The biggest problem for the Rangers this season has been creating offense beyond the scoring of Marian Gaborik. The team showed a flash of getting past this last game as they exploded for six goals against the Canadiens. It would be way premature to think that the club’s season long scoring woes have been solved by the fact that they are now a healthy team having returned Vinny Prospal from injury and having added Erik Christensen (who has been a pleasant surprise so far offensively) to the mix but it does look like they are moving in the right direction.
Over the last few days, there have been many reports of the Rangers’ interest in players under contract with other clubs. Names like defenseman Sheldon Souray of Edmonton, center Peter Mueller of Phoenix and Tampa Bay’s star pivot Vinny Lecavalier have all been mentioned as possible (and in Lecavalier’s case, probably unattainable) targets for Glen Sather and Co. While all of these players have had lackluster years, each of them could be impact players should they be moved by their current clubs and would still bring a bounty of young players or picks in return. This is probably not the best move for the Blueshirts at this time as they have been able to build a strong core with their young assets and surrendering any of them for these players might turn out to be a huge setback for the future in the name of winning now.
Earlier today, TSN reported that the Minnesota Wild have placed veteran winger and former Ranger Petr Sykora on waivers. The 33-year old has had an injury-riddled season since signing a one year, $1.6 million dollar contract with the Wild as an unrestricted free agent last summer. In 14 games, he has compiled two goals and one assist but has missed a total of 29 games with groin and concussion issues. If Sykora is not claimed, Minnesota can send him to the minors or place him on re-entry waivers where he could be claimed at half the price of his contract. Sykora had 16 goals and 15 assists in 40 games with the Rangers during the 2005-2006 season.
Sykora is a high energy player and a proven sniper who could give the Rangers a short term spark and not cost the team the assets it would take to bring in a bigger name. While Sykora’s current run of injuries could be cause for concern, it might be worth the risk if the team could get him at half salary on re-entry waivers (like the way they re-acquired Sean Avery from Dallas last season). The fact that the Rangers have yet to demote Wade Redden and his suffocating cap hit to Hartford to open up cap room signals that Sather believes this team does not need a huge move at the deadline (Lecavalier, Illya Kovalchuk, Dion Phaneuf) to make a playoff run but even he can see that this team needs another proven scorer. Taking a flier on Sykora would possibly provide that scorer without mortgaging the future.