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Rangers keep Rozsival, add Redden to defense

by John Kreiser

The New York Rangers bolstered their blueline on Tuesday by signing two-time All-Star defenseman Wade Redden (above) while also re-signing their best offensive defenseman Michal Rozsival, who, like Redden was an unrestricted free agent.
The New York Rangers knew they needed puck-moving defensemen, and they wasted little time in keeping one they already had and adding another. President and General Manager Glen Sather announced Tuesday night that the Rangers have signed two-time All-Star Wade Redden, who played the past 11 seasons with the Ottawa Senators. They also re-signed their best offensive defenseman, Michal Rozsival, who, like Redden, was an unrestricted free agent.

Redden appeared in 80 games with the Senators this past season, registering six goals and 32 assists for 38 points — both team highs among defensemen — along with a plus-11 rating and 60 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-2, 209-pounder has played all of his 838 regular-season contests with the Senators, scoring 101 goals and adding 309 assists for 410 points, along with a plus-159 rating and 576 penalty minutes since entering the NHL in 1996-97.

 "New York was the team that was interested in me right from the get-go," Redden said. "They showed they wanted me."

Redden, 31, has had 30 or more points in nine of his 11 NHL seasons. He was originally selected by the New York Islanders with the No. 2 pick in the 1995 Entry Draft, then was traded to Ottawa for Bryan Berard, the No. 1 pick, who has also played for the Rangers.

Redden set a career high in goals with 17 in 2003-04. Twelve of those came on the power play, an area in which the Rangers struggled all season. His best offensive season came in 2005-06, when he had 50 points, including a career-best 40 assists.

However, he dropped to 36 points in 2006-07 and 38 in 2007-08 and struggled for much of the last two seasons.

 "I'm looking forward to a chance with a new team," he said. "I'll be ready to roll come September."

Rozsival, 29, appeared in 80 games with the Rangers in 2007-08, scoring 13 goals and finishing with 38 points — tops among New York defensemen in both categories — along with 80 penalty minutes. His 13 goals were tied for seventh among all NHL defensemen. He also led the Rangers in average ice time (24:33) and blocked shots (128).

The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder has skated in 479 regular-season games, including 242 since joining the Rangers in 2005-06 after four seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He has 46 goals and 173 points, along with a plus-48 rating and 383 penalty minutes.

Earlier in the day, the Rangers added a pair of forwards, signing Aaron Voros from Minnesota and Patrick Rissmiller from San Jose.

Rissmiller, 29, appeared in 79 games with San Jose this past season, registering eight goals and nine assists for 17 points, along with 30 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder ranked sixth on the team with 111 hits and tied for eighth on the team with 17 even-strength points.

Voros, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound forward who turns 27 on Wednesday, appeared in 55 games with the Minnesota Wild in his first NHL season, scoring seven goals and adding seven assists for 14 points, along with a team-high 141 penalty minutes. He ranked fifth on the Wild in hits with 96.

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