Following the Rangers Fan Fest, as reported over on Blueshirt, it appears that Ortmeyer's days as a Blueshirt are over. For a fan favorite this is unfortunate. However, we can examine some other issues with letting Orts go as well.
For example, he was a premier penalty killer. Who will replace him? The combination of Betts, Hossa, Straka, Hollweg, and Shanahan are hardly an effective forward penalty killing unit. Straka and Shanahan should arguably held off for the power play and regular shifts. Avery was also slotted in there at points and did an alright job, but are we willing to sacrific a premier penalty killer in this specialty-team dominated league?
Additionally, how can you justify keeping both Orr and Hollweg and not Ortmeyer. As far as scoring goes, you don't gain an advantage with Orr and Hollweg as you do with Ortmeyer. While an enforcer is a necessity, is it at the expense of a heart and soul player like Orts? The greater comparison is really Hollweg and Orr. What does one bring that the other doesn't? I argue that Hollweg has a distinct advantage and Orr's presence is merely for fighting, which Hollweg has definitely done.
So in the end, you are sacrificing Ortmeyer for Orr, assuming Hollweg's speed, energy, and grit are necessary. Here are some stats:
Ortmeyer: 41 Games Played, 2 Goals, 9 Assists, +7, 22 Penalty Minutes (missed the first half of the season with a pulmonary embolism)
Orr: 53 Games Played, 2 Goals, 1 Assist, - 2, 126 Penalty Minutes
It seems that Rangers management really overestimated Orr's importance and it will come at the expense of Ortmeyer.
From over at BlueshirtBulletin.com :
"The Wolf Pack have signed goalie Miika Wiikman to an AHL contract. The 22-year-old Swedish-born veteran of three seasons in Finland’s top league was signed last year but was forced to remain in Finland when his club there held him to his contract."This may be a set up for what's to come in Hartford. Granted, they tried to sign him last year, but at the same time, Westlund leaves for Europe so Holt and Wiikman are likely to take Hartford's reigns if Montoya is moved.
The Rangers goaltending situation is intriguing. Assuming Kevin Weekes, UFA, will not be back, with Valiquette under contract you can figure he backs up Lundqvist. With this signing that would leave three top prospect goalies in Hartford: Holt, Wiikman, and Montoya. You also have Andrew Gallant.
Who's on the move? My guess is there is some merit to the Montoya to Phoenix rumors.
According to Larry Brooks of the NY Post, the NHL Salary Cap will move up to about $52 million next year. That may actually benefit the Rangers more than most teams since they will have no problems spending the extra cash and have a significant amount of cap space to work with.
NHLNumbers.com has the Rangers in 07/08 committed to 13 players so far at just over $27 million. Brendan Shanahan, Petr Prucha, Jed Ortmeyer, Henrik Lundqvist, Sean Avery, amongst others are still yet to be signed.
You can estimate somewhere near five to seven million under the cap , depending on Darius Kasparaitis' salary, that the Rangers will have to play with. With a second-line center and dominant offensive defenseman a need, who will they pursue? Either way, they should have the money to spend on a couple free-agents or trade upgrades.