Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Rangers Make Rachunek Signing Official

That's the true spirit of Christmas-- people being helped by people other than me
Karel Rachunek (#4) with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl last season

The signing of defenseman Karel Rachunek, first leaked by the Newark Star-Ledger four days ago and confirmed during a press conference by the team president of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl on Thursday, was officially announced by the New York Rangers today:

The New York Rangers announced today that the club has signed restricted free agent defenseman Karel Rachunek.

Rachunek, 26, skated in 45 games with Yaroslavl Lokomotiv of the Russian Hockey League last season, collecting 11 goals and 20 assists for 31 points, along with 73 penalty minutes and a plus-14 rating. In 2004-05, Rachunek split the season with Yaroslavl and Znojmo of the Czech Extraleague, registering 11 goals and 14 assists for 25 points, along with 124 penalty minutes in 48 games.

The 6-2, 212-pound defenseman has appeared in 258 career NHL games with the Rangers and Ottawa Senators, registering 12 goals and 89 assists for 101 points, along with 149 penalty minutes. He has also skated in 20 career playoff contests with the Senators, tallying one goal and three assists, along with 14 penalty minutes.

My parents didn't want to move to Florida, but they turned sixty and that's the law
Steve Valiquette

Also today, the Rangers announced the signings of Hartford Wolf Pack defenseman Dan Girardi, who made the AHL All-Rookie team last season, and former Rangers/Wolf Pack goalie Steve Valiquette.

The Valiqette announcement:

The New York Rangers announced today that the club has signed unrestricted free agent goaltender Stephen Valiquette.

Valiquette, 28, appeared in 45 games for Yaroslavl Lokomotiv of the Russian Hockey League last season, posting a 1.95 goals against average, along with a .922 save percentage and four shutouts. In eight postseason games, he recorded a 3.01 goals against average.

During the 2004-05 season, Valiquette posted a 19-11-1 record, along with a 1.77 goals against average and a .935 save percentage in 35 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL). He led the AHL in goals against average (1.77), becoming only the second player in Wolf Pack franchise history to accomplish the feat (Milan Hnilicka in 1999-00 was the other), finished second among AHL goaltenders in save percentage (.935) and tied for fourth in the league with seven shutouts. On January 26, 2005, he made 22 saves in a 1-0 win at Norfolk and became the first Wolf Pack goaltender to record three consecutive shutouts.

There's a couple of ways to look at the Valiquette signing; I'm figuring that having Valiquette on board gives the Rangers someone to hold down the fort in Hartford if they decide to give Al Montoya a long look as the back-up in New York, plus it also gives the Rangers the ability to use Weekes and/or Montoya as trade bait.

In any case, the list of players that Lokomotiv won't have back next season is long and getting longer (Rachunek, Valiquette, Alexei Mikhnov, Andrei Taratukhin, Petr Schastlivy, Oleg Davydov). It might be a good idea to avoid having them in your office pool. *rimshot*