The Hunt for the Veteran DefensemanFebruary 9, 2010, by
It is no surprise that the Rangers are in the hunt for a veteran defenseman. The defense has been inconsistent at best, and there are many gaping holes, particularly a blue liner that hits on a regular basis. General Manager Glen Sather is looking at low risk, high reward type players to help fill this gap. To be more specific, Sather is looking for a player that won’t cost a high-end prospect/pick, and will be a UFA at the end of the year. Unfortunately, that is what everyone and their mother wants.
But the real question here is this: Who sits when that new defenseman arrives? Of the most notable players available (Garnet Exelby, Christoph Schubert, Denis Seidenberg), none are seventh defensemen. Each of them is capable of playing top-six minutes, and none will want to sit in the press box, keeping Donald Brashear and either Aaron Voros or Enver Lisin company.
The player every Rangers fan wants to sit is Wade Redden. Redden barely plays 15 minutes a game, and it is mostly due to the fact that he simply cannot skate with the above average players anymore. But this raises another question: Does Rangers brass have enough balls to sit Redden continuously? If not, then the most likely candidate to get the axe will be Matt Gilroy. Here’s why. (Update 12:15pm: This is strictly from a business standpoint, not stats/results.)
Matt Gilroy has not played 60 games this season, he has played 54. Matt Gilroy can be optioned to Hartford without passing through waivers or re-entry waivers, because he has not reached
teh the 60 game threshold. Dumping Matt Gilroy in Hartford also clears enough cap space to take on a more expensive contract. It will also give the Rangers some additional time to evaluate how the new acquisition adjusts to his new team. If he can’t adjust, then Gilroy is simply recalled and inserted back into the lineup, with zero repercussions.
Some may not like this thinking, some will. The bottom line is that if the Rangers do not want to sit Redden, then Gilroy is the most likely candidate to go. Sometimes, it’s not about who is playing the worst, but who is the safest to get to Hartford.