Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Halpern signs with Blueshirts

Glen Sather made another quiet move last night. The Rangers President and GM signed veteran center Jeff Halpern to a one-year deal. He'll earn $700,000 for 2012-13.

The 36-year old Halpern is a solid depth signing who can aid the Blueshirts on faceoffs. A weak area even with Brian Boyle and Brad Richards. He's been around for over a decade starting out in Washington before moving onto Dallas, Tampa Bay, Los Angeles and Montreal. Last year, the Jewish player returned home to the nation's capital for one more go round. In 69 games, he tallied four goals and 12 assists for 16 points. Most notably, he won 58.4 percent of his draws going 365 and 260. Exactly why he's here.

Ironically, he and future teammate Brad Richards were traded for each other a few years ago in a blockbuster that sent Richards to the Stars. Now, Halpern will be asked to play on the same roster in a familiar checking role. During the Caps' run which included a grueling seven-game second round loss to the Rangers, he got into two games registering no points with four penalty minutes. It looks like he'll replace John Mitchell, who signed with Colorado last week.

While it's hardly the kind of move that'll excite the masses, it's still another solid addition that should improve our depth. Halpern is more than capable of anchoring the fourth line and also can kill penalties if needed. He's a classic overachiever having never been drafted. Signed by his hometown club in 1999, Halpern's turned in a nice career playing in 861 games with 358 points (146-212-358) and 607 PIM. He'll bring a good work ethic and fit right in under John Tortorella.

Having added Halpern, Arron Asham, Micheal Haley and Taylor Pyatt, Sather is doing alright. While none will ever stand out, they're all hard working character guys who will help offset the losses of Brandon Prust and Ruslan Fedotenko. Assuming Brian Boyle centers the third line and is joined by Brandon Dubinsky if he stays, the team should be fine. It's just a matter of what Slats does regarding adding another scorer to offset the injury that'll keep Marian Gaborik out at least till December.

Maybe someone surprises in camp or is recalled during the season like Carl Hagelin. You can't predict what will happen. Hagelin became an integral part of our team. Hopefully, he's here to stay. Here's a look at the current roster by position:

G Lundqvist
G Biron

D Girardi
D McDonagh
D Staal
D Del Zotto*
D Stralman*
D Bickel
D Sauer

C Richards
C Stepan
C Boyle
C Halpern
C Haley

LW Dubinsky
LW Anisimov
LW Hagelin
LW Kreider
LW Pyatt

RW Gaborik
RW Callahan
RW Rupp
RW Asham
RW Kolarik

*Del Zotto and Stralman are restricted free agents

Note: That doesn't include prospects who will get a look in camp such as Erixon, McIlrath, Miller, Thomas, Yogan, Bourque, Lindberg, Jean, etc.

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