Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

It almost sounds strange to say, but Daniel Carcillo has been a welcomed addition to the New York Rangers hockey club. Once public enemy #1 after smacking the bejesus out of Marian Gaborik, Carcillo has brought some sandpaper to an otherwise vanilla team.

Back in December, before Sather traded for Carcillo, I wrote the Rangers needed to acquire a player with some grit to their game. Since his acquisition, the Rangers seem to have a different dynamic. Given, a lot has clicked since those dog days of winter, but Carcillo’s game shouldn’t be undersold.

He’s been good on the forecheck, he’s drawn more penalties than he’s taken, and he’s 4th on the team in hits per game. Most importantly, Carcillo has avoided the box. He has only 8 minors this season. Continuing this narrative will be important come playoff time when bottom six players always seem to grab the spotlight.

From a cost perspective, guys like Carcillo aren’t very expensive. This season he’ll be hitting free agency at age 29 coming off a two year $825k (per year) deal. Another one or two year contract with perhaps a $100-200k raise would be a low risk signing for a guy who has brought more to the table than Taylor Pyatt, Arron Asham, Stu Bickel, etc.

Aside from money, when you look up and down our roster, there isn’t a lot of grit. Dorsett is obviously our #1 grinder, but his injury history is extensive. You need someone else on the roster who can go hard when called upon.

The only other forwards in the entire org who even play that type of game are Kyle Beach and Michael Haley, but neither can be counted on as full time NHLers, especially considering our 4th line takes on the bulk of the defensive responsibility. Carcillo has more than held his own in that regard.

He may not sell as many jerseys as Avery once did, or have as many Twitter followers as Paul Bissonnette, but Carcillo has an important job on this club. And as my boy John Tortorella once told a fellow 4th liner, “if you do your job, you’re gonna love it here.”

Maybe it’s about time the Garden faithful return the favor and give some love back to Carcillo, because he has done his job here, and he’s done it effectively.