The New York Rangers have traded Mike Rupp, the hero of last year’s Winter Classic, to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Darroll Powe and Nick Palmieri. Powe will add depth to the Rangers at center and should help the Rangers forechecking which has been lackluster this season.
Powe, 27, will add another shot blocker as well as he finished second with 91 blocked shots, just one behind Brooks Laich and three ahead of new teammate Ryan Callahan who is currently out for 10-14 days with a shoulder injury. The Rangers were outstanding blocking shots last year. However, this year they have struggled to repeat last year’s performance. Powe will certainly boost that.
Rupp,33, has struggled this season, recording no points and recording a -3 when on the ice. Adding to coach John Tortarella’s ire, Rupp has taken some bad, ill-timed penalties which will buy you a ticket off of any Tortarella coached team.
This was a good move by the Rangers. Adding Powe should help rejuvenate the penalty kill, stimulate the forechecking, and give Henrik Lundqvist another player willing to get between the puck and the net. Rupp’s playing time has been decreasing recently and a change of scenery might be best for him at this time.
Powe was signed to a three-year, $3.2 million contract in July of 2011, so he should at least give the Rangers one-and-a-half years of good hockey before hitting the free agent market.
Palmieri will report to the Connecticut Whale of the AHL and could become a very nice depth piece for the Rangers if needed. The New York native has registered 13 goals and 25 points in 87 career games at the NHL level. He has decent size at 6’3”, 230 lbs and is a fairly decent forechecker.
This was a needed move for the Rangers. Rupp was not the same player he was even last year. He appeared sluggish at times and something just seemed to be off. Nobody will ever question Rupp’s toughness and it was that toughness that endeared him to fans, along with his two goals against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Winter Classic.
The Rangers got younger and a little better today and Powe should help the Rangers get back to playing at the level they were last season.