The New York Rangers have made a plethora of trades and signings this off season. Some have been approved by the loyal fans and some have not. One of the arguments being made is not enough youth will be on this team, and that the youngsters waiting in Hartford aren’t getting a fair shot to start this upcoming season.
Most fans, such as myself, believe in building a young strong team focused around talent with veteran guidance. But with all things considered, Glen Sather has done a very good job with what little cap space he has had, and talent available to spend it on. Take a look at what he’s done for the Rangers after their excellent draft day.
The first move he pulls is shipping Scott Gomez to Montreal for Christopher Higgins and two of their young talented defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Pavel Valentenko. It was a trade that helped the Rangers by allowing more cap space for Slats to pull in the big scoring machine Marian Gaborik and tough brute Donald Brashear. Montreal benefited from the move by gaining a smart, talented forward with tons of playoff experience that they can build around.
To follow up the signing of Gaborik, Mr. Sather adds depth to the Rangers depleted roster with the signings of centers Tyler Arnason, Corey Locke, and right wing P.A. Parenteau and forward Chris Chappell. They have talent and promise but breaking it all down too one simple word: depth. Not all players are destined for the NHL.
To continue the reconstruction of our beloved Blueshirts, Glen signs Brian Boyle from their draft day trade with the Los Angles Kings and locks up Chris Higgins for a year. Boyle is just another brute force to slam bodies around and clear ice for the goal scorers on the team. Donald Brashear is here for the same reason, not to make friends or score goals, but to do what he does best and that’s be a straight bone-crushing goon. Chris Higgins is coming off a bad season but has a very strong work ethic who busts his ass night in and night out and give you 20 to maybe even 30 goal season.
To prove a point to the overpaid players who think they deserve more or try to pull the KHL card *cough* Zherdev *cough* Korpikoski *cough*, Slats decides to pull two more moves to shake the core of this team. He first signs Ales Kotalik to a 3 year deal at 3 million per, which was to me a very smart move.
Kotalik played well the past couple of seasons splitting last year with Buffalo and Edmonton. The best part is that Kotalik played very well with Chris Drury on the same line in Buffalo. Take a bet which line he’ll be on this upcoming season. What would you rather see Kotalik, a proven player who averages 20 plus goals a season signed on for 3 more years, or Zherdev with the same deal? That’s what I thought. Kotalik makes sense as well as a suitable replacement for Zherdev
Then, to throw it back in the face of Korpikoski, Sather sends him to the black hole of Phoenix for a better, slightly older player (whoopee-a whole year) named Enver Lisin. He comes with a bit of an attitude, almost cocky like. This young man turned down an assignment to the minors because he wanted to continue to play in the NHL. A little bit more motivation and a younger, FASTER breed of talent is what the Rangers need. And man-o-man do I mean fast. Blueshirtbanter.com has a highlight reel up of him you should check it out. He simply blazes the ice when he has the puck.
Let’s face some hard facts here fans. Sure the Rangers have talent waiting to blossom out of the minors but tell me who can come up and better this team than what they already have? With the exception of Artem Anisimov, name me another player that is ready now to put up 20 goals and keep up with the pace of the NHL. Tell me who is going to bash skulls and get the team pumped up the way that Sean Avery, Donald Brashear or Brian Boyle is going too?
Gaborik was a needed cog in this machine, Kotalik is going to replace Zherdev, unless he come to his senses or is traded. Brashear was brought in to replace Colton Orr. Orr was hard player. He could gut out a lot of abuse but the Rangers need someone to stand up for them and to retaliate. Brashear and Boyle are going to do that and more.
Defense is another story. All the Rangers ever seem to do is draft defensive talent. Sadly enough they don’t end up seeing the light of day at Madison Square Garden. The talent pool has improved though. I’d gladly take Matt Gilroy, Ryan McDonagh, Mike Sauer or even Bobby Sanguinetti to replace any one of the Rangers starting defenseman. With the exception of Marc Staal or Dan Girardi, I think any one of these fine young defenseman could do the same task has Wade Redden and Michal Rozsival.
I won’t even bother with Redden but as for Rozsival there just isn’t that much I can say about him. He’s a good player but I felt Paul Mara was worth keeping around more than Rozsival. I probably wouldn’t have a problem with him if Redden was on another team. They seem to be the same type of player or same style at least. Redden and Rozsival are not goal scorers but more straight defensive minded players that can feed the puck. You don’t need two players like that especially for the price of both of them combined.
I think there still more moves to come before the season starts. Ryan Callahan resigned today which is fantastic news. Cally grinded the ice harder than any player after John Tortorella took over the team. They also added left wing Dane Byers who you might see this upcoming season or the next. With Zherdev asking for money and the Rangers need to clear more money, you might see another trade happen that has Zherdev heading to the west coast with another over paid defenseman. I’m sorry folks when I tell you it’s not Wade Redden. If Zherdev does stay this is what you might see line wise’
Extra possibilities: Parenteau
Gilroy- ? (Insert young prospect here)
Extra: Sanguinetti Heikkinen Del Zotto, Potter, Sauer
The King (Lundqvist)
All in all, Glen Sather has stuck to his guns when it came to trades and signings. If he didn’t, the Rangers might have gotten Dan Heatley but would have given up Callahan and Dubinsky and Lord knows what else. I feel they have a very solid team with a good mixture of youth and veteran talent and it’s all thanks to Glen. The Rangers finally have a top goal scorer who might be a little shaky but I am keeping the faith. I look forward too seeing the new schedule tomorrow and the possibility of Zherdev vacating Madison Square Garden. Enjoy the upcoming season fans, it’s gonna be fun.
In Avery We Trust