New Rangers round out much-needed depth

Pouliot is one of those signings people will love (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images).
Pouliot is one of those signings people will love (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images).

During the free agent frenzy, the Rangers added just three depth players, and spent less than $3 million in the process. All the big names went elsewhere for a significant amount of money, so it was refreshing that the organization decided to fill depth holes and not chase big money guys. After acquiring Justin Falk, Danny Syrvet, and Danny Kristo in trades, the Rangers signed Dominic Moore, Aaron Johnson, and Benoit Pouliot.

Pouliot and Moore –who sat out last season while tending to his late-wife’s cancer– are both on cheap deals to help address the fact that the Rangers really haven’t been able to roll four lines that much. With Arron Asham and Darroll Powe on waivers, the two new additions will likely slide into a bottom-six role with the club. On paper, they appear to be upgrades, and address the tertiary scoring needs.

Pouliot, as we noted after the signing, is one of the best in P/60, posting a whopping 2.49 P/60 at even strength. That is better than such names as Lecavalier, Hossa, Kessel, Moulson, Couture, Stepan, and Perry. The 26-year old winger put up 20 points in 34 games last season, which is on pace for a 48-point season over 82 games.

Looking at his shot metrics, Pouliot posted an 8.6 RCorsi, showing he drove puck possession while with Tampa Bay. His Corsi Rel QoC of .290 and OZone start percentage of 49.2% shows that he not only drove puck possession, but does so against decent competition. His player usage chart shows that he was used primarily as a hybrid shut down/two-way forward. When you combine that with his 2.49 P/60, you have a very well-rounded player that will provide much-needed tertiary scoring to a third line sorely in need of an offensive touch.

As for Moore, many will look to his 18 goal season in 2010-2011 and his 40 point season in 2008-2009 and assume that he can be used as a tertiary scoring forward. However, expecting Moore to contribute like that –when he’s more of a 20-30 point forward– is a bit unfair. Moore will likely be used as a fourth line forward in a shutdown role, much like the way San Jose used him in 2011-2012. The Sharks deployed Moore against good competition (.657 Corsi Rel QoC) in a relatively defensive-minded role (42.35 OZone starts). Moore didn’t drive puck possession (-6.4 RCorsi), but this is relatively common for those in this role. Since this is the role that AV will use Moore, we should expect the same.

As for Aaron Johnson, his last full season in the NHL was 2011-2012, when he put together a line of 3-13-16 with Columbus. His peripherals (.075 Corsi Rel QoC, -1.7 RCorsi, 43.2% OZone starts) aren’t impressive, but they aren’t weak either. He’s likely ahead of someone like Danny Syvret on the depth chart, but someone like Justin Falk would likely slide ahead of him, just outside the top-six. He provides nice depth as the #8 defenseman.

One of the biggest questions for the Rangers heading into the offseason was how Slats would address the depth issues the Rangers have faced over the past few seasons. With three trades and three signings, the Rangers appear to be all set with their bottom-six forwards and depth defensemen. The roster was pretty much set after the decision to keep Brad Richards, and now the loose ends are being tied up.

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  • Considering that Sather had a very limited amount of money to work with, BR screw up, I believe that he did a pretty good job of meeting team needs!

    Look, we know that Callie, and Hags both won’t start the season, the trade for Kristo, and signing of FA Pouliot, were very sound moves. Moore is a good fourth line man, very good PKer, and should pitch in a little O, another good move. Ridding us of Powe, Asham, Christan also were well thought out moves. The only issue is that Pyatt is still around, that is a waste of a roster spot, and payroll.

    Getting Falk, and Johnson gives Slats the ability to rid us of Hamerlik, and Gilroy, is great. I’m not too keen on letting Eminer go, but there are just so many slots to fill, and maybe the numbers are working against Steve.

    I’m excited at the prospect that the kids will get their chance to earn a roster spot. I believe that Miller, Kreider, and Lindberg will skate on this team, and possibly the Kristo kid as well, to start the season. Yes this team is a bit soft, but lets see how things develope, and address that issue should it become a problem during the season.

    • Pyatt played for AV in Vancouver and scored 49 goals in 3 seasons. AV probably wants him around. Hopefully his game will be better this year.

      • We all do if he is going to play for us, but I can’t see that being the case, especially with the lack of any speed!!!

  • I’m somewhat confused as to why we waived Powe and signed Moore? Aren’t they basically the same player? 4th liners/ penalty killers who will put up minimal offense. I’m not saying I’d rather have Powe, it just seemed confusing. Both players would cost about the same (Powe- $1,066,667; Moore- $1,000,000) and have one year left on their contract.

    If Moore is the better player then I understand, but if they are relatively equal in ability and fill the same role, why bother? The move brings us one roster player closer to the 50 person organizational roster cap which we had an issue with last year.

    Thanks in advance for clarifying.

    • Moore adds much more offensive punch than Powe. Powe is probably slotted in for the 13th/14th role, but that depends on how Moore plays. Remember, he’s been out for a year.

      Powe/Asham aren’t gone, they weren’t claimed. They were waived to create temporary cap room.

      • How does waiving a player create cap room if that player is not claimed? I thought the new CBA ended this practice of stowing a bad contract – without cap ramifications – in the AHL.

        • I’m also fuzzy on this. Obviously, not all AHL contracts factor into the NHL roster cap of 64.3 mil, but which ones do? Which ones will give the NHL club cap ramifications if the player is moved to the AHL? Does it have to do with the player signing a 1 way vs 2 way contract?

          In other words, we can move Asham or Powe down to the AHL to make cap space, but can’t do the same to Richards in order to bury him and his contract like we did to Redden. Why?

        • If they were to go over the cap, they can send them to the AHL, creating extra cap room. This is just done during the season.

          They waived them in the offseason to see if there were any takers, this time around there were not.

          Keep in mind that since it is the summer, teams are allowed to spend 10% over the cap ceiling, up to $70m. They only need to be under $64.3m when the season starts.

  • I would like to get tougher too, down on the 4th line.

    Do we still have Haley? He won’t play every night obviously but he could be one of those call-ups we make when we play Philly, Islanders, Penguins, etc. … kinda like a Bickel.

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