Tyler Bozak is a popular name as of late. It has been the focus of circulating rumors including what the Toronto Maple Leafs should do with him and where he might end up. For the New York Rangers, Bozak is a perfect fit and exactly what they need right now.
After losing top-scoring center Derek Stepan (55 points last season) in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes, the New York Rangers find themselves in a tough position. Before the end of the offseason, it is imperative that the team finds themselves a reliable center…even if it’s gonna cost them a pretty penny.
As of right now, the Rangers are looking at Mika Zibanejad as their top center, Kevin Hayes as their second line center and one of J.T. Miller, David Desharnais, or recently drafted Lias Andersson as their third and fourth line centers.
J.T. Miller at center isn’t a good option because he’s more comfortable at wing. Zibanejad may or may not be ready to fill the roll of being a first line center, and it’s a risky move. Desharnais is more used to playing on the fourth line than third, and finally, Andersson has no NHL experience to this point.
Point being, the Rangers need a center. And Tyler Bozak might just be the missing piece in this incomplete lineup. Let’s look at why:
Firstly, age is always a factor. At only 31, Bozak is still young but in the latter stretch of his career. It’s quite possible this next season could be the end of his prime. It’s important to note, though, that he isn’t a long-term solution for the Rangers necessarily, but he can help next season for sure at the least.
A right-handed center like Bozak would add tremendous depth to the Rangers, who mainly have left-handed shooters. Depth is something the Rangers used to have at center before being somewhat stripped of it this past offseason.
Finally, his stats are exactly where they need to be to fill the first line position. His 55 points are the same as Derek Stepan’s last season, so the Rangers aren’t being sold short.
He also can be a huge help to the Rangers’ power play, as he scored 18 points in that situation last season. And with Toronto playing in the Playoffs last season, he can add that to his experience, as well.
The High Cost:
At 4.2M, Bozak isn’t exactly “cheap.” However, a player of his caliber is deserving of that price tag. Also, in comparison to the amount of money Stepan was making for the same amount of points, Bozak wins by a landslide.
However, he is definitely worth it. The Rangers can’t rely on players who are not used to roles they will be thrust into. They also can’t rely on a rookie to fill such large shoes.
It’s important for the Rangers to make this move before the start of the season. If they do manage to find a top six center, expect great things from this team in 2017-2018.