Strike up another successful acquisition by Glen Sather. Taylor Pyatt –all 6’4 and 230 lbs of him– has proven to be a solid add to the Rangers, even though we’re still too early in the year to make significant conclusions. While Sather goes about adding integral pieces to roster like Rick Nash and Brad Richards, it’s the additions of the likes of Pyatt that give the Rangers a chance at success; and it’s not just about the numbers on the ice but those off it as well.
Pyatt has already grabbed 5 points in 8 games and has at times looked pretty impressive. Despite a lack of foot speed he offers a physical presence, an ability to hold on to the puck, and has shown good chemistry with a few different Rangers. Of course, he won’t be able to maintain his 30% shooting percentage. Nor will he be able to produce as much as he has thus far when a second line staple such as Ryan Callahan returns but he won’t have to.
Pyatt is establishing himself as a role player and a solid depth player for the Rangers. He also represents the kind of risk free acquisition that Sather has found several of in recent seasons. The Thunder Bay native is signed for a sensible cap hit of $1.55m for this year and next. That’s not a number that will cause a headache and, assuming a prospect or two demands inclusion, it’s certainly not a number that can’t be moved either. Pyatt, so long as he produces, is a welcome and solid addition. Should his production nose dive he’s easy to move thanks to that lack of contractual commitment. In short, there’s not a lot to dislike about Pyatt.
Pyatt represents a moving part of the roster. Guys like Pyatt, Anton Stralman (cap hit of $1.7m/year through 13/14), Brian Boyle ($1.8m, through 13/14) and Marty Biron (1.3m) are all solid roster parts that likely don’t represent the Rangers future, but certainly help the current club’s performance. They all have appropriate cap hits and contractual commitments, and even in the case of Boyle (where the offense isn’t in line with his defensive contributions) they are all playing at least up to (if not above) their contracts. Highlighted by these current Rangers, Glen Sather keeps finding good value role players to compliment the established core.
Pyatt appears to be the latest non-essential, replaceable but productive Ranger. It’s a general manager’s ability to find value for money in the cap era that can go a long way in the success of a franchise, both on and off the ice. The last few years year we have seen Brandon Prust, Ruslan Fedotenko and Vinny Prospal as examples of good value for money Rangers. If anything, Sather’s post-lockout ability to find these bargains will be even more critical when the cap comes down after this season. Be thankful right now for guys like Taylor Pyatt and co. Their importance shouldn’t be underestimated.