The New York Rangers have signed forward Vaclav Prospal to a one-year deal worth $1.1 million.
Nine guaranteed NHL forwards and six more who could and/or should be NHL forwards. The six on the cusp include Aaron Voros, Ty Arnason, Brian Boyle, Artem Anisimov, Evgeny Grachev and Enver Lisin. The player with the least NHL experience - Grachev - is the odd man out. The presence of Sean Avery makes Voros expendable so you have to believe that he will either be dealt or they will pay him an NHL salary in the AHL. He was scratched 18 of the last 19 regular season contests.
That whittles things down to 13 forwards. What you will see is - to start - a four-man rotation in the press box with the other players. After a dozen games of this, I think you'll see coach John Tortorella favor scratching Arnason. So while Anisimov and Boyle hold fantasy value, you will probably be disappointed for the first month or so as they fight for ice time.
As for Grachev, if he somehow gets on this team it will be through sheer skill and determination, because he quite literally has no wiggle room.
Prospal's presense gives the Rangers three decent scoring lines. His pedigree (and history with Torts) will mean that he will get a shot on the first line. Playing with Gaborik and entering the happy half of his good year/bad year trend will see him bounce back over the 60-point mark...but his 70-plus days are probably over. I think it will be Chris Higgins who is removed from that plum first-line spot.