The Rangers inked RFA winger Brendan Lemieux to a one-year, $925,000 deal earlier this week while the blog was down. It was relatively expected that he would sign for around that, since he didn’t have much of a track record or history. As per usual, I have some thoughts.
1. As mentioned, Lemieux didn’t have much leverage. He has just 72 games of NHL experience, with the majority of it coming this past season. His career line is 13-5-18. Yes he looked decent in his 19 games in New York last season, but that’s not enough to warrant a big contract, let alone a long term contract. This is a show me deal, and that’s perfectly fine by me.
2. I’d like to think that Jeff Gorton knew what he was doing when he brought in Micheal Haley on a PTO. If it were me, that would have been a direct message to Lemieux to sign the contract and get to camp, or else we can replace you. Sure, Haley is older and likely not as good, but it just added to the Blueshirts’ leverage.
3. Funny enough, I don’t think Lemieux’s spot is a guarantee. We like to think it is, especially since he would need to pass through waivers. But that doesn’t mean his spot in the lineup is guaranteed. He may find himself rotating as the 13F if he can’t beat out Boo Nieves. Heck, a strong camp from Phil Di Giuseppe might put his spot at risk.
4. Lemieux does have the makings of a fan favorite. His style of play is something the Rangers don’t really have, and if he can contribute then he’s going to be a valuable asset. When I say contribute, I mean more of the Sean Avery Part One, and not Sean Avery Part Two. Part One was a possession driver, agitator, and could put up points. Part Two was only one of those things.
5. Point #4 has a direct impact into his future with the Rangers. If he’s Avery Part Two, then he’s not going to be with this club for long. If he’s Part One, he’s only 23 years old and could be with the club for the foreseeable future. His type of player is valuable if he’s also contributing offensively and isn’t a black hole on the ice when he doesn’t have the puck. These are important aspects to the new NHL.