From the 1st day of this season, fans of the Rangers pleaded for General Manager Glen Sather to deal the high-priced veterans on the club who no longer could help them out in return for some young players and draft picks to quicken a hopefull rebuilding process that most fans would like to see take place.
It took until March 1st for the Rangers to finally make a deal that could actually help them out in the future, by dealing soon-to-be UFA Eric Lacroix to the Ottawa Senators in return for 25 year old, 6’4 215 pound Colin Forbes. Although Forbes is not known for his offensive abilities, he’s a nice sparkplug for the 4th line who mucks it out in the corners and plays a physical game. Forbes has looked pretty good in his 2 games so far as a Ranger, and I am already liking him better than Eric Lacroix.
But the better deal came today, March 5th, as the Rangers traded 36 year old defenseman Alexei Gusarov to the St. Louis Blues for 22 year old Slovak defenseman Peter Smrek. I love this deal for the Rangers. Smrek is a solid two-way defenseman who has the potential to put up 10 goals and 20 assists in the NHL. He has spent the majority of this season with the Worcester Ice Cats of the AHL, posting 2 goals and 6 assists in 47 games this season, to go along with 69 penalty minutes. In 6 games with the St. Louis Blues, he has registered 2 goals and 2 penalty minutes. To put things in a different perspective, the Rangers acquired Alexei Gusarov from the Colorado Avalanche in December for a 5th round pick. So in reality, we give up a 5th round pick for Peter Smrek. I woul Read more»
Stephen Valiquette- Right before a foot injury, the man they call
young prospect should play the game of hockey, especially in
this era of a defence-first NHL, they could do worse than use
the Brampton Battalion’s Jay McClement as an example. The 18
year-old native of Kingston, Ontario has exhibited hockey smarts
and attention to defensive detail not often seen in a player
this young, combined with a steadily improving offensive game.
DEFENSIVE ZONE: When he’s not actually going behind the
defenceman’s position in front of the net. When he sees that the
opposing forwards have been tied up, he will be the third man in
and gain possession of the puck. Earlier in the season Jay was a
very conservative, safety-first player who would dump the puck
out of danger into the neutral zone. As the season has
progressed, he has started to make outlet passes, work the give
and go, and make the rush out of the zone. On occasion he has
calmly taken the puck behind his own net to start the transition
game, as if he had been playing defence for the past ten years.
penalty-kill, McClement does a good job of making an obstacle of
himself. He will either block the shot or force the point-man to
shoot around him, ensuring that the point-blast does not become
a shot on goal.