Rangers’ Waiver Draft Protection List Analysis

By Brandon LeBourveau
The NHL released the protection lists for the upcoming Waiver Draft on
Friday, and there are a few players left available by the Rangers who might
get taken. Here is a look at the list of protected and unprotected players.
Teams were allowed to protect 18 skaters and 2 goalies from their crop of
waiver-eligible players.

Protected Players: Jason Doig, Radek Dvorak, Theoren Fleury, Adam Graves, Jan
Hlavac, Kim Johnsson, Valeri Kamensky, Eric Lacroix, Brian Leetch, Sylvain
Lefebvre, Vladimir Malakhov, Sandy McCarthy, Mark Messier, Petr Nedved,
Stephane Quintal, Tim Taylor, Johan Witehall, Mike York, Kirk McLean, Mike

Available Players: Derek Armstrong, Drew Bannister, Jason Dawe, Ken
Gernander, Daniel Goneau, Mike Harder, Johan Lindbom, John MacLean, Jan
Mertzig, Rich Pilon, Brad Smyth, Ronnie Sundin, Terry Virtue, David Wilkie,
Jean-Francois Labbe

Analysis: I’m very surprised to see the Rangers exposed JF Labbe for the
Waiver Draft. I know there was no way to protect him, but, he will probably
get taken. The Rangers are hoping they play their cards right and Labbe
doesn’t get taken, but In my opinion I think they should have dealt him for a
draft choice instead of taking a chance on losing him for nothing. If Labbe
does get selected, than 22 year old Swede Johan Holmqvist will get back-up
duty to start the season with Kirk McLean. I haven’t heard anything yet on
whether Labbe (if passed up in draft) or Holmqvist will be the definite
back-up to McLean, but I believe it should be Holmqvist, as he has played
extremely well in my eyes, except for the 1st period against the Devils where
he allowed 3 goals in the first 4 minutes. He did redeem himself in that game
as he came back for the 3rd period and played great making some nice saves
that impressed me a lot. John MacLean’s days as a Ranger could be over, as a
team in need of a veteran forward might selected MacLean. Although if he
doesn’t get selected, he might lose his roster spot to a more deserving guy
like Johan Witehall (who I am glad they protected), Manny Malhotra or even
Pavel Brendl who had a great game last night in a 4-4 tie in Columbus as he
had 3 assists.

Not many players do change teams in the Waiver Draft, however it will
still be interesting to see how things turn out. Stay tuned Hockey fans..