by John Davidson
The deadline for players to become unrestricted free agents passed at 12:01 a.m. Monday morning. Less than 24 hours later, the Rangers landed former Devil Bobby Holik
, and I wasn't surprised that Glen Sather
moved so quickly.
Bobby was one of the top free agents on the market, and the Rangers knew what they needed to do.
Sunday night, some members from the Rangers organization went to Bobby's house to make a pitch, presenting him with a tape to make the point that they really wanted him to sign with the Rangers.
On Monday, the Holik camp weighed all their options. Apparently, Toronto was interested, and of course the Devils were trying to keep their prized center. However, the Rangers were the ones who stepped up to the plate, swung and nailed the home run.
Sure, the move cost them a lot of money, but to me it's something the Rangers had to do after missing the playoffs five straight years.
They've secured a player who is all business on the ice and a big, strong, mean centerman. At 6-4, 230 pounds, Holik gives the Rangers some size and grit down the middle. Besides being a playmaker and good goal scorer, he brings tremendous defensive skills to the table. He works very diligently at his game, including face-offs, which is always something he could improve on. But he's a person who comes to work every game and gives you an honest night's effort. He will be a perfect complement to Eric Lindros
and Mark Messier
, if the latter returns to the Rangers next year.
Off the ice, Bobby brings brutal honesty. When you hear him talk before and after games, he talks openly about his own play, his team's play and about the game in general.
All in all, I give the Rangers high marks for getting Holik. Both sides have made a real commitment here, and I believe this move is very significant for the Rangers organization.John Davidson has covered the New York Rangers for MSG Network since 1986.