Rangers Spend Big, Add Two

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  1. SPG

    SPG Registered User

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    Rangers Spend Big, Add Two
    Fedorov and Gratton join Blueshirts

    NEW YORK – The Rangers went into this offseason with the goal of adding some veteran forward talent. Reports out of The Big Apple have them accomplishing that goal, but not without a heavy price tag. Team officials have confirmed that both Sergei Fedorov and Chris Gratton will be suiting up for the Blueshirts next season.

    Various league sources have indicated that the Rangers went hard after star forward Jaromir Jagr in hopes of getting him in a New York uniform in 2006-07, but their bid was beat by the Buffalo Sabres last week when they were willing to offer a fourth year on the contract. That left the Rangers looking in another direction.

    That’s when GM Sean Gaffney called super-agent Reggie Swingstein in regards to two of his other clients, Fedorov and Gratton. Those conversations eventually led to Fedorov agreeing to a three year deal worth a whopping $6.5M per season and Gratton signing for $3.75M, also for three years. Gratton makes his return to the Rangers after being traded last offseason.

    “I called Reggie about Feds and Gratton not long after we heard the news that [Buffalo Sabres GM] Josh Pitt had inked Jaromir to a four year deal,” said Gaffney in a conference call with the media on Wednesday afternoon. “We ended up offering more money than we had originally planned for those two, but we won’t hesitate to pull the trigger on any sort of move that makes us a better team. Did we overpay? Maybe. But without a doubt, we’re a better team today with those guys under contract than we were yesterday.”

    Even after agreeing to these contracts, the Rangers still sit with a cap-eligible payroll of less than $36M, leaving over $4M of cap space. With the salary cap increasing to $44M next offseason, the organization should still be in good shape.

    “We’re still in good shape with the salary cap, now we have to worry about putting fans in the seats. Last season was a transition year for us after the lockout and after losing several players to European leagues. We need to regain their respect and show them that winning is still our ultimate goal,” said Gaffney.

    The center position was a major need for the team, and the Gratton signing also adds some much needed size to a lineup that features several smallish forwards such as Paul Kariya, Marc Savard, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, and newly signed rookie Petr Prucha. Even with his age, Fedorov brings exceptional speed, top line penalty killing, and can chip in offensively.

    In addition to Fedorov and Gratton, the Rangers have signed rookies Prucha, Jim Slater, and Shea Weber to entry-level contracts. Budding offensive whiz Bouchard and defenseman Freddy Meyer are also expected to play bigger roles with the team next season.

    “We still may make another move, but nothing is imminent,” commented Gaffney when asked if he plans to make any other additions to the lineup. “We could still use a scoring right winger capable of playing on the first or second lines, but we’ll have to explore the trade waters to fill that need.”

    In addition to the big name signings announced today, the Rangers have agreed to terms with three free agents coming out of the college ranks.

    Forward Gabe Gauthier out of University of Denver signed a two year deal at $650,000 per season. Gauthier helped the Pioneers to back-to-back NCAA National Championships in 2003 and 2004. The 5-foot-9, 200-pound forward ranks 16th on DU's all-time scoring list with 155 points on 67 goals and 88 assists in 164 games.

    Forward Drew Miller inked a two year deal for the league minimum salary, $450,000. Miller served as captain of the Michigan State Spartans in 2005-06 and led the team in goals (18), assists (25), and points (43). He was honored as the CCHA's Best Defensive Forward, and was named to the CCHA All-Tournament Team. He comes from a long line of successful family members who played for Michigan State and went on to play in the NHL. He is the brother of Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, and is also related to Kip, Keith, and Kelly Miller.

    Dave Caruso signed a one year deal for the league minimum. The 6-1, 215-pound goaltender posted a 52-32-9 record, 11 shutouts, 2.07 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage in 96 games with Ohio State University (CCHA) from 2002-06. He owns the school record for career GAA, shares the record for career shutouts and owns the three-lowest single-season GAAs in Buckeye history (1.97 in 2004, 2.14 in 2005 and 2.15 in 2006). Caruso, who is tied for third on the school' s all-time wins list, was named All-CCHA Honorable Mention in 2005 and 2006.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2006

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