Stephen Valiquette said he hasn’t had any discussions with the Rangers about a contract for next season, but that he wants to be back.
Neither of these revelations should come as much of a surprise. One, given the other free agents on the team’s roster, the backup goalie might not be much of a priority right around now. And the team probably already has a good idea that Valiquette isn’t interested in walking away.
Just much does Valiquette like being a Ranger? This is how he described it to me:
â€œThe staff is the best in the league. Itâ€™s the best facility. The best plane. The best food on the plane. The best workout facilities. The best coaches. There isn’t one negative aspect of being a New York Ranger. The quality of life is great here.”
In other words, he’s pretty miserable.
Truth is, the Rangers have stumbled on a gem with Valiquette, not only because he’s capable of stealing a game from time-to-time, but because he has no ego to speak of, and is happy to be the starting goalie’s biggest supporter. That’s not a common combination of traits.
And given all that, you wonder if Valiquette’s success opened the door for Al Montoya being shipped out of town. Valiquette shot down that theory when I asked him, and Tom Renney only said the combination of Henrik Lundqvist and Valiquette allowed the team to feel comfortable making the deal.
Obviously. But I would have to think holding on to Montoya would be much more important to the Rangers if Valiquette turned out to be a disappointment this season.
As we know now, though, that hasn’t been the case, and my guess is the Rangers will feature the same goaltending tandem in 2008-09 that they do now. And unlike some of his teammates, Valiquette doesn’t sound like he’s going to push the Rangers too hard when it comes to a new deal.
“No,” he said when I asked him if there’s been any talk so far. “But should I be like Sean Avery and tell you what I think I’m worth?”