New York Rangers Blueshirt Beat, 7/5/17: Well, There's 1 Center, David Desharnais 2
Apr 6, 2017; San Jose, CA, USA; Edmonton Oilers center David Desharnais (13) controls the puck against the San Jose Sharks during the second period at SAP Center at San Jose. The Edmonton Oilers defeated the San Jose Sharks 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers made their second splash in free agency by adding a center to the fold, David Desharnais.

Although yet to be formally announced by the New York Rangers, everything points to the Rangers signing free agent center David Desharnais, formally of the Edmonton Oilers and the Montreal Canadiens.

Desharnais is a crafty left-handed centerman who, at his best, is a true playmaker with excellent vision and good speed. An undersized player (even smaller than Mats Zuccarello), Desharnais uses good hockey sense to read plays and get himself into good positions.

New York Rangers

Once the center on a line with Max Pacioretty in Montreal, Desharnais struggled last year with injury and getting traded mid-season to the Oilers. He’s a career plus 50 percent face-off man. Desharnais should add some jam to the bottom six and could see time on a second power play unit. Desharnais is incredibly patient with the puck so as a distributor this should bode well.

If injuries occur, Desharnais could also slot into a top-six role. Some stronger wingers who can bang in the corners may allow Desharnais to really blossom.


Kovy Heads Back to Russia

And so it appears the Ilya Kovalchuk saga has come to a close and will head back to Russia according to reports.

In order to return to the NHL, Kovalchuk would have had to sign with the New Jersey Devils (who still owned his rights) and then would’ve been traded. It was hotly rumored that Kovy wanted to play for the Rangers but it appears the Devils asking price was much too high.

At the conclusion of next season, Kovalchuk will be free to sign with whoever he pleases as a UFA. Smart move by Gorton not giving up assets and taking on a large contract for an aging veteran at this point.

More Trade Rumors

Jeff Gorton seems to be doing his due diligence when it comes to addressing the center ice position. It appears the Rangers have called the Maple Leafs about center Tyler Bozak.

Bozak is a 31-year-old right-handed center who is capable of 50-60 points and is an absolute monster in the face-off dot. Adding him would take much pressure off of Hayes and Zibanajed. Almost a carbon copy of Derek Stepan, although Bozak skates better and again, is much better on the draw.

It also appears the starting point for the trade for the Leafs is defenseman Nick Holden. Bozak was a long time linemate of Phil Kessel in Toronto, the two had very good chemistry. Bozak carries a $4.2 million contract to the end of this season.

Also, while on the Toronto Maple Leafs, it appears with the Patrick Marleau signing, James Van Riemsdyk could be on the way out. He’s a local boy who grew up a Rangers fan, so hey, you never know. This one, unfortunately, is nothing but smoke at this point. Although, stranger things have happened.

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