Lee Stempniak is the New York Rangers latest free agent signing. Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

New York Rangers Adding Balance To Lineup

The New York Rangers are working on adding balance and depth to their lineup lost in free agency. I’ve written in my last few posts ad nauseam about the lack of balance in the New York Rangers lineup. It’s vital to the strategies Alain Vigneault wants his forwards to play with to generate offense. Today it was announced the New York Rangers have agreed to terms with free agent forward Lee Stempniak.

The New York Rangers needed right-handed shots to at least keep the defense honest. Last season Derek Stepan and Derick Dorsett were the only two righties in the lineup and we all know Dorsett wasn’t playing on the power play. One right-handed shot on the power play handcuffs the five players trying to convert. This is why after the Olympic break the power play went into a funk and never recovered.


The New York Rangers converted on twelve percent of their power plays in the playoffs. Had it worked better in the finals it could have changed the outcome of some of those close games. They added Chris Mueller whose twenty-eight years old but hasn’t yet played fifty games in the National Hockey League. He’s a right-handed centerman that’s versatile enough to play either wing as well. A savvy hockey move by Glen Sather and  his staff and scouts certainly had a lot to do with that acquisition.

When Alain Vigneault was first introduced he stressed the importance of  balance of right and left-handed shots. With free agency this summer the New York Rangers are addressing that with some smart low risk signings like Stempniak and Lombardi.


[related-caregory]Once Mats Zuccarello, Derick Brassard, and Chris Kreider are signed, the New York Rangers lineup should be full. Trades or other free agent signings not withstanding the New York Rangers still have two lefty wingers on the top line. It could work if Chris Kreider can switch with Rick Nash and play the right-wing or his off wing. The best bet would be if management found one more right-handed shot. For my money Devin Setoguchi is an available unrestricted free agent the Winnipeg Jets have not made an offer to as of yet. He’s coming off a three-year nine million dollar contract that he didn’t live up to at all. He was signed to that contract in 2011 by the Minnesota Wild after being acquired from the San José Sharks. He scored thirty-six points in sixty-nine games played in his first season with the Minnesota Wild. During the lockout shortened 12/13 season However, he was relegated to the East Coast Hockey league where he played in ten games until the NHL returned. He played all forty-eight games scoring only twenty-seven points and it only got worse from there. He hasn’t played well since leaving San José where he was a very promising young talent. A move back to a contender like the New York Rangers might just resurrect his career. The same as the fourth overall draft bust Benoit Pouliot before he came to New York that is. The New York Rangers made a couple good solid moves in free agency with very little to work with and even less money to spend. They could still use a big centerman so they can compete with the likes of the Los Angeles Kings and Boston Bruins. There’s not enough money left if they plan on resigning all of their restricted free agents. So a trade might be in the works for such a player. This coming week will be telling the direction of this team plans on going into the near future. Our own staff writer has been in contact with the NY Rangers twitter account

New York Rangers Restricted Free Agents arbitration hearing dates Chris Kreider-7/23  Mats Zuccarello-7/25  Derick Brassard-7/28

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Tags: Chris Kreider Depth Lee Stempniak Lombardi Mats Zuccarello New York Rangers

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