Since the passing of Derek Boogaard, the Rangers indicated they would like to have another enforcer in the lineup so that Brandon Prus, who made impressive strides in other areas last season, wouldn’t have to play the role of fighter so much going into next season.
It looks as if the Rangers have found their man, signing former Devil & Penguin Mike Rupp to a three-year, $4.5 million dollar deal as their first free-agent acquisition of the 2011 offseason.
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Personally, I like Mike Rupp. He’s a stand-up guy, will protect his teammates, and be a good solider for your team. After seeing him on 24/7 last year with the Penguins, he also had a pretty good sense of humor. Not to forget, Rupp has a Stanley Cup-clinching goal on his resume. However, as has been the case the last 3 offseasons consectuively, the Rangers overpaid for an “enforcer.” The word going around was that Rupp had as many as 10 teams after his services, prompting the Rangers to overpay to get their man.
The deal isn’t terrible; it comes in at $1.5 million per year, which is less than what they had signed Boogaard for last offseason. This looks like the end for Ruslan Fedotenko’s tenure with the Rangers. Not sure how they can bring him back with Rupp on board and the Rangers looking to incorporate more youth in to the team.
I think the Rangers will grow to love Rupp once he starts beating on the opposition and protecting Henrik Lundqvist.