Free Agency Losses: How will they fare?September 17, 2016, by
Acquiring fresh faces for your team usually results in endless discussion about the players ceiling of impact. A fan learns all they can about the player and their ideal fit in with the team. In the case of a trade, one may notice what left the team for the new player. Otherwise, it’s mostly focus on the new, out with the old.
The Rangers lost some players this offseason to free agency (or basically free agency, in the case of Keith Yandle), who were considered peripheral players that were, well, replaceable. So, what about these players futures?
Dominic Moore centered the fourth line for the past three seasons, spanning a Stanley Cup final with one of the best celebrations ever along with an underperforming team last year. The 36-year-old center started his career in Rangers blue, so it was a romantic idea for him to retire where he began. Instead, he recently signed a one-year deal with the Boston Bruins.
How will Dom fit in with the hard-nosed Boston squad? Moore was always a physical player who wasn’t blessed with incredible offensive skill, but don’t let that fool you. Streaks of production and a great work ethic mean that, when placed on a line with equal or greater talent, he can be a difference maker. Boston has made some questionable transactions in recent history, but this move makes sense. Cheap and short term, it’s commitment-free and a veteran presence that should benefit both the club and the player.
Another fourth line player who found himself on the other side of a forward party in New York is Viktor Stalberg. Stalberg, who seemed more suitable for a third line role, was only with the Rangers for one year, netting 20 points through 75 games. Despite somewhat low production, Stalberg was fast, something which seemed to delight Alain Vigneault.
Stalberg signed with Carolina for one year, where he could play an important role on a rebuilding team. Several of the players are young, with Jordan Staal acting as a veteran presence in a leadership role. They have highly touted defensive players in Justin Faulk and Noah Hanifin, along with former Ranger Lee Stempniak who had a great 2015-16 season. For Stalberg, who was in the AHL prior to coming to the Rangers, this could be a place for him to settle in and be a consistent producer.
Other 2015-16 Rangers who will debut elsewhere are the oft-discussed Yandle, who will be playing with a young, dangerous Florida team, and Derick Brassard, traded in July to his hometown Ottawa Senators. Brassard will be playing alongside Bobby Ryan, sometimes considered an underperformer (certainly by USA hockey brass) on what should be an explosive, outrageously talented line. Knowing how well Brassard settles into the bright lights of a larger market, he should be just fine north of the border.
We’ll get our first look at these players in their new sweaters on October 26 (Moore), October 28 (Stalberg) November 20 (Yandle), and November 27 (Brassard) as the season begins."Free Agency Losses: How will they fare?",