Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tying Up the Last Loose End

I know this news is a little late, but here’s my take on the Fredrik Sjostrom deal. Freddie was the last Ranger who wasn’t signed, so acquiring him was the last player that the Rangers needed to worry about locking up. Sjostrom signed a one year $840,000 contract, and as I have said in prior posts, I love Sjostrom’s game. Tom Renney and Glen Sather love Sjostrom’s game. Fred plays what I like to call “high-octane hockey”: he hits hard, skates fast, is defensive minded and has a nice scoring touch that I believe is about to burst. Renney said in an interview during last season’s playoffs that he wanted to give Sjostrom more playing time than he was getting, but his main goal was too shift Sjostrom into a Ranger’s role at a slow pace, avoiding any stalls in his New York Ranger development. Sjostrom can play on the second, third or fourth line, and fit very comfortably on each. He has a defensive head on his shoulders much like Jay Pandolfo, he can take the body like Darcy Tucker (circa 2001) and can skate faster and dangle nastier than he is given credit for. When given the necessary time to settle in and develop chemistry with the most likely trio of Dubinsky centering Prucha and Sjostrom (Great 3rd line, so keeping my fingers crossed on this one), don’t be surprised to see him explode to a very attainable 20-25+ goal(s) season. Sjostrom can be used on the penalty kill as well, as we saw the coaching staff utilize his speed and defensive capabilities at the end of the season in 2007, playing with Gomez, Drury and Dubinsky on more than one occasion and killing penalties in vital playoff situations. Especially if our beloved Brendan Shanahan is out the door, Sjostrom is a more than substantial fill-in for the veteran PK killer. There’s a nice piece over at Blue Notes by Steve Zipay who has an e-mail from Sjostrom talking about next season and his signing. A dear journalist friend of mine by the name of Marty “The Moose” Hunter got in contact with me yesterday with interesting tidbits about the summer musings of Scott Gomez and Chris Drury, but I’ll keep that on the DL for now, or at least until my next posting…


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