Right before free agency opens up another desperate general manager on another desperate team has once again made Glen Sather look good. While there’s no doubting the Flames acquisition of Dennis Wideman was a solid move, the contract given to him by Jay Feaster smacks of desperation and makes Ranger contracts like Marc Staal’s and in particular Dan Girardi’s look like excellent value.
There’s no doubt that Wideman has a little more offensive pop to his game than either Staal or Girardi but is Wideman worth a full no movement clause and close to $2m per year more? Absolutely not.
Clearly, this was a GM who needed to add talent to a club unwilling to start from scratch and stopping a player from reaching free agency where he could cash in, in a weak class. However, when you consider the solid two way play of both Ranger linchpin’s – and above all their minute munching, defensive abilities – Sather’s ability to lock down both to reasonable mid-length contracts shows the general manager is doing right.
It’s contracts like Dan Girardi’s that should make most fans reassured that core kids like Del Zotto, McDonagh and Stepan will be paid the right amount and in line with their present positions within the franchise. It’s this recent ability of Glen Sather to pay players the right amount at – crucially – the right time that has helped the Rangers build a deep, young contender and one that has cap money to spend going forward.
The Flames on the other hand appear to be like the mid-nineties Rangers; unwilling to admit they need to re-build and attempt to improve on the fly. It doesn’t bode well for Flames fans. When you consider (going on NHLnumbers.com current listings) that the Flames – anything but a contender at this stage – have two players more signed than the Rangers for next season but close to $10 million more committed it only emphasises the good job the Rangers have done.
Given their window of contention has blown wide open this past season and with such a young core to boast of, if Sather can have another solid summer this time around things should remain promising for the Rangers.