Friday, July 19, 2013

New In Blue 2013

The opening of free agency is in the rear view mirror and Glen Sather largely kept his wallet in his pants. Sure the lowering salary cap had a lot to do with that, as did the need to re-sign several main cogs in the machine, but it was still uncharacteristic of the cigar smoker. It was even stranger as Sather so recently replaced his bench boss with someone who has a significantly different philosophy than the last one.

So what did Glen do for Vigneault? He waived Darroll Powe and Arron Asham and replaced them with Dominic Moore and Benoit Pouliot. He let Steve Eminger and Matt Gilroy walk and traded for Justin Falk and signed Aaron Johnson. Not exactly major changes to a team that burned out too fast two years ago and flunked so badly last season that they got their coach canned. But they were changes nonetheless, so here's a (late) look at the new boys who'll wear blue:

Dominic Moore (@mooredom): Dom is pulling a Kovalev by coming back to the team that drafted him after a few seasons astray. Everyone remembers this commercial, and in the days since Moore dressed for eight other franchises before coming back to Broadway. He's been in such demand because he hustles and plays an honest game. The Hah-vad grad won't rack up the points - although he has it in him to do so - but he brings consistency to one of the two bottom six center positions. Vignault hasn't been big on rolling four lines but with Step, Brass and Richard$ all ahead of him on the depth chart, it's lookin' like Dom will battle Boyle to be the fourth line pivot. He hasn't played since his wife passed away after a battle with cancer so it will be interesting to see how fast he can find his form and if he still has it in him to skate at the breakneck NHL pace. Hopefully the Rangers do something with him/in his wife's memory for Hockey Fights Cancer - a charity that usually is featured in October, when the Rangers will be on the road.

Benoit Pouliot: Pouliot is a bottom six guy with great hands and a big body he rarely uses, he's like an older, North American version of Arty Anisimov. Inconsistent and prone to facepalm turnovers, the former teammate of Marc Staal in juniors is also capable of breathtaking goals. It is interesting to read post-season reviews of his for the last three seasons - 2010-11, '11-12 and '13 - and we're left to wonder what kind of player will show up this fall. Could he click with Brass and Nash and put up 25 goals? Could he end up waived to the Wolf Pack? Not even gonna wager a guess at this point.

Justin Falk (@juicerfalk): First off, there is another guy with virtually the same name - Justin Faulk - and this guy isn't him. Faulk is a possible franchise defenseman for Carolina, Falk is a quiet giant. The 24 year old is a big boy at 6-foot-5 and is capable in his own end but, frustratingly, is not especially physical. If/when the organization decides McIlrath is not ready for the show, Falk could be a decent No. 6 defender who will cover for Del Zaster's del zasters - Stralman certainly couldn't do it and you don't want John Moore to be ruined that way.

Aaron Johnson: Because the Blueshirts don't have enough former Blue Jackets on the roster, they brought in Johnson. The 30-year-old journeyman is also a former ISLANDER and a junior teammate of Richard$ in Rimouski. Hard to see if he was brought in to help re-ignite Richie, to be a good room guy as the No. 7 defender or just to bolster the blue line in Hartford. Maybe all three; we'll see.

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