by Steven Zeltser
Attention New York Rangers: Wake Up! It’s time to make changes. The way I see it you have two options come 3PM.
Option # 1: Abandon an extremely unlikely single season playoff run and sell expiring contracts. Make a real attempt to upgrade any one of the many weaknesses in the current roster keeping an eye on the building for the future.
Option # 2: Squander a once a year opportunity to get top dollar for your expiring contracts and valuable veteran players while the market is hot. Effectively alienate your fans by violating the commitment the organization made to build for the future.
Obviously, I suggest option number 1.
It is time to stop running this organization for the sole purpose of maximizing profit for a single season. Take a look at what the management has done to the New York Knicks. Take a look at all the empty seat in what used to be known as the Mecca of Basketball. If the organization continues to ignore reality and keeps making short sighted decisions; that will happen with Rangers fans as well.
Those from the outside can plainly see that this is not a team that has the ability to put together a miraculous run to a playoff birth and then have any success against the top seeded teams they are certain to face in the first round. It is extremely doubtful especially with the current incarnation of Jaromir Jagr.
Consider the current market for skilled veterans in the current NHL trade market. The smart business decision would be to sell not to buy. All you have to do is take a look at what other teams have gotten for playoff help.
The Flyers sent Zhitnik an aging defenseman whose skills have diminished to the Thrashers for a very promising young defenseman in Braydon Coburn. He was the 8th overall pick in the 2003 draft which included Phaneuf, Carter, Seabrook, Parise, Bernier and Getzlef, all selected after Coburn.
The Ducks sent Shane O’Brien a 23-year-old physical defenseman with some offensive upside to Tampa Bay for Gerald Coleman and a 1st round pick.
The Blues have shipped off 35-year-old forward Keith Tkachuk, in return the Thrashers gave up a first-round pick, a third-round pick in the 2007 Entry Draft, a second-round pick in 2008 and centre Glen Metropolit. The Blues get another first-round draft choice in 2008 if Atlanta re-signs Tkachuk.
Montreal sent 32-year-old Craig Rivet and a 2008 5th round pick to the Sharks for 22-year-old Josh Gorges and a 1st round selection in 2007.
The Islander traded their 2nd Round choice in 2007 to the Capitals for 31-year-old Richard Zednik. Garth Snow is actually doing a better job in his first season as Islander General Manager than the Rangers hall of fame builder Glen Savior, oops Sather.
The trade market is hot and the prices have never been better than they are right now. The market is starting to cool. The more I watch the trade wire the more it looks like the Rangers are missing the boat. It looks like Glen Sather and staff have misread the market. Brent Sopel, who they were rumored to be after was traded to the Canucks for 2nd and 4th round draft picks.
The Rangers have been adamant they will not trade their draft picks or young prospects for veteran help. If that’s the case then they have rendered themselves useless by not making the decision to sell earlier. While teams in the hunt are certainly overpaying the Rangers are rightfully unwilling to trade their future assets while attempting to acquire help for the current season. What a great job they are doing of reading on what is going on around the league. Maybe, they should be more worried about the future of this franchise and less about the past; attending the Messier retirement ceremony in Edmonton. Although I guess it is possible they are scouting the Oilers again.
I began writing with the intention that this organization needs to make roster changes, but after writing it I think I have found they are not the only changes that need to be made.
It must start from the top.