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Sports Ticker
8/1/2006 12:49:04 PM

EW YORK (Ticker) -- The New York Rangers finally got around to taking care of defenseman Michal Rozsival.

After a season in which he tied for the league lead in plus-minus rating, Rozsival agreed to terms with the Rangers on Tuesday.

Terms were not disclosed.

Rozsival, 27, superseded expectations with a plus-35 rating to go with five goals and 25 assists in his first season with the Rangers. He played in all 82 games, led the team in average ice time at nearly 27 1/2 minutes per game and was third on the club in blocked shots with 118.

Yet the Rangers waited until August to agree to terms with the restricted free agent.

Before locking up Rozsival, the Rangers signed a pair of free agent defensemen - Aaron Ward from the Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes and Karel Rachunek - and lost defenseman Tom Poti, who signed with the New York Islanders. Ward received a two-year deal worth $5.5 million and Rachunek signed a one-year deal worth $1.8 million.

A fourth-round pick of Pittsburgh in 1996, Rozsival played in 237 career games with the Penguins before signing a one-year deal with the Rangers last September.

In 2001-02, the Czech led all Penguin defensemen with nine goals and 20 assists. However, Rozsival missed the entire 2003-04 season due to a knee injury suffered in training camp.

During the NHL lockout in 2004-05, Rozsival registered two goals and 13 assists in 51 games with HC Ocelari Trinec and HC Moeller Pardubice of the Czech Republic Extraleague.
 

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I didn't even know he wasn't signed. The Rangers seem to have a pretty solid blueline this year, especially with the signing of Aaron Ward. If he can play anywhere near as good as he did last season, they've done a good job. Ozolinsh is gone now (becuase of... yeah), but Poti leaving won't hurt them much, with them replacing him with Rachunek.

Rachunek also has some problems here and there in the defencive zone, but I think he'll be a good replacement back there.
 
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