How good was the re-signing of Erik Christensen for Glen Sather and the New York Rangers?
Last year when the New York Rangers were in direct need of a quality center they picked up Erik Christensen from waivers. Whether or not Christensen was the center that Sather was looking for, or the center that Sather picked up to hold down the fort while he looked for a better one is unknown. What we know now (hindsight is 20-20 after all) is that Christensen turned into the quality center that Sather was looking for, even if he didn't plan on it originally.
Although Christensen only played in 49 games for the Rangers, he proved to be a valuable asset nonetheless. In those 49 games he scored 8 goals and added 18 assists for 26 points.
He soaked up almost 16 minutes a game, and was the Rangers first line center for a majority of the season. He saw just under two minutes of power play time a night, and saw just over two minutes a night when the Rangers were a man down. In the end, he was a very solid asset for the Rangers and John Tortorella (who he seemed to mesh well with).
So once the doors to free agency opened on July 1st Sather re-signed him to a two-year $1.85 million contract. Although Christensen, who might once again find himself as the Rangers first line center again this year, wasn't the ideal choice to center Marian Gaborik and Alexander Frolov; his contract is another brilliant one. His cap hit is only $925K a year, which makes him moveable if things go wrong, and a cheap asset if things go right.
Although Ranger fans would have probably liked to have seen a better player at the position, Christensen showed flashes of brilliance throughout the year and did seem to mesh well with Tortorella's constant line combinations. His speed helped him keep up with Gaborik during odd man rushes, and having another sniper on his wing (if he indeed plays on the first line) can only help.
The only real issue with this deal was the fact that Christensen had to hold out to get it. There were brief moments where it seemed like Christensen and Sather were not going to be able to agree to a contract, but it was fleeting. In the end one can argue that Christensen could have been replaced with a better center, but the market wasn't exactly littered with them.
In the end, Sather got a nice piece to puzzle for a cheap price tag and a guy who knows the system well. Christensen also adds some variety, he played wing a little bit last year as well, to a team that needs it, and could prove to be a 40 point scorer if he plays in all 82 games.
Christensen also brought life and energy to a team who needed it (and needed it badly) last year. You really can't question his heart. Solid re-signing by Sather.
Glen Sather's final grade for re-signing Erik Christensen: B+