With Michael Sauer, Roman Hamrlik, Matt Gilroy and Steve Eminger all likely not to be re-signed, Dylan McIlrath not ready for a full time role in the NHL just yet and Marc Staal's status in doubt, the Rangers should be in the market for a defenseman this summer and Scott Cullen at TSN says Ryan Whitney, Ron Hainsey or Marek Zidlicky could hold some appeal.
Whitney (30-yrs old) put up some big points his first three seasons (32g, 105a) in the NHL for the Penguins but knee and ankle injuries have kept him from duplicating those numbers. Whitney, who had 4g, 9a last season, just finished a contract with the Oilers that paid him $4 million per.
…obviously Whitney would need to take a huge pay cut, but he's a veteran who could spot start when the blueline gets banged up and/or Del Zotto inevitably struggles.
Hainsey (32-yrs old) hasn't scored in two years and has just 34 career goals. He is also a career -29. Hainsey just finished a contract with the Jets that paid him $4.5 million per.
…Hainsey doesn't score or hit. So how could he hold some appeal for the Rangers. Oh, he blocks a ton of shots? Apparently, Cullen doesn't know Torts is now coaching in Vancouver.
Finally, Zidlicky (36-yrs old), who just completed a three-year deal that paid him $4 million per, had 4g, 15a and was a -12 last season for the Devils. He has 176 (45g, 131a) power play points during his career.
…earlier in his career Zidlicky was a stud on the power play, now he's nothing more than serviceable with the extra man. But similar to Whitney, I'd feel comfortable plugging him in for a spot start.
…of the three, I'd be fine with Whitney or Zidlicky as a 6th/7th defenseman. Both would have to be willing to accept a lot less money as there's no way they should be offered more than $2.5 million per. Not sure Rangers could even afford that without buying out Richards. Especially if they want to bring back Clowe as well.