The Right Defensemen Conundrum

Okay, so it’s not really a “conundrum” per se, but for entertainment purposes lets say the Rangers need to acquire a d-man to play the right side, since they will likely have four left handed defensemen (Staal, McDonagh, MDZ, Erixon) and perhaps three right handed defensemen (Girardi, Sauer, Gilroy) come training camp.

I am going to follow Dave’s brilliant format from his post, “The Left Wing Conundrum,” and talk about the three routes the Rangers can go in filling this need (in-house, free agency, or trade). For the purpose of cap permutations, I am also going to pretend that Brad Richards will be on the roster.

Now before you all go crazy with the comments, let me clearly state this post does not include ideas of poaching other teams’ franchise players or all-star talent. This is a quasi-realistic look at what the Rangers can acquire without sacrificing youth and/or cap space.


The Likely Candidate: To be honest, I don’t really see any internal candidates aside from Gilroy, and my gut tells me he’ll be traded for either a pick in this draft, a forward, or perhaps the rights to Brad Richards.

The Other Possibilities: Dylan McIlrath. He’s still likely two years away according to the “experts.”

The Dark Horse: Brian Leetch…just kidding, but I do wonder sometimes how he’d look next to Staal.

Free Agency

The Likely Candidate: Ed Jovanovski. I know he’s a left handed shooter, but he’s been playing the right side for years. He’s 34, but he still got it done for Phoenix and he helped out Yandle immensely.

Other Possibilities: Ian White. The little guy never put it all together in Toronto or San Jose, but he still has offensive upside and he’s just 26.

The Dark Horse: Anton Babchuk. The Flames would be idiots if they didn’t resign the 27 year old, but this is the Flames we are talking about. Babchuk has a great shot from the point and can trigger the rush. He could come at a slight discount, since everyone will likely be chasing and overpaying for Christian Erhoff, Tomas Kaberle, etc.


The Likely Candidate: Fedor Tyutin. His name has been linked to the Rangers far too often for me not to mention it. I never really cared for his game when he was with the Rangers to be honest. Why? He’s unspectacularly average. What the hell does that mean? I don’t know, but Sean Avery is spectacularly average.

Ahh now you get it!

The Other Possibilities: John-Michael Liles (30 years old). He’s a bit expensive ($4.2M), but he’s only got a year left on his contract with Colorado. Hey $4 mill for 45 points isn’t bad for a d-man. Joe Corvo. Four teams in 6 seasons is odd, but you have to admit, the dude puts up points (he’s topped 40 a few times). Drawback is he’s not great in his own end. He’s also 33, but he too has only one year left on his contract ($2.2M).

The Dark Horse: Corey Sarich. He’s more of a heavy hitter, stay-at-home guy for the Flames, but if McDonagh, MDZ, and Erixon turn out to be our puck rushers, can’t hurt to have another guy who can clear the crease too. Sarich has one year left at $3.6M. The Flames don’t have a whole lot of cap space, so I don’t think he’d cost us much. Sarich is 32.

The Final Word:

If I were a gambling man, I’d bet that Gilroy gets traded to Dallas so Glen has a nice window to negotiate a deal with Brad Richards. After Richards gets locked up, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Glen then offer Jovanovski a contract or trade for some other veteran defensemen on a one year deal. If none of the above happens, I wouldn’t be opposed to that either. But it wouldn’t make for a very interesting post 🙂

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  • I would be pretty shocked to see Sather sign/acquire any player making over (let’s say) $1.5M on D. Of all the guys you mentioned, only the UFAs sound somewhat intriguing, but they are ones that will be on the open market and likely to get contracts too rich for a team looking for a bottom-pair guy.

    Simply, this team needs to spend on forwards that can score, not on a 5th/6th D.

    • You need to look no further than what the Rangers did last year to get a grasp of their game plan. Eminger was brought in to dump Voros and provide depth. Drury and Redden aren’t going anywhere so that won’t happen this year. If the Rangers haven’t filled the hole at PP QB by next years trade deadline then you may expect to see another McCabe-esque trade but that’s it.

  • First off, don’t expect the Rangers to try to fill this hole immediately, the unemployment line for aged defencemen is becoming a big one and there will likely be many FA options available leading into training camp. This is due in large part to the trend around the league as teams continue to get younger in order to maintain cap flexibility. The Rangers will be kicking veterans such as McCabe and Eminger to the curb and will not be the only team trying to get younger.

    If Gilroy accepts the pay cut the Rangers offer him then I think he will be given the opportunity to earn the spot in training camp. I highly doubt (and hope) the Rangers will go for a veteran to plug in such as a Jovonovski, Montador, White, or even Eminger. I also have a difficult time envisioning Slats trading anything of value for a defencemen that won’t play in the top four therefore I think a trade of any significance is unlikely.

    I would bet my house that Babchuk is the type of guy that Slats will target if he becomes available. Young, Big, good shot, but his contract demands are anyone’s guess. He’s your guy.

  • Can’t disagree, of course if I threw Weber’s name in that post, everyone would have like 20 trade proposals…it’s still early

  • off topic but can someone remind me why brad richards is such a slam dunk to ignite gabby and create a legit 1st line? because I can just as easily (more easily?) see that going south. You can’t predict chemistry seems a little crazy to bet a long term 7 million contract on it.

    Great post btw. Agreed on babchuck of course but I think sarich may be the more interesting idea here – I think the fans would love him, and henrik might agree too

  • Oh man does it really matter? I have a feeling that if anything at all Rangers go for babchuk and that’s about it. It’s not the worst thing in the world to have two same handed D-Men on the same line. I’ve seen it work before.

    • Of course its not a big deal, but either you think Gily will start, or you think they’ll bring in someone else. And if they bring in someone else, as I think they will, these are the realistic options, not Gologoski (as someone said yesterday) not Weber, or any other big time d-men.

  • Suit: The expedient choice is Sarich, nasty on occasion, about Sauer’s size and predictable to tidy in all three zones. Is he a UFA or RFA?

    (Seems Slats has picked up with the new Flames GM [Jay Feister?] right where he left off with the deposed Sutter.)

    Though if Zach Bogosian shoots/plays the right side, and his cap hit isn’t an issue he’d be a great fit. Wonder how he’s feeling about Winterpeg.

    • Bogosian would be a great addition, but I can’t see these new Winnipeg owners trading away young talent. Sure we don’t know these new owners yet, but my hunch is that they will try to make them a good team by locking up their young core.

      Sarich has one year left on his contract. Then I believe he will be a UFA next year. And I totally agree with you. It’s time to feast on Feister!

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