Last night the New York Rangers saw Marc Staal drop to the ice in severe pain after taking a deflected puck to the eye. Less than 24 hours later the Rangers have been awarded Roman Hamrlik off of waivers from the Washington Capitals after putting in a claim on the 38-year0old defenseman.
Hamrlik has appeared in only four games for the Capitals this season, often being a healthy scratch from the Capitals lineup but he was a fairly productive player last season for the Capitals scoring two goals, recording 11 assists and generating a +11.
The Rangers will be responsible for Hamrlik’s remaining salary this season. He is due to make $3.5 million this season before becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer. It is not known right now if this move is in direct correlation to Marc Staal’s injury or if the Rangers submitted a claim before Staal went down. However, Hamrlik certainly fits the Rangers mold as he accumulated 149 blocked shots last year.
Even before Staal went down with an injury the Rangers weren’t entirely happy with the play of their sixth defenseman whether it be Steve Eminger, Matt Gilroy or Stu Bickel. Hamrlik should be an upgrade and could act as insurance if Staal is going to be out for an extended period. The Rangers were a little under $4 million under the cap so there was room to make this move without having to rearrange their roster.
This is a decent move by the Rangers. Hamrlik should still have something left in the tank, even if it is well off his numbers from his prime. At the very least he will offer some leadership on defense, an ability to block shots, and someone who can get physical when needed with the other team’s top forwards in the Rangers’ zone. The Rangers added veteran depth without having to surrender anything except cap space. Overall this is a low-risk move by the Rangers and Hamrlik could see significant minutes for the Rangers down the stretch if Staal is out for a while.