Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Unholy Trio: Fedotenko, Semenov & Exelby

by Jordan

With the Rangers bringing in three players who are somewhat past their prime, it has many fans questioning the motives of these moves. Ruslan Fedotenko and Garnet Exelby have usually played well against the Rangers with Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Atlanta. Semenov opted to play in Russia last year (his wife obviously has him in an Exelby-like chokehold) and we didn't see much of the big man. But why bring them all in now, at the same time, when there is already an abundance of players?

With the news that the Rangers will sign Marc Staal before Friday for a reported $4.5 million a year for over 4 years, the Rangers will be well over their allotted cap space. This, barring a trade, surely marks the end of Wade Redden playing on Broadway. No way a team takes his salary on their payroll, meaning he will be sent down to Hartford to save his much needed $6.5 million.

With Redden 95% gone, the Rangers will need to keep either Semenov or Exelby as a veteran blueliner. Exelby, in my opinion, is clearly the better player. Moves quicker, hits harder, and throws down his gloves whenever necessary. I've always been a fan of Exelby and his style of play. His grittiness is much needed to this team and will substantially strengthen the backline. This leaves Semenov not making the cut, as Steve Eminger is a better player and will probably be the 7th defenseman. Semenov was most likely brought in to push the younger players harder during camp.

Fedotenko is an interesting invitee, and I believe there is a potential spot for him on this team if someone goes down. However, with the amount of LWs (and RWs for that matter) it's tough keeping him. If anything, he becomes good trade bait if and when some of these players get moved. Ruslan has a knack for gritty goals, has an above average shot, and soft hands for a bigger forward. With Sather always saying "youth first!" it seems very odd to have these three players here.

Of course these are only tryout contracts, and it can't hurt to bring in a few vets to see the way they play with the other guys and to make the camp more competitive. I would welcome a sign and trade with Feds going out and bringing somebody in. The Ranger team is taking shape; they're coming off a year to forget, but I think with the amount of young guys on the roster, they will be pushing even harder to avenge last season.

UPDATE via Twitter

@SteveZipay tweets: "Shoulder pads & blue track suit in Marc Staal's locker at practice facility".

@SteveZipay tweets quote from Fedetenko: "I'm 31, still have miles left in me. Last year was my downside. I can be a 25 - goal scorer, bring a physical game.."

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