Fifteen Forwards, Six DefensemenDecember 11, 2009, by
Preface: This rant has zero organization. Read at your own risk.
You don’t have to be an avid Ranger fan to know that when Glen Sather and John Tortorella decide to send Matt Gilroy to Hartford, but retain a whopping 15 forwards on the active roster, that something isn’t right. Sure, Brandon Dubinsky is hurt, so technically it’s 14 forwards. But a third of those forwards are of the Erik Christensen ilk.
Sending Matt Gilroy to Hartford to find his game definitely alleviates the cap situation for a little while. He doesn’t have to pass through waivers when he is called up, unlike the rest of the defensive corps. But if someone could tell me why this team is retaining 14 forwards, of which 5 are no better than third liners, I would greatly appreciate it. I mean, there has to be a method to the madness. Right?
The pickup of Erik Christensen, while puzzling, isn’t a crippling move. His salary is low enough that it alone doesn’t make or break the Rangers. But when you start adding on the little contracts that are wasting away on the bench (Aaron Voros – $1 million, Donald Brashear – $1.4 million, Enver Lisin – $790k), all of a sudden you have four players making roughly $4 million to play 7 minutes a game combined. That’s almost $500,000 a minute.
The Rangers have cap issues because of the ridiculous contracts given to Wade Redden, Chris Drury, and Michal Rozsival, that much is certain. What cannot be ignored is the complete mishandling of the cap by the Rangers in the makeup of the rest of the team. In addition to the $4 million above, you have $3 million in Ales Kotalik, who can’t sustain third line time on a team that has zero scoring depth. Did Glen Sather really pay $3 million for someone who can only play on the powerplay?
Fans would be understanding of the cap situation if the team was at least balanced. But yet, there is still no seventh defenseman, which this team still needs. But as of now, the Rangers will need to put three forwards in the press box for games. As per Andrew Gross, the odd man out (aside from the injured Dubinsky and Brashear), is P.A. Parenteau.
On the bright side, things can only get better. I hope.