Hockey League (AHL)
County Veterans Memorial Arena
Rangers’ Departures Leave Vacancy At Center
July 30, 1993
Paul Stuart, staff writer
Brian McReynold’s signing with the Los Angeles Kings leaves no question that center is a top priority for the Binghamton Rangers heading into the scramble for free agents.
The King’s and their International Hockey League affiliate—the Phoenix Roadrunners—announced the signing Thursday. McReynolds, 28, landed a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Kings, with the strong possibility he could be playing with former Binghamton linemate Dave Thomlinson in Phoenix next season.
McReynolds, a center, had 30 goals and 70 assists for Binghamton last season, finishing sixth in American Hockey League scoring. The announcement of his signing came eight days after the IHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones announced the signing of Binghamton center Don Biggs, the AHL’s MVP with a league-record 138 points.
The two were the Rangers’ co-captains, voted two of the top faceoff men in the AHL by league coaches, and are solid defensive players. Their departure leaves a huge gap at center with the potential of getting larger if center/wing Mike Stevens (31 goals, 61 assists) decides not to return.
If Stevens does not return, Binghamton’s top two returning center—at this point—would appear to be Daniel Lacroix, a free agent coming off a serious wrist injury and Jean Yves Roy, a natural wing who moved into Lacroix’s spot at the end of last season and played exceptionally well in the playoffs.
New York Rangers general manager Neil Smith said forward would likely be the priority area in regard to signing free agent prospects.
“I hope everything works out there, “ McReynolds said of Binghamton. “ I like it there, but it was a matter of getting a better opportunity.”
McReynolds also considered playing in Sweden, a job eventually landed by Rochester center Peter Ciavaglia, who also hopes to play with the U.S. Olympic team.
--With Jay Leach being named head coach at Hershey on Wednesday, Al Hill, who had interviewed for the Bear’s job, said he plans on returning to Binghamton as an assistant coach. Ron Smith has indicated he most likely will return as head coach and has until Sunday to notify the New York Rangers of his decision.
--In another coaching note, former Binghamton Whalers defenseman Al Tuer has signed a one-year deal as head coach and general manager of the Western Hockey League’s Moose Jaw Warriors, a team that’s has eight coaches in nine years. Tuer, who turned 30 on July 19, was a player-assistant at Cincinnati last season.
--The Hockey News reported that Tuer has an option year based on the team’s performance. The Warriors were 27-42-3 last season.
--The New York Rangers announced the signing of veteran left wing Greg Gilbert.
Gilbert, 31, was an unrestricted free agent entering his 12th NHL season. He had 13 goals and 19 assists in 77 games with the Chicago Blackhawks last season.
Gilbert, who began his career in 1981 with the New York Islanders, played 4 ½ seasons with Chicago—3 ½ coming while Mike Keenan was coach. Keenan was named head coach of the New York Rangers in April.