It came as no surprise to many Washington Capitals fans when George McPhee announced veterans Jeff Halpern and Mike Knuble would not return to the team. The only question remained was if an NHL organization would give the two players another shot.
While some fans aren't too happy about Halpern sporting Ranger-blue, it's a great opportunity for an even better individual.
The 36-year-old scored 4 goals and added 12 assists in 69 games as a viable fourth-line center in 2011-12. However, the main attraction from the Rangers came because of his face-off skills.
Using his experience and grit, Halpy was fifth in the NHL at the dot with a 58.4% success rate.
That skill makes Halpern a productive option on the Rangers fourth line, and likely the penalty kill. This writer has a feeling that John Tortorella will take a liking to the determination and accountability of the witty veteran.
Halpern will likely take the place of recently-departed John Mitchell, who signed with the Colorado Avalanche back on July 1.
As mentioned, the 12-year veteran still has some life in his legs due in part to intense skating sessions with instructor Wendy Marco. He was able to out-battle younger opponents this year and appeared to gain more explosion in his older age.
After two stints with the Capitals, it will certainly be weird to see Halpern on the team that knocked out the Caps back in May.
One of Halpern's best highlights of the season, his first goal after returning to the Caps.
Tags: Hockey, Jeff Halpern, John Mitchell, John Tortorella, Mike Knuble, New York Rangers, NHL, Washington, Washington Capitals