Jason Arnott has been around a long time, so he knew to wait and watch. As teams began to flounder, his value would rise and rise.

So the Rangers bit, offering the 38-year-old center a pro-rated contract worth $1.6 million — a deal that seemed like a monetary reach until Arnott took his physical yesterday and concerns about his health scrapped the deal altogether. Last season with the Blues, Arnott dealt with knee and shoulder issues, which the Rangers were aware of during this process.

The reason the Rangers were in this spot in the first place was they started the year 1-3-0, dangerously close to seeing the 48-game season go south early, along with their hopes of getting back to the Eastern Conference finals and beyond.

They beat a mentally unstable Maple Leafs team, 5-2, on Saturday to get their season closer to normalcy. Arnott was offered a deal before that game, seemingly snagging him away from one other Eastern Conference team that put an offer on the table, along with three teams from the West that inquired about his services before shortened training camps started three weeks ago.

Though coach John Tortorella would not address the Arnott situation before Saturday's win, he had previously made it clear how he feels about the organization's depth of NHL-ready talent up front.

"Well, we can't bring anybody up from Hartford," he said after the Thursday's 2-1 loss in Philadelphia.

That is reflective of the organization's patient attitude toward prospects such as 19-year-old center J.T. Miller and 22-year-old winger Ryan Bourque. The Rangers brought up Brandon Segal from the AHL Connecticut Whale for the first game of the season while Arron Asham finished a suspension carried over from last season, and they brought up Kris Newbury for one game after Asham suffered a mild groin strain. Both were sent down after their respective cups of coffee.

The player in Hartford most assumed was the closest to being NHL-ready, Chad Kolarik, was traded to the Penguins on Thursday for 25-year-old Benn Ferriero, who surprised in playing 12:40 on Saturday, at one point even getting promoted to a line with Derek Stepan and captain Ryan Callahan.