We’re just past the halfway mark of the 2013-2014 season and it’s a pretty safe time to evaluate how a player’s season has gone. So with that in mind, let’s take a look back at the unrestricted free agent class of 2013 – specifically some forwards that could have been Ranger targets as they sought to bolster their offense. Were these players money well spent?*
David Clarkson – seven years, $36.75 million
2013-2014 stats: 3 goals, 5 assists, 102 hits, 51 penalty minutes
Toronto would love a way out of this one already. Clarkson has rarely been healthy, and he’s been ineffective when he has been on the ice.
Valtteri Filppula – five years, $25 million
2013-2014 stats: 18 goals, 18 assists, 12 power play points, 88 shots
Though he was quiet last night, Filppula has been one of the season’s pleasant surprises. After a very disappointing 2013 campaign, Filppula has replaced Vinny Lecavalier and then some.
Vincent Lecavalier – five years, $22.5 million
2013-2014 stats: 9 goals, 9 assists, 8 power play points, 68 shots
Lecavalier started off strong but has not played well after sitting out with a back injury. This contract was a mistake at the time, and it remains one now.
Mikhail Grabovski – one year, $3 million
2013-2014 stats: 12 goals, 20 assists, 8 power play points, 61 shots
Grabovski has proven to be a bargain, but he was a high-risk, high-reward signing for sure. Someone will make a big mistake overpaying him this summer.
Mike Ribeiro – four years, $22 million
2013-2014 stats: 11 goals, 21 assists, 9 power play points, 7 shots
Ribeiro has produced pretty much as expected. He’s not a game-changer, but that contract doesn’t look too bad.
Ryane Clowe – five years, $24.25 million
2013-2014 stats: 1 goal, 6 assists, 29 hits, 15 penalty minutes
Clowe hasn’t been healthy all year and this deal is definitely looking like a disaster, although Clowe has been heating up lately. The Rangers reportedly wanted badly to retain Clowe, but wouldn’t go above a certain price, and it looks like the right choice.
Clarke MacArthur – two years, $5.5 million
15 goals, 18 assists, 9 power play points, 93 shots, 66 hits
MacArthur has been one of the NHL’s best bargains. MacArthur flew under the radar a bit, but he’s having a great year and is exactly the type of player the Rangers could have used. They never showed much interest, but MacArthur has made a lot of teams look foolish for not chasing him.
Tyler Bozak – five years, $21 million
2013-2014 stats: 7 goals, 12 assists, 4 power play points, 38 hits, 29 shots
Bozak has missed half the year with injuries, but he’s producing at nearly a point-per-game clip when he’s been healthy. I’m still skeptical this contract will pay off long-term, but Bozak has been very good so far.
Bryan Bickell – four years, $16 million
2013-2014 stats: 6 goals, 2 assists, 61 hits, 47 shots
Like several of the underwhelming guys on this list, Bickell has missed time with injury. Nevertheless, he’s been a big disappointment for the Blackhawks this year – one of the few they have. Bickell was tempting after his monster playoff run, but this is a bullet dodged.
Danny Briere – two years, $8 million
2013-2014 stats: 7 goals, 6 assists, 3 power play points, 54 shots
There are already rumblings that Montreal would like to get out from underneath this dreaded 35+ contract. Briere is just not the same player at age 36.
Mason Raymond – one year, $1 million
2013-2014 stats: 12 goals, 16 assists, 9 power play points, 97 shots
There was no risk here, but Raymond has been a very nice addition for the Maple Leafs. I know Raymond is kind of a one-dimensional guy, but I’m still surprised he didn’t get a better deal.
There are definitely some “hits” on this list, but for the most part the big fish from the 2013 summer UFA class have been underwhelming. Instead of being big spenders, the Rangers chose to keep Brad Richards around for one more year. He’s responded with 35 points (12 goals, 23 assists) to lead the club. That’s more than every player here but Filppula, so it sure looks like GM Glen Sather made the right call (knock on wood, as long as Richards stays healthy).
*All stats entering Tuesday’s action