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Rangers Sign Jeff Halpern

In a surprising move late Monday night the Rangers made their fourth free agent signing of the summer, reportedly inking 36-year-old Jeff Halpern to a one-year deal.

The big draw of Halpern (no pun intended) is that he won 58.4% of faceoffs in 2011-2012.  That was a major area of weakness for the Blueshirts a year ago.

With Brad Richards, Derek Stepan and Brian Boyle already on board, the Rangers are set down the middle.  Barring a trade – and this signing doesn’t mean New York will make one, Halpern is merely a depth player – this move all but ensures that both Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov will serve as wings next season.

Halpern spent last season with Washington, where he also spent the first six years of his career.  A veteran of five teams, Halpern’s career is winding down but he’s still an effective depth forward that blocks shots and can play against scoring lines.

Though he only managed four goals and 12 assists in 69 games last season, Halpern tallied 11 goals and 15 assists in 72 games with Montreal the year before, very respectable numbers for a bottom-line center.

Halpern qualifies as a dreaded over-35 signing, but if initial reports are true that he signed a one-year $700k deal, then this is a relatively harmless contract.

Halpern has averaged just over 12:30 of ice-time over the last two seasons. 1:44 of that came on the penalty kill for the Capitals last year.

However, the Capitals were apparently dissatisfied with Halpern’s play down the stretch and he was a scratch for 12 of the team’s final 15 games and participated in just two postseason games.

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  • The Rangers signed a center who has a positive corsi despite starting most possessions in his own zone and against hard competition. But more importantly, HE’S JEWISH!!!!!!!!!! I love this signing despite the fact that he’s 36 and only scored 4 goals last year and will be an incoherent fan of his until at least October

    • Which Boyle? The guy who couldn’t shoot for the first 65 games or the guy who scored 20+ and then came on like a beast down the stretch and into the playoffs until he got concussed? If it’s the latter he’s a 3rd line center, the former’s the 4th. It’s just food for thought.

  • Love the signing. Love it. He’s exactly what you want your 4th liner to be. Kills penalties, wins faceoffs and works hard. And even though his 3rd line days are behind him, he did manage 40+ points 3 times.

  • I would rather have a 21 y/o from the Whale as a 4th line center than this guy. Atleast we may get production out of a rookie. You know what you get from Halpern, and it isn’t much. Another lugging forward, who is slow and deliberate.

    • I agree 100% that Rangers need to utilize their existing talent next year – NO trades of youth. I believe that their (NYR mgmt) actions to date tell me they will not trade youth. They have brought in pieces (toughness- asham,haley….size in Pyatt….faceoff skill Halpern ) so that tells me they will build around guys like Kreider, JT Miller, Hags, and Stepan moving forward. They may still add some older vet for a 2-3 year buy but they will not trade their youth. But a Doan for a while that OK its only money.

  • This is a good signing. The Rangers where terrible on faceoffs. Halpern will also see some pk time and win defense zone draws on the Pk

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