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Gaborik signs with Rangers

Wednesday, 07.01.2009 / 8:29 PM / 2009 NHL Offseason News

NHL.com

Marian Gaborik is headed for the Big Apple. The speedy winger, the highest scorer in the history of the Minnesota Wild, has agreed to a five-year contract with the New York Rangers that . TSN reports is worth $7.5 million per year.

Gaborik has played his entire seven-year career with the  Wild, scoring 219 goals and 437 points in 502 games. Injuries limited Gaborik to just 13 goals and 23 points in 17 games this season -- he returned in March after missing most of the first five months with leg and groin problems. Gaborik set career highs in goals (42), assists (41) and points (83) in 77 games during 2007-08 campaign -- including a five-goal performance against the Rangers.

GM Glen Sather said Wednesday night that the Rangers talked with doctors who performed the hip surgery that kept Gaborik off the ice most of last season. The doctor is confident he will be back in top shape in New York.

"He is very healthy," Sather said. "Mario Lemieux had the surgery that he had. We don't expect that there are going to be any problems."

The 27-year-old was the No. 3 pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.

The Rangers desperately need the scoring a healthy Gaborik can provide. New York scored just 210 goals last season -- the sixth-fewest in the League season. Besides trading Gomez, the Rangers also had 20-goal scorer Markus Naslund retire and aren't pursuing Nik Antropov, who had 7 of his 28 goals after coming to the Rangers from Toronto at the trade deadline.

"He is an exciting guy to watch play," Sather said of Gaborik. "He can skate and does a lot of great things. He's a great player and he's young. I certainly think he's in the top 10 in this league."

John Tortorella, who took over as coach when Tom Renney was fired in February, lamented the lack of scoring punch in the postseason and plans to fully implement an up-temp attack next season.

Gaborik is now at the forefront of the Rangers' offense. He already proved he could score under the defensive-style system run by former Wild coach Jacques Lemaire.

"Gaborik played under that system and he's got almost a point a game," Sather said. "He's been very productive, so it's going to be very interesting to watch to see how he does with Tortorella's system.

"As Torts has described, we're going to have a very up-tempo, speed game. This guy fits the bill to a T."

The Rangers were able to afford Gaborik after trading center Scott Gomez to Montreal on Tuesday. Earlier in the day, they also signed forward Donald Brashear to a two-year deal and lost forward Colton Orr to Toronto.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report

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