Today’s article will focus on what the Rangers did during the opening days of free agency and how well it benefitted the team.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Brian Monzo, “NHL Live” on Sirius XM & WFAN 660 AM producer. Brian attended Kean University (my alma mater), graduating in 2005 with a Bachelor’s in Broadcast Communications.
Join me after the jump as we discuss the Brad Richards signing, what Mike Rupp means to the team, and more!
James: Give me your assessment of the Brad Richards signing for the Rangers. Was it a good deal in terms of money & years given?
Brian: The deal is long, there is no denying that. But the Rangers need to look at the present, and most importantly, is how many great years they will get from Henrik Lundqvist. He probably has 5-6 really great years left. The Rangers need to put a team that can win in front of him. Richards will and can help them win. He is that star center man they have been seeking for some time now. Granted, the last few years of this contract may be tough, if they win a Cup, it will be worth it.
James: We know the obvious needs that Richards fills coming here. No. 1 center, help on the PP etc. Do you agree with the notion this one move makes the Rangers cup contenders? Or is there still work left to be done?
Brian: There is always work for every team that needs to be done. But I think for the Rangers, that work is internally. Their drafting has been good, and the team just needs time to develop. Players like Chris Kreider, Dylan McIlrath, Christian Thomas and now J.T. Miller need their proper time to become NHL players. Artem Anisimov needs to become a 2nd liner center, Derek Stepan needs to be a consistent 20 goal guy, Michael Del Zotto needs to improve. You can always add pieces here and there, but it is the work done within that helps the team the most.
James: A move that went under the radar was the signing of ex-Devil Mike Rupp. It follows the pattern of the last few seasons where the Rangers bring in an enforcer. Do yo feel Rupp is a good fit for the Rangers?
Brian: I wouldn’t call it under the radar — I’d call it typical. The Rangers find these 3rd tier players and get the most out of them. The Rangers need to continue to stay strong and tough, and players like Rupp, Brandon Prust, Sean Avery and defenseman Michael Sauer all bring that aggression to the game. He has won before, and played on good teams. I think he can score 10-15 goals and mix it up when needed.
James: At the Richards conference call GM Glen Sather said he expects to sign all his RFA’s within the next few weeks. What other moves do you foresee the Rangers making this offseason? Do they make a play for another scorer to play on a potential line with Richards & Gaborik?
Brian: I don’t think they will add anyone up front. I think whoever plays with Richards and Gaborik (Wojtek Wolski or Ruslan Fedotenko), will come from within. They will likely add a defenseman with experience to the mix before the season starts. Personally, I’d like to see them bring Jason Strudwick back to New York. He played 2+ years for them following the lockout, and was solid on and off the ice. With the youth of the Rangers defense, I think he’d be a perfect fit.
Once again, I would like to thank Brian Monzo for taking time out of his busy schedule to conduct this interview with me.
- I agree with Brian that the money & years for Richards shouldn’t be of any concern right now. Fans need to relax and realize this is how business is conducted. He was brought in as a piece to a championship, not the solitary missing ingredient. If the Rangers do win a cup with Richards, you won’t care what the contract looks like at all.
- If Mike Rupp can score 10-15 goals playing with Boyle and Prust for a full season, the Rangers may end up with the best 4th line in the entire NHL. All 3 guys can chip in offensively, play in their own end, and be physical.
- I think Brian just really misses Jason Strudwick. Don’t get me wrong, he was a great depth guy with character when he was with the Rangers. I just don’t see him returning.
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