Rangers add Asham; Prust signs with Habs
July, 1, 2012
By Katie Strang | ESPN.com
The Rangers may have parted ways with Brandon Prust, but they won't be lacking for toughness.
In the opening hours of free agency, the team signed gritty forwards Arron Asham and Micheal Haley and re-signed rugged defenseman Stu Bickel.
Asham, the biggest name of the bunch, agreed on a two-year deal worth $2 million, sources confirmed to ESPN.com.
Asham's signing effectively signaled the end to Prust's tenure with the Rangers. And sure enough, the 28-year-old winger inked a four-year deal worth $10 million with Montreal, a source told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun. The Rangers were interested in bringing Prust back, but reached an impasse with the physical forward, who was seeking a significant pay raise from the $800,000 he made in 2011-12.
By joining the Rangers, Asham became a member of his fifth Atlantic Division team. He has formerly played for the Islanders, Flyers, Devils, and most recently, the Penguins. He finished with five goals, 11 assists and 76 penalty minutes in 64 games with Pittsburgh last season.
The Rangers began the day with the signing of Bickel, who signed a two-year deal with the Rangers worth $1.5 million, several sources confirmed to ESPN.com.
The rugged 6-foot-4 blueliner appeared in 51 regular-season games and 18 playoff games for the Rangers this past season and recorded nine assists and 124 penalty minutes.
The Rangers also signed former Islanders enforcer Haley, a source informed ESPNNewYork.com, to a two-year deal, although it is not immediately clear whether it is a one-way or two-way contract. Haley led the Islanders minor-league affiliate in Bridgeport with 125 penalty minutes last season.