After making only a tiny ripple during the first few hours with their signing of tough guy/cheap shot artist/scourge of Ranger fans Donald Brashear to a 2 year 2.8 million dollar pact, The Rangers made the big splash in the free agency pool that everyone had been waiting for later in the day when the team agreed to terms with superstar winger Marian Gaborik on a 5 year 37.5 million dollar deal to bring him to the Garden.
The Brashear signing was met with mostly anger and disbelief from the blueshirt faithful as this was the same player who ended Blair Betts season prematurely during last year’s playoffs with a cheap shot elbow that broke Betts’ orbital bone. Brashear has been a lightning rod for controversy in the past with his endless taunts and late hits of Rangers players such as Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan and others. GM Glen Sather explained the signing of this seemingly past his prime, one dimensional enforcer as a necessity after losing fan favorite and character guy Colton Orr to the Maple Leafs (4 years @ 1 million per) earlier in the day.
The bigger and more welcomed news came as the frenzy of early signings seemed to be slowing down, The Rangers announced they had come to terms with the Minnesota Wild’s all time leading scorer, winger Marian Gaborik on a 5 year deal. Gaborik is one of the NHL’s fastest and most dynamic talents and is a threat to score every time he is on the ice(a component the Rangers haven’t had since the departure of Jagr). The only question mark concerning Gaborik is his history of hip and groin injuries which have kept the mercurial winger out for extended periods over the last few seasons. According to GM Sather, the team has been in touch with the surgeon who performed Gaborik’s hip surgery (the same doctor who performed A-Rod’s surgery) last season and also had their doctor’s look over the reports and everything came up clear before they decided to make the commitment. Gaborik is a world class talent who has scored 40 goals in a season once and reached the 30 goal plateau in 5 of his 8 professional seasons. If he can stay healthy, he brings to the Garden a dynamic one on one presence that will excite the fans and put pucks in the net on a consistent basis. He is a game changing forward. If the injuries persist and Gaborik can’t stay out of the trainer’s room, this will be a long season and the Rangers might be stuck with another albatross of a contract but all indications and hope from the front office point towards the opposite being the case.