Rangers Acquire Defenseman Justin Falk From Wild

Per the New York Rangers' official website, the Rangers have acquired defenseman Justin Falk from the Minnesota Wild in return for Ben Ferriero and Columbus' 6th round pick in the 2014 draft. 

Falk, 24, has one goal and 14 assists in 108 regular season games with the Minnesota Wild. Ferreiro, 26, was acquired from the Penguins last season in return for Chad Kolarik and had one assist in four games as a Ranger. The 6th round pick was acquired from Columbus in the Gaborik trade.

Justin Falk is everything you'd expect Glen Sather, a big fan of reclamation projects, to be all over. Falk, at 6'5, 215 pounds, is an absolutely huge defenseman with a long reach and all the tools to be a capable NHL defenseman. However, he has not been able to put it all together. Despite his monster frame, Falk does not play an overly physical game and perhaps relies on his reach too much. At the risk of immediately turning off Rangers fans to this trade, he is pretty similar to Marek Malik. 

So what's to like here? For starters, he's a clear-cut upgrade over Hamrlik and Gilroy. Of course, that says very little about Falk himself, but we saw last season just how desperate Tortorella was for a better option on the back-end once injuries struck down a couple guys. 

There's also the fact that Falk has age on his side. Defensemen, and ESPECIALLY big defensemen, peak much later than forwrds; usually around 27-28 years old. Zdeno Chara, for instance, didn't really own up to anything close to his potential until his mid-twenties. The implication here is not that Justin Falk is going to develop into anything close to Zdeno Chara. But at 24, Falk still has a couple years to find his game. With commitment from Falk, the right coaching, and perhaps a bit of luck, Falk very well could develop into a steady, stay-at-home #5 defenseman. Surely Jeff Beukeboom will be spending some time with Falk at training camp, and if Ulf Samuelsson does become a part of Vigneault's coaching staff then he is another great person to teach Falk how to utilize his size. 

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