39-Year-Old Left Wing – Free Agent
Vinny Prospal Contract Information:
Signed a one-year contract extension with Columbus in February of 2012.
Prospal announced his retirement Friday after 16 seasons in the NHL, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reports.
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Vinny Prospal: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Perhaps the most amazing thing about Prospal's 2011-2012 season was not that he managed to maintain his professionalism and calm demeanor even as the Blue Jackets imploded around him, or that he nearly ended up as the team's leading scorer (finishing just four points behind Rick Nash in Nash's swan song with Columbus), but that he stayed healthy for a full 82 games. To be fair, Prospal has played 75 or more games in three out of the last four seasons, but, at 36, just about any injury is a big deal and he simply can't be counted on to stay in one piece. When he's on the ice though he's capable of making an offensive contribution, and, on a roster as offensively threadbare as Columbus's, he's almost guaranteed a top-six minutes. If you think he can muster another full campaign, he's capable of another 15-20 goal, 55-60 point season, but it's a risky bet, even in the later rounds of your draft.
Prospal played just 29 games for the Rangers in '10-'11, but he averaged 80 games a season in the previous five campaigns so the injury worries that dropped his price tag in free agency may be overblown. He's a great glue guy on the ice and in the dressing room while still possessing good puck skills, and Prospal will get first crack at replacing Kristian Huselius on the Rick Nash-Jeff Carter line. While he isn't going to approach the 80-point mark from his Lightning heyday even with those linemates, another 20 goal, 55-60 point season should be well within reach.
After posting 58 points in 75 games for the Rangers last year, Prospal was given a one-year-deal to return for his second season in the Big Apple. Vinny will be entering his 14th year in the NHL, so there is some concern that his production will slow down a bit this season. However, Prospal clearly found some chemistry with superstar Marian Gaborik, as he finished second on the team in points. It is uncertain if Prospal will begin the year on the same line as Gabby, but either way, he will still be on one of the top two offensive units. His 58 points last year were the most heís recorded since the 2005-06 season when he had 80 points. While those days appear behind him, Head Coach John Tortorella loves Prospalís work ethic, which bodes well for Vinny, so expect him to finish the season with somewhere between 50 and 60 points.
Prospal is reunited with his former coach in Tampa Bay, but don't expect him produce the numbers he did three years ago. Despite playing in all 82 games last year, Prospal managed only 45 points for the Bolts, his lowest total since the 2000 season. He may improve that number some this year, but he won't produce enough for how much it may cost to get him on draft day. At 34 years of age, Prospal will likely have to transition into more of a role player than star skater for the Blueshirts.
This guy is so predictable itís painful. Every other year, Prospal scores at a point-a-game pace; the opposite year, he barely hits 55 points. This is a down year. Heís going to once again skate with Vinny and Marty so the opportunity will be there. And maybe, just maybe, this year heíll break his good year/bad year cycle. Hereís hoping. Just donít overpay.
Prospal is like a surfer -- half the time he's riding high on top of the best curl ever seen; the other half, he's under the water tugging on the tether to get his board back. This, friends, is a tugging the tether kind of year. Since 1999, Prospal has alternated years with a 54 or 55 point season -- heck, it doesn't really matter if he's had a good year the season before or not because he bombs every second year. And this is one of those down years. Talk him up on draft day -- say he'll get time on the PP and he'll ride shotgun again with Vinny Lecavalier. And then go pick someone else. Anyone else (well, anyone else who could notch 65-70 points or more).
After a 79-point career year with the Lightning in 2002-03, Prospal signed with Anaheim and quickly reverted back to his 55-point form. Which player will emerge in a Bolt uniform in 2005-06? In a testament to the value of skilled linemates, we think Prospal will find his way back to the 70-point level by serving up tasty platter after platter to finisher Vincent Lecavalier. He will likely come cheaper after his reversion to the mean in 2003-04; scoop him up and gloat later.