Amidst an early frenzy of over-spending the Rangers remained
surprisingly quiet on the free agent front today as they awaited a decision
from Brad Richards until moments ago when the Blueshirts signed center Mike Rupp, 31,
to a three-year, $4.5 million contract.
Rupp scored nine goals and eight assists to go along with
124 penalty minutes in 81 games last year. Two years ago Rupp enjoyed the best offensive season of his career,
posting 13 goals and six assists in 81 games.
On the NHL Network TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that as many
as 10 teams were in the hunt for Rupp, thus pushing the price of the 6-5, 230lb
Rupp had a respectable 50.6 faceoff percentage in 2010-2011
and is unafraid to use his fists, which will certainly take some of the
pressure off Brandon Prust. Prust played
with injuries for much of the season, so it’s unsurprising that New York sought to find
a replacement heavyweight after the passing of Derek Boogaard.
Though Rupp is listed as a center, it remains to be seen if
he plays in the middle with New York. Derek Stepan, Artem Anisimov and Brian Boyle
are firmly in place and the Rangers remain in pursuit of Brad Richards.
Rupp could slide over to the wing and still take key
faceoffs, much as Brandon Dubinsky did last season.
Follow Rupp on Twitter @Rupper17.
Follow our Brad Richards free agent live blog here.