Maybe this summer hasn’t been a total loss after all? According to Larry Brooks, the Rangers have signed former Penguin Lee Stempniak to a one year contract worth $900K. Hot damn, that’s what I call a bargain!
Stempniak was acquired by the Penguins from the Flames in exchange for a third round pick at the trade deadline. He, along with the more preferable Marcel Goc, were acquired in an attempt to shore up the Penguins terrible lack of depth. Prior to being traded, Stempniak struggled mightily with the Flames producing at a less than 1.0 P/60. Stempniak spent the vast majority of his time in Pittsburgh on Crosby’s wing, which has obvious benefits. He produced at a 2.32 P/60 during 5 on 5 in Pittsburgh, a mark I think we can all agree he won’t reach with the Rangers.
However, Stempniak adds needed veteran depth to the bottom six. His recent history shows that he most certainly has the ability to score 30 plus points in a third line role. Also, his ability to play the power play and kill penalties makes him a versatile bargain for less than $1M.
I’ve seen quick comparisons to Benoit Pouliot by Rangers fans, as if Stempniak somehow replaces him. He doesn’t. He may replace the 36 points last season, but he doesn’t drive possession and make his teammates better the way Pouliot did.