Irresponsible RumormongeringOffseason

Is the final piece of the puzzle Jason Arnott?

One name that has consistently popped up on Twitter in the search for the final pieces to the Rangers’ roster puzzle is that of 37-year-old center Jason Arnott.

Arnott seems like he’s been around forever, but the grizzled veteran still has some left in the tank.  He posted 17 goals and 17 assists in 72 games last season for the St. Louis Blues, respectable numbers for a team that struggled to score.  Arnott can’t carry an offense, but in a supporting role he is still capable of chipping in.

And of course, Arnott comes with a Stanley Cup winning pedigree.  The Rangers’ locker room is among the best in sports, but the team did lose some of its veteran leadership with the departures of Ruslan Fedotenko and Brandon Prust.  Arnott is one of the most respected players in the league and might be another voice worth adding for his invaluable postseason experience.

But is Arnott really a good fit?

As Steve Zipay noted and we’ve argued on Blue Seat Blogs, NHL teams can never have enough depth down the middle.  It’s an essential part of the recipe for success in hockey today.  However, the addition of Jeff Halpern has pretty much solidified New York’s pecking order at center.  Brad Richards, Derek Stepan, Brian Boyle and Halpern are all locks to occupy pivot roles this season, so it’s difficult to see where Arnott fits in.  Arnott has played some wing in his career and could be an attractive Plan B to Shane Doan, but there’s little doubt that he’s a natural center and the Rangers may believe they’re set at that position.

Arnott made $2.875 million last season and would probably have to accept an offer closer to $1 million to fit financially for New York.  The Blueshirts have committed roughly $56 million to the salary cap next season and still have to re-sign Michael Del Zotto, Anton Stralman and likely add another wing, be it a free agent or a youngster.  The 2011-2012 salary cap number of $64.3 million is very likely to be reduced under the new CBA, probably to the neighborhood of $60 million.  Money could get pretty tight in a hurry on Broadway and Arnott, who could surely command more money elsewhere, might be difficult to fit under the cap.

So while Arnott might sound like ideal addition, it could be very difficult for the Rangers to squeeze him under the salary cap and find a fit for him on the roster.
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  • If MDZ comes in at ~$3 Mil., and Stralman at ~$1.5 Mil., then the Rangers are bumping against that $60 Mil. cap, so this may be a no-go in any case.

  • Lets wait and see what the cap will be before we go sign any big named guys, and won’t be able to function under a reduced cap!

    Jason Arnott probably won’t sign for $1mil, he could get more elsewhere, and is getting on in age. He would be a nice addition, but lets go with a kid, Miller, and let him develope. This is the second time in two days that I mentioned Miller, I believe he is almost ready, and could be a nice 4th liner! Look how far he has come in one year!!!!

    • Absolutely agree. Let’s give one of the kids an opportunity. No need to go outside for a player with Arnott’s expectations (production). Grow from within.

  • Off topic on this thread, but just thought this.

    Could Scott Howson be to blame for the Rangers not make the cup finals? (i would say win, but the Kings probably would’ve beaten anyone)

    Apparently this deal that they just completed was offered up at the trade deadline and Howson clearly refused hopign to get more of a bounty back. Would a swap of Rick Nash for Artem Anisimov in the playoffs added a little more fire power? Dubinski missed a lot of the playoff season and Erixon didn’t play at all, so essentially the only difference would be Rick Nash for Artem Anisimov. Would that have accounted for a couple of more goals on the power play? Or 2 more wins against the Devils? Maybe an easier first round against the Senators. I know AA played well early in the playoffs and i don’t fault him at all, I was just reading that Howson settled on this deal and it made me wonder.

  • I would sign Arnott or Doan for a couple of years. Miller is only 19, and has played 1 year in juniors, he needs to perform in the AHL, and prove to the Rangers he is AHL ready before he gets a call up to the big club.

    He didn’t dominate the Juniors playing against 18-19 year olds. He would have done better playing in college against 20-22 year olds. JT will start for the Whale, if ready, lets see if he can score there first. Right now he hasn’t even put up Grachev numbers in the juniors yet.

    What makes you think he is NHL ready this year?

    • Just saw that. Unbelievably amazing. Everyone in the Atlantic Division has gotten sufficiently worse. Penguins lost Michaelik and Staal. 2 of their top 5 defensive players.

      Devils lost parise and team is getting old.

      Flyers dont have pronger, lost carle and jagr. Now no weber.

    • I don’t know about cup favorites, but they have to be favored to come out out the Conference and reach the Cup Finals.

  • You have to believe Philly is going to go all out to get Doan in the fold now. They almost have no choice.
    Arnott is a cheap insurance policy, not something more than a 3rd line support player.

    • But who looks more attractive to play for now? Doan is familiar with the entire coaching staff and the Rangers have not only a tremendous lineup, but the best goalie on the planet. Doan wants a CUP, so my guess is NY, LA, or Pittsburgh.

  • I brought this up on a couple message boards right after the Nash deal. Sather is now in a position to throw out some 1 year deals and put together a CUP contending team. No rookies are expected to be ready, so Arnott is an excellent 3rd line depth addition to push the team closer.

    If you consider that we were basically playing Bickel/Eminger at forwards at certain times, it is clear that there was zero forward depth. And that hurts us against the Devs as there bottom lines severely outplayed ours. We have around $13M (minus approx $4M for DZ & Stralman)… so Arnott should not cause any cap issues and he can still play. I am all for it, with or without Doan coming.

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