The short-term future is still blurry for free agent forward Ryan Malone, but he knows that he made some serious mistakes last season with the Tampa Bay Lightning, both on and especially off the ice. He apologized to the Lightning organization and fans after an informal skate with the New York Rangers on Monday.
“I’d like to publicly apologize to Mr. [Jeff] Vinik and the Tampa organization,” Malone said, via the New York Post’s transcription. “They’re a first-class organization, Mr. Vinik has done so much for the community there. I obviously wish them the best.
“The fans were great, so I want to say thanks to them for their continued support.”
Here’s video of Malone’s full comments, including thoughts on possibly landing with the Rangers.
For what it’s worth, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks believes “it’s only a matter of when and for how much” the Rangers will sign Malone.
As you can see from the video above, the gritty forward provided a hypothesis regarding how he might fit in with the Rangers if these flirtations end up with a contract. The 34-year-old said that he expects to use his big frame in simple ways, possibly to stick up for teammates.
Let’s not forget that there’s still some potential for scoring here, though. Malone is a six-time 20+ goal scorer at the NHL level, managing the feat three times in Tampa Bay and three other times with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Rangers seemed to bleed away some of their vaunted depth this offseason, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the team asked him to contribute offensively as much as they’d want Malone to assert himself physically. (Again, if the team decides to sign him, which could be tricky from a salary standpoint.)
Wherever he goes, Malone will be looking for redemption on multiple levels.