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Contract Escape! Rangers Trade Scott Gomez to Montreal for Chris Higgins

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I'm crestfallen. Glen Sather tied the Short Island Smurfs, er Rangers, to Scott Gomez for just under $7.4 million per year through 2014, and Canadiens GM Bob Gainey has let him off the hook. Why, Gainey, why?! It's good fun watching the Rangers struggle beneath exorbitant contract commitments; it's a tradition going back nearly 15 years. This deal for Chris Higgins, a restricted free agent who made $1.9 million last year, takes away some of the fun.

My solace? Sather's move is no doubt clearing room for ... some other jaw-dropping contract likely to strain their payroll. Dany Heatley? [Update: Looks like. LoHud says Heatley.] A "crazy" commitment to Nik Antropov? A 5-year, $45-million maneuver to talk Bobby Holik out of retirement? {snickers} Who knows. I do know that every time I think they can't surprise me anymore ... they prove me wrong.

The deal also includes hot prospect Ryan McDonagh, Pavel Valentenko and Doug Janik heading to the Rangers, with Tom Pyatt and Mike Busto going to Montreal.

Below the jump, a little more free agency news from today -- even a minor Islanders trade with the Devils -- on the eve of the second Hockey Interwebs Implosion in the last five days:

Join in, say hello and mourn this great injustice to the summer theatre that is the Rangers' payroll.