On Monday, the New York Rangers signed unrestricted free agent Jarret Stoll to a one-year contract to play on Broadway next season.
The new era of general manager Jeff Gorton has brought praise this offseason with the handling of free agent contracts, namely Derek Stepan last month.
— HockeyNightInCanada (@hockeynight) August 10, 2015
However, with the Stoll signing, it brings up his first questionable call of his regime.
Back in April of this year, the forward was arrested for drug possession in Las Vegas, NV. According to LA Times, the charge could have been carried a punishment of “…four years”.
However, they also reported that his sentence was lessened to two misdemeanors and the requirement to perform 32 hours of community service.
On Stoll’s part, he has taken the right steps towards straightening out this “black eye” to his NHL career. It was reported that he has been donating hockey equipment and making public appearances to at-risk youth in an attempt to atone for his mistake.
With his attempts to clean up his past and concentrate on hockey, where will he fit on Rangers team that needed a little tweaking?
He’d probably play be in the bottom six forwards as a center or right wing, if afforded the opportunity out of training camp.
However, this brings up an interesting dilemma for head coach Alain Vigneault. How will he be used?
It is a real possibility that Stoll could be a starter for the team. He brings experience, a veteran presence, and a championship pedigree, having won two Stanley Cups with the Los Angeles Kings (2012 and 2014).
But, just how will he be received in the locker room and by fans? The Rangers have been immuned to off-ice issues and there has not been much turmoil coming out of the locker room last season.
For Stoll, this could be the perfect environment for him to rehab and fix his image. The Garden faithful will undoubtedly show support for him, as long as he is a factor in the outcome of games and carries himself with dignity off the ice.
They gave Ryan Malone a chance in 2014, why wouldn’t they do the same for Stoll?
Although, this feels different from the Malons situation for some reason.
Not sure what it is, but Stoll seems to be another type of animal. He’s got a famous girlfriend in Erin Andrews, he’s coming from Los Angeles, and brings a type of high-profile to the team that’s not really been seen before.
How will his new teammates handle this? We assume they will take it in stride and not worry what has happened in the past. They will need to, if they are to make this relationship work and to bring out the best in Stoll.
The unknown is a beautiful thing.
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