Earlier today the Rangers released their roster for the upcoming training camp. The only real surprise amongst the 44 players named was veteran defenseman Kyle McLaren. McLaren, 32, has played 12 seasons in the NHL amassing 207 points, 671 penalty minutes and a +27 rating in 719 career games. He is best known for his physical play (which some have called “dirty”) and his ability to clear the crease.
The Rangers had been linked to UFA’s Francis Bouillon and Dennis Seidenberg as low cost options throughout the summer but McLaren looks to be the one they have decided on taking a look at as either a sixth or seventh defenseman (possibly to team with impressive rookie Matt Gilroy on the third pair) giving them the stay at home gritty presence they desperately lack on the blue line.
For a look at the entire roster click here.
Expect more players (probably five or six including Evgeny Grachev and Mike Del Zotto) to be added following the upcoming Traverse City Prospect Tournament.
Analysis: McLaren is a player I always liked to watch during his time in Boston and San Jose and hoped that the Rangers would acquire a few years back. While he has had some injury problems as of late, I still believe he can be a productive defenseman even at age 32 and may be a low risk find for the Rangers and an important cog in the defense should he make the club in camp. Good move by Sather taking a chance with a gritty veteran.
UPDATE (9/11/09 3:20 PM): Kyle McLaren will not be attending Rangers training camp when it opens tomorrow as he is currently injured. The Rangers had hoped McLaren could bring a veteran presence and a physical dimension to the current group of blue liners but now they must look elsewhere.