This afternoon the Rangers signed defenseman Brendan Bell.
Bell played 29 games in the Swiss league last year and put up all of 11 points. By comparison, after Tyler Arnason defected from the Rangers he played nine games for the same team (EHC Biel) and had 10 points. Yeah. Sure Arnason is a forward - not a defenseman - but he is a bad forward.
While I recall Bell being a third pairing nobody on the Senators, he started his career with Toronto. And, for analysis, let's look at how what the Pension Plan Puppets wrote about him when they put him in a list of the WORST LEAFS since the lockout: "Brendan combined the defensive toughness of Phil Housley with the offensive flair of Garth Butcher."
And the Rangers just signed him. Why?
As Glen Sather did not place a comment in the press release, we are left to wonder what the hell could he have possibly been thinking? He can't possibly share the sentiment of new assistant Jeff Gorton, who said, "Brendan is a good character guy who gives us another player with experience who will compete for an NHL job in training camp."
The top seven Broadway blueliners are Staal, Girardi, Sauer, McDonagh, Erixon, Del Zotto and Eminger. Hartford's top four are spoken for with Wade Redden, Pavel Valentenko, Tomas Kindratek and Jyri Niemi. Stu Bickel, Lee Baldwin, Blake Parlett and Sam Klassen will all fight for the remaining two spots. So where does Bell fit? Do the Rangers really expect him to challenge Steve Eminger for the seventh defender spot or even a top six?
Maybe not, maybe they were just giving him lip service to seduce him into the organization. Perhaps they weren't and they really think there is something there. Perhaps there is a trade coming. Perhaps Redden has found a way to weasel out of his contract and get out of the bus league. I am leaning towards that one and, if so, then we have to hope that Bell can provide the same kind of guidance to the youngsters that the rich Redden did last season. Redden - once upon a time - was a top flight defender. Bell was ... not. He was a decent AHLer who appears to have failed overseas and came limping back looking for work. The Rangers - who have decent depth on D already - gave him a gig. We will see if he rewards their faith this fall.