Last week, Michael Russo at the Star Tribune reported that the Rangers have had talks with the recently amnestied Ryan Malone about a possible tryout or even signing.
My initial reaction to the report was…
Why would the Rangers be interested in a 34-year old player who scored a grand total of 15 points for the Lightning last season and has never in his 10-year career played an entire 82-game season?
Add in the fact that Malone was arrested in April on DUI charges and cocaine possession. Not exactly the guy we want running around the playground that is Manhattan. Remember Theo Fleury?
And I haven’t even mentioned the fact that the Rangers only have around $1.5 million in cap space depending on who makes the roster and still need to re-sign John Moore.
Thankfully, Dave at the Blue Seat Blogs pointed out to me that the Star Tribune article was published the day after the Rangers signed Kevin Hayes, so when Russo says the Rangers have “talked” (past tense) to Malone it likely meant Glen Sather was merely devising a backup plan in the event they weren’t able to land the Boston College product.
So, no Malone, right? Wrong…
Haven’t been able to confirm yet that Ryan Malone will be in Rangers camp on a tryout, but sounds like it’s happening.
— Rangers Report (@rangersreport) August 26, 2014
Listen, I’m all for competition in camp and it’s hard to not like Malone’s size, but if his long shot bid did come in, who exactly is he replacing?
While most of us wouldn’t mind seeing him knock Tanner Glass off the roster, do you really think the Rangers would commit three-years, $4.35M to the former Penguin and then send him down to Hartford without stepping foot on the ice for a regular season game? Plus, while he’d likely be able to handle it, not having Glass around would leave Mats Zuccarello as the team’s lone enforcer.
It obviously doesn’t hurt to bring him in for a tryout and if guys like Lee Stempniak and Matthew Lombardi completely fall on their face, Malone could find himself with a surprisingly realistic chance of making the roster. But even then, he’d still likely have to outplay youngsters such as Hayes, JT Miller, Oscar Lindberg, Jesper Fast and Ryan Haggerty to seriously be considered.
This sort of reminds me of back in 2008 when the Rangers invited Petr Nedved for a sympathy tryout. While the former Czechmate actually impressed during the preseason, he never really had a chance. Unless Malone finds a DeLorean to bring back the 2007 version of himself, I don’t see this as anything other than a good will gesture by Glen Sather as a possible favor to former Malone teammate Martin St. Louis.
Unless of course Sather is trying to match Steve Yzerman’s efforts to fill Tampa’s lineup with Rangers, by adding as many former Lightning players as possible to the Blueshirts roster.
There has also been some confusion as to whether the Rangers would even be able to sign Malone to a contract as Cap Geek has them at the 50 contract limit, but Jared at Rangers Unlimited did his homework finding out that according to the CBA, after signing J. Moore, the Rangers would be at 49 as Anthony Duclair’s contract, despite not sliding for the 2014-15 season, won’t take up one of their 50 contract spots.