Last year several of the big names went off
the board before the free agent period had even began, this year it was a
different story. With bundles of cash at the ready, Rangers GM Glen
Sather went full steam ahead with the win now philosophy and bought two of
the biggest names available. Is there more to come? By the
time you read this article there could well be another one or two players
added to the growing all-star team that we know as the New York Rangers.
The Rangers got in early on the first day
of free agency with a visit by assistant coach Terry O'Reilly paying an
early morning visit to Bill Guerin. Although nothing has come of
that particular soiree as of this time, the Rangers were thought to be
well and truly in the hunt for the two time 40 goal scorer.
Meanwhile across the river, another story
was unfolding. Long time nemesis, Bobby Holik was ready to put his
signature on a whopping $45,000,000 contract that could make him the
highest paid second (or maybe third) liner in the league. "He
is one of the league's premier two-way centermen, combining superlative
size and passion for the game with an intense desire to win and excellent
leadership qualities," was how the Rangers GM described his first
The contract immediately drew fire from
fans across the league who accused the Rangers of pushing the envelope too
far in the free agency market. "It was about the money"
said a candid Bobby Holik on WFAN. The large sum included a $10.5
million bonus which puts his yearly rate at around $6.875 million...not
bad for a guy the Devils could have signed for around $5 million last
Not content to sit back on day two, Sather
opened his wallet once again to bring in what he hopes will be the player
who can make an impact on the worst defense in the league. 29 year
old free agent Darius Kasparaitis was looking for an eight year deal, but
ended up setting for the Rangers six year offer at $25.5 million.
Kasparaitis also completes a bizarre
scenario in which each of the Rangers Atlantic Division rivals has
contributed a piece to the puzzle. Lindros from Philadelphia,
Trottier off the Island, Holik from the Swamp and Kaspar from the
Pens...after all if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.