rolling four lines, it’s hard to imagine he could not find a place for one of his own. Plus, the potential of Derek Dorsett and Maxim Lapierre lining up together immediately makes the Rangers a tougher out when the bottom six hit the ice.
Change is coming to New York for the second offseason in a row, but in what capacity has yet to be seen. It’s more likely that we see them make minor moves such as Lapierre, but then its not always the big bold changes that bring success.