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Numbers Game: Rangers add McCabe from Florida

Scott Cullen
2/26/2011 4:07:07 PM
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The New York Rangers added some much-needed experience to their blueline and didn't have to pay a steep price to get it.

Numbers Game looks at the acquisition of Bryan McCabe.

The Rangers Get: D Bryan McCabe.

McCabe, 35, isn't the same offensive force that he was at his peak with the Maple Leafs, but has been a relatively stable presence on the Panthers' blueline this season, contributing 22 points and a plus-3 rating in 48 games, having missed some time with a broken jaw.

For years, McCabe's signature blast from the point made him a force on the power play, and he had six straight seasons with at least 15 power play points entering 2010-2011, yet this year has just seven power play points as Florida has struggled with the man advantage, ranking 29th in the league with a 13.7% success rate.

The Rangers' power play hasn't been much better (16.7%, ranked 21st), so McCabe should get some time there in the hopes that new personnel will change the dynamic.  Of current Rangers defencemen, only Michael Del Zotto plays more than three minutes per game with the man advantage, and he's hardly assured a regular place in the lineup, considering he's played 14:24 per game in February.

Once the Rangers traded Michal Rozsival to Phoenix, to acquire Wojtek Wolski, there was a glaring need for an experienced blueliner in New York, since rookies Ryan McDonagh and Michael Sauer are emerging as a top defensive pairing and Del Zotto and Matt Gilroy are both in their second NHL season.

McCabe's veteran presence will most likely bump Gilroy or Del Zotto from the top six.

In the final year of his contract, McCabe comes with a cap hit of $5.75-million and had to waive his no-trade clause to accept the deal to New York.

The Panthers Get: LW Tim Kennedy and a third-round pick.

With injuries mounting in Florida, and any veterans left standing ripe to be dealt before Monday's deadline, 24-year-old Tim Kennedy could work his way back into the NHL after spending this season in the American Hockey League.

Kennedy tallied 26 points in 78 games as a rookie with the Sabres in 2009-2010, but when he was awarded $1-million in arbitration, the Sabres walked away, leaving him as an unrestricted free agent.

In 53 games with Connecticut of the AHL, Kennedy has 42 points and a plus-3 rating.  He's smallish, listed at 5-foot-10, 176 pounds, but is a high-energy player that should be able to secure a third or fourth-line job in the NHL.

With a $550,000 NHL contract in the NHL this season, Kennedy will be a restricted free agent in the summer, which could make him an economical option next season if he can prove over the last 21 games that he still belongs.  He was effectively stuck in the AHL once he was sent down because there is no way he would have cleared re-entry waivers at that price.

For a rebuilding team like the Panthers, a hard-working, inexpensive hustle guy with a little skill is a useful addition and the third-round pick gives the Panthers ten selections in the 2011 draft; a classic rebuilding effort undertaken by GM Dale Tallon.

The price for McCabe seems relatively minor, so the Rangers aren't going to regret the deal, no matter how it turns out this season.

With McCabe gone, look for big minutes to be available for young Panthers defencemen Dmitry Kulikov (when he returns from injury), Jason Garrison and Keaton Ellerby.  Newcomer Alexander Sulzer, just acquired in a trade with Nashville, should also get a look-see.

From the Panthers' perspective, they might have been able to get more for McCabe on the open market, but he had control over the process due to his no-trade clause, so getting some value that will help with the long-term plan is still worthwhile.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@ctv.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen.  For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.



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