Ryan Malone, the veteran forward who was bought out by the Tampa Bay Lightning after two disappointing seasons and off-ice issues, has his chance at a comeback with the Rangers.
In a deal that gives the Blueshirts some roster flexibility, the 34-year-old agreed Thursday to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700,000 on the NHL level and $100,000 on the AHL level.
Malone, who had been working out in Minnesota since June, recently was skating in informal practices at the MSG Training Center and said Monday that he has been in discussions with Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather, who first contacted him on July 1. His mission is to prove that an April 11 DUI arrest in Tampa, to which he pled no contest, and possession of 1.3 grams of cocaine, was an aberration in his 10-year career.
"I made a mistake and I have to admit that. Thankfully, and luckily, no one got hurt," Malone said Monday. "It has changed my life for the better, my family's life."
He publicly apologized to the Lightning and their fans. "Last year was obviously not the way I wanted it to go, especially the end," Malone noted. "I'm just looking for the opportunity to show what type of person I am on and off the ice. I'm willing to do whatever it takes here to be a part of a winning organization."
In August, his license was suspended for six months and he was assigned to 50 hours of community service. Malone said Monday that he was reinstated by doctors after attending the NHL/NHLPA's behavioral health program. Under terms of the court-ordered agreement, when a diversion program was successfully completed, the drug charge would be dropped.
The Rangers need size and Malone, who is 6-4, 220 pounds, could fit the bill on a fourth line. Malone has scored 20 goals or more six times in his 10-year career and is expected to compete with several younger wings for a roster spot. He scored five goals and 10 assists in 57 games last season.