In a flash the Rangers remade their team on the first day of free agency, adding Chris Drury and Scott Gomez. Drury, grew up in Trumbull, Connecticut as a Rangers’ fan and has been one of the top centers in the game since breaking into the league with Colorado in 1998 (not to mention a Little League World Series champion). Gomez has been with the Devils since joining the league in 1999 winning two Stanley Cups and is a very good player at both ends of the ice.
Adding Gomez and Drury means that Michael Nylander won’t return next season. Nylander apparently turned down a contract offer from the Rangers Sunday morning and that sent Glen Sather to the free agent market. Sather still has to re-sign Avery, Lundqvist and Shanahan and if he does, the Rangers will be a very, very good team.
Conversely, things are not so good on Long Island and in New Jersey. The Islanders lost their two best players, Jason Blake and Ryan Smyth. Smyth is a huge loss because the Islanders gave up a lot for a player who only appeared in 23 games as an Islander. The Isles also lost Tom Poti, Viktor Kozlov, Richard Zednik and since they already cut ties with Alexei Yashin, they have a lot of work to do to get back to the playoffs next April.
The Devils will have to replace Gomez and their best defenseman, Brian Rafalski, who signed with the Red Wings