You can add the Rangers to the short list of teams interested in Paul Mara’s services. According to Katie Strang of ESPN New York, both the Islanders and Rangers have expressed interest in the 32-year-old defenseman. Reportedly, Mara has already turned down the Islanders’ try out offer. In fact, his agent has said Mara will not be going anywhere on a try out basis.
That last sentence is a bit scary to read. It’s also one of the few reasons why the Rangers should stay away from Paul Mara entirely.
Join me after the jump to find out why.
Paul Mara had a solid career in his 2+ seasons on Broadway. Never flashy, but Mara was a physical presence on the ice and a solid voice off it. He played with character and stuck up for teammates when called upon. Mara was also a part of the Rangers 06-07 team that made it to the Eastern Conference Semis only to lose to the Buffalo Sabres in 6 games (we all know how it ended).
That’s the good, now here’s a dose of reality; Paul Mara isn’t the same player anymore. Since leaving New York, Mara has bounced around Anaheim and Montreal, playing in limited games due to a shoulder surgery and, arguably, less than stellar play. In 3 seasons, he’s played a total of 95 games and is a combined -18.
We all know the Rangers have started their training camp a bit thin on the back line because of surprise injuries. Michael Sauer missed some time because of knee tendinitis and is just starting to skate. Marc Staal’s revelation of experiencing post-concussion symptoms from a hit from his brother Eric last February was completely out of left field. The only saving grace is that he’s been cleared by doctors to play but the Rangers are being ultra cautious with him (rightfully so).
We also know the Rangers are hoping youngsters like Tim Erixon, Michael Del Zotto, and maybe even Pavel Valentenko play their way on to the team. But, aside from Steve Eminger and Dan Girardi, the Rangers have no “veteran presence” on their defense. So it’s understood why they’re looking for some insurance/stabilization to round out their top 6.
What’s not understood is why it might be Paul Mara. I would be keen on him coming into camp on a try-out basis and having to prove his worth. But, since his contract demands include guaranteed money, coupled with his mediocre play, the Rangers can and should do better than Paul Mara.
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Tags: 2006-2007 NHL Eastern Conference Semi-Finals Anaheim Ducks Broadway Buffalo Sabres Dan Giraridi ESPN ESPN New York Marc Staal Concussion Michael Del Zotto Michael Sauer Montreal Canadiens New York Islanders New York Rangers Paul Mara Pavel Valentenko Steve Eminger Tim Erixon