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Posts tagged: Glen Sather

The Nash Fallout: With Erixon gone, Rangers need to fill defensive holes

Note: This was written before Anton Stralman re-signed.

Tim Erixon was never going to be a deal breaker in the Rick Nash negotiations and as it turned out the talented young Swede was indeed sent to Columbus. With Erixon gone, the Rangers now have an even more pressing need to fill the bottom pair ahead of the new season. Something that was already an issue.

It was widely assumed Erixon would grab one of the last spots on the blue line in New York this coming season. What’s more, Erixon was supposed to assist Michael Del Zotto in terms of generating offense from the blue line. Having flashed his talent in Connecticut, Erixon was going to provide something that was lacking somewhat in New York.

Without Erixon, with Anton Stralman a free agent and unsigned and with Dylan McIlrath injured for several months there is a clear need for the Rangers to go out and find alternatives. Of course, there still remains a chance Stralman returns. It makes sense for the player and the team to find an agreement assuming dollars can be agreed. Both sides are familiar with each other, there is a clear role for Stralman and with his previous experience playing with Rick Nash there is the added benefit of familiarity there too.

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What Doan and Nash would mean to the Rangers

According to Larry Brooks, Glen Sather may have the intention of trying to entice Shane Doan and Rick Nash to New York. Should the general manager manage to pull off that coup what would it mean to the Rangers immediate future?

First and foremost, like many others I believe that Shane Doan is a longshot to land on Broadway despite his meeting with Rangers management within the last week. Doan has an obvious preference toward Phoenix and a man that has played in hockey afterthoughts such as Arizona is likely to prefer the western conference than change completely and play in the media capital of the world, New York.

However, assume for a moment that Doan lands in New York and Sather adds Nash through a trade. All of a sudden the Rangers are the Stanley Cup favourite; ahead of Vancouver, ahead of LA, ahead of even Pittsburgh and Philly. With a returning Marian Gaborik, Derek Stepan and of course Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan the Rangers top six would suddenly be stacked with an almost perfect balance of youth and experience, size and skill.

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A lockout might a good thing for the Rangers

As was the case seven years ago, the NHL owners and players are very far apart heading into the final months of labor negotiations prior to the scheduled open of the 2012-2013 season.  If there aren’t some serious compromises by both sides, it’s unlikely that the season will start on time.

While that’s an unpleasant thought for Rangers fans, it also might be a good thing for the team’s fortunes next season, assuming it is held in a shortened fashion.

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Please stay stubborn Glen Sather

For years I couldn’t stand Glen Sather.  The man steadfastly refused to stop star chasing and as a result the Rangers failed to make any progress, stuck as a perennial borderline playoff team and incapable of putting together a true contender.

Sather learned his lesson and now just as stubbornly refuses to abandon his plan of sticking with youth by including prized youngsters as trade pieces in pursuit of the latest high-priced stars around the league.

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Patience is a virtue

As the third day of free agency begins, it’s hard to see how the Rangers have improved so far this summer.

GM Glen Sather has watched many of his depth players depart via free agency and has spent only $3.5 million total on a fourth-liner and a seventh defenseman.

But it’s a long offseason.

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Justin Schultz is not coming to New York

***UPDATE: Schultz agreed to terms with Edmonton.

In the end, the Wisconsin connection just wasn’t enough.

New York made it to the final six in the Justin Schultz sweepstakes, but in the end the 21-year-old Badgers defenseman chose to play elsewhere.  TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that Schultz won’t be joining the Rangers, meaning he’ll end up with Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, or Edmonton.

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Yet another signing making Sather look good

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.

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Bobby Ryan trade rumors begin again

Add another name to the ever-churning trade rumor mill.  TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that Anaheim GM Bob Murray has been receiving numerous calls regarding 25-year-old left wing Bobby Ryan.

You’ll recall that Ryan was in the thick of swirling trade winds in November, but the firing of coach Randy Carlyle quashed those discussions for the 2011-2012 season.

But now McKenzie reports that Murray is again at least willing to discuss Ryan’s availability, even if Anaheim isn’t actively shopping him.

Make no mistake; the Ducks aren’t in a position where they must dump Ryan quickly as Columbus is with Rick Nash.  However, it does make sense for Murray to consider trade offers for a couple of reasons:

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Columbus might be willing to part with the second pick in the draft in addition to Rick Nash

In USA Today, Kevin Allen suggests that in addition to shopping Rick Nash, Columbus is willing to deal the second overall pick in the draft.  Allen writes that though it’s highly unlikely, it would be quite the blockbuster if Nash and the second pick were packaged in the same deal.

The current asking price for Nash according to Allen is, “a premium young prospect, a first-round draft pick and a couple of players who can play immediately.”  There are various other reports of Columbus GM Scott Howson demanding a king’s ransom for Nash and unless Howson laments and is willing to accept a lesser package, the Rangers won’t be acquiring the big power forward.

However, would the combination of young assets New York would be willing to part with increase dramatically if the second pick is involved too?

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If Nash becomes an auction Sather needs to step away

According to reports there are as many as seven teams who have had serious discussions regarding Rick Nash. This is exactly the kind of market Scott Howson and the Columbus Blue Jackets will have hoped for and exactly what the Rangers will not have wanted.

With Zach Parise apparently ruling himself out of a free agency switch to New York, Nash likely becomes the most realistic target for the Rangers as they have both the assets and financial ability to trade for Nash and can appeal to his desire to play for a competitive team. If Nash wants to play for a playoff team then the Rangers are a major player for the power forward.

The problem is, should the Rangers give up too much to acquire Nash (becoming increasingly likely if the market is genuinely competitive for his acquisition) he not only becomes the well documented cap concern (especially with Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik and Henrik Lundqvist’s contracts already on board) but his acquisition may set the club back in terms of depth depending on what goes the other way.

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