Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Getting To Know The Newest Rangers: Derek Boogaard

Who is he? 
Derek Boogaard aka "The Boogeyman". Boogaard is one of the most feared fighters in the NHL. He is 6'7" and weighs 270lbs, he's built like a building on skates. Boogaard has never fought as much as the other heavyweights in the league, according to HockeyFights.com, he has never fought more than 16 times in a season since playing in the NHL. However, I attribute that to the fact that most players are not willing to take on Boogaard based on his sheer size. There are other heavyweights like Orr and Carkner who fight a lot more, but that is because some of the middleweights are willing to fight up a class. Not too many middleweights are going to go picking a battle with "The Boogeyman."

What's his contract?
You haven't heard yet? It was one of the most talked about contracts from July 1st. Sather signed Boogaard to a four year deal worth $6.5M total, a cap hit of $1.625M per season.

Sather intended on bringing back Jody Shelley who played for the Rangers at the end of last season was effective on the fourth line during the final few weeks of the season. However, the Flyers offered Shelley a three year deal worth $1.1M per season. I was one of the Rangers fans that wanted Jody Shelley back in a blueshirt. But, there's no way that at 34 years of age I would want Shelley under contract for another three seasons.

Granted, $1.6M is a lot of money for a fourth line player. But, Boogaard is one of the best in the business at what he does and there were other teams interested in him. Boogaard is also only 28 years old, so he will likely remain one of the most dominating enforcers in the NHL throughout the life of that contract.

What does he bring to the Rangers?
Boogaard was brought to New York to fight and throw his body around. Anybody expecting any offense from the big man will be severely disappointed.

Boogaard has gone 222 games without scoring a goal which is the longest active streak in the NHL. Many critics of the signing have continuously cited this. However, I'm a proponent of carrying a heavyweight fighter on your team, especially in the Eastern Conference which has gotten even more tougher this summer. Any team that is relying on their fourth line to score goals has serious problems. The Rangers need to get their offense from the top three lines, if they do their job then there should be no pressure on the fourth line to put the puck in the back of the net. Boogaard's job here is to protect the Rangers better players, make sure that the other team isn't out running Gaborik or Lundqvist.

Since Boogaard has been out West for the entirety of his career so far, I have not gotten to see much of him besides seeing highlight clips of his fights online. I was very surprised when I did a YouTube search to see that he is a good enough skater to throw some huge hits.
  • Huge hit on Renee Bourque - Video
  • The man shatters glass! - Video
  • Knocking down Brashear - Video
  • Pounding Seabrook - Video
There are nights that Boogaard probably shouldn't be in the lineup. But, when the Rangers play teams who clearly are built to physically punish you at any opportunity, or playing teams in the Conference that intened on fighting then Boogaard better be dressed. The Islanders, Devils, Penguins, Flyers; all in the same Division as the Rangers have bulked up with at least one legit fighter on their team. Tortorella better not think that leaving Derek behind those nights would be a good idea. I hate watching my favorite team get pushed around. It makes me sick to see them get physically manhandled. Hopefully Boogarrd brings back that physical presence that Colton Orr once brought every game for the blueshirts.

What other bloggers are saying:

Scotty Hockey
Frankly, there are no answers just yet. It would be alright that Boogaard hasn't scored a goal in four years if he was a big fighter but he had just nine fight majors last season - not enough to rank in the top 40 tough guys in the league. Sure he went 8-1-1 according to Hockey Fights but who cares? The guy plays three out of every four games, skates just over six minutes per game and adds nothing offensively. Sounds just about right for someone getting a four-year contract worth $1.65 million per. Right?

Joe Fortunato - Blueshirt Banter
For those of you that think that Boogaard is going to make a difference because he is going to be able to take the body and through his weight around for the Rangers now, please consider this. Tortorella has no patience for stupid penalties. Voros saw the bench most of the time he was playing for taking dumb penalties. So I say by game 3—if he lasts that long—Boogaardtakes a cheap shot and is no longer in Tortorella’s favor, and thus never plays. And even if Boogaard prove himself to be useful, he will play 6-7 minutes a night, worth 1.65 million a year for the next 4 years? I didn't think so.


Brose said...

I've watch Boogaard most of his career and am bummed to see him go. His presence will be missed in MN, and the Rangers will have a new fan favorite by the end of this year. His salary is very steep, and that's a bummer because that is going to be the go to topic for the heavyweight naysayers out there.
As for those of you who think he's an oaf who takes bad penalties, he was under Lemaire for many years - who also didn't put up with BS players. He'll take an off penalty here or there, but he's not out there just looking to fight and take people out. He's one of the more disciplined heavies in the game today.

Puck Central said...

Thanks for the input Brose. I wasn't even thinking of the effect that Lemaire had on him. Actually, another reason why IMO he fought as little as he did in Minnesota.