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04-06-2006, 02:11 PM
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it's a fine line and a tough decision. Of course we don't see Immonen every day, and we don't know his personality, and don't know his attitude, so we're at a disadvantage in evaluating his ability to be an NHL centerman. My point throughout the season was he could play in the NHL, but I wouldn't say where at this point and would've like to have seen him a few time to get a sense, but that's another story. The question is do you leave the second centerman spot open for competition among Helminen and Immonen, or do you sign someone ensuring they won't play there and won't get quality PP time? Personally, I think if Immonen's going to be on the fourth line next season he should be traded for something of value because at 24 and on the heels of a decent AHL rookie season, a good NHL training camp and exhibitiion games and years in the Finnish leaguie, if he isn't at the point where he deserves more than 6-7 minutes of ice time with grinders, then I don't know when he would be. At the same time, I too would be wary of putting him in the #2 slot too.

Personally, I think the Rangers should sign Nylander's replacement, effectively making Nylander the #2 (for one season, then he's gone), and Immonen and Helminen can fight it out for the third line center position (since on this team it's not a checking position and Renney isn't adverse to putting offensive players here (this is a case for re-signing Rucinsky)). If one or both succeed, you'll know at the end of the season if one can play in that #2 slot and wouldn't go out and sign another UFA, and won't re-sign Nylander, and you continue to fill the holes with youth while carefully bringing them along. I like Immonen, as you know, but I ain't slotting him into any spot just yet.

Fletch is offline