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Valley wants to be back

Posted By Sam Weinman On March 12, 2008 @ 7:05 pm In Uncategorized | 102 Comments

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€Ε“The staff is the best in the league. It’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?”


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