On the night the New York Rangers played their most complete game, President/GM Glen Sather traded Jakub Petruzalek and a conditional 2008 fifth round draft pick to the team the Blueshirts had just shutout 4-0.  In return, the Rangers received veteran power forward Brad Isbister from the Carolina Hurricanes.

The 29-year-old Isbister signed with the Hurricanes as a free agent during this summer.  Assigned to Carolina’s AHL affiliate in Albany, the 6-foot-4 and 231 pound LW/RW tallied 3 goals and 5 assists with 54 PIM in 9 games.  Isbister spent the 2005-2006 season with Boston and scored 6 goals and 17 assists in 58 games.  He missed 24 games with the Bruins due to a groin injury. 

Petruzalek has split time with Hartford and Charlotte of the ECHL.  In 13 games this season, he scored 1 goal and added 11 assists.

Isbister is a veteran of 467 NHL games spread out between the Phoenix Coyotes (he was drafted by them when the team was in Winnipeg), New York Islanders, Edmonton Oilers and Boston Bruins.  He netted a career-high 22 goals with the Islanders during the 1999-2000 season.

While Isbister was assigned to Hartford, published reports are split as to what his future is with the Rangers organization.  John Dellapina, of the “Daily News” says “…there are no immediate plans to call him up.”  On the other hand, Sam Weinman, of the “Journal News” says Isbister does fit into the team’s plans.

While Isbister has the power forward size that teams crave, he does not always use that size as often as he should.  In terms of production, Isbister is your classic underachiever.  He is one of those type of players who has all the tools, but doesn’t have a toolbox to put them in.

It is interesting to see what course of action the Rangers take with Isbister.  The Wolf Pack have been struggling to score goals and find a level of consistency so far this season.  The organization has made attempts to inject some veteran leadership at the AHL level.  In addition to sign tough guys Dale Purinton and Francis Lessard, the Wolf Pack recent signed former Neil Smith draft pick Chris Ferraro to fill the scoring and leadership void.

If Isbister was acquired as a means of building up the Wolf Pack, Sather could have put Petruzalek and the conditional draft pick to much better use than simply propping up the Hartford Wolf Pack.  Adding a veteran for the sake of adding a veteran in the AHL does nothing but take valuable ice time away from prospects – unless it comes at the expense of a Ferraro, Purinton or Lessard.

If, on the other hand, Sather acquired Isbister with an eye towards creating a little competition at the NHL level, then fans must take a wait-and-see attitude.  While Isbister isn’t a cure-all, in these times of salary cap hockey, sometimes you have to pick your spots and take your chances.

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