Archive for Glen Sather
The irony of the Rangers unimpressive start is that this team could really benefit from Wade Redden on the bottom pair. His passing ability and experience would have been a boost to the bottom pair. Clearly though, that was never going to happen. All jokes aside, two bad losses doesn’t mean a general manager should blow up his roster and beg for help elsewhere.
However, maybe the two losses have reinforced (or exposed) a need in the eyes of Glen Sather. Countless twitter fans, media types and pre-season’ predictors expressed varying levels of concern at the bottom end of the Rangers blueline depth. Basically the concern was – is there any?
Stu Bickel has been horrible thus far, Matt Gilroy is surely just an emergency measure (based on his at best mediocre play with the Whale), and Steve Eminger would have the same problem shaking off the rust that the current defense corps is encountering. So will Sather be tempted to look for an upgrade outside of the organisation and is it needed?
Michael Del Zotto needs to be very conscious of how the next few days play out. How the young blueliner deals with the contract situation and the start of the upcoming abbreviated season is – to an extent – a crossroad in his young Rangers career.
The Rangers fan base can be an unforgiving one. When the crowd turns on you, the Garden can be a tough place to play (see: Malik, Marek; Rozsival, Michal). Negativity surrounding a player can certainly affect their performance, as these former Rangers would attest to. Del Zotto is in danger of coming across as greedy or unrealistic in the eyes of many, especially when the focus should be on getting up to speed as quickly as possible.
Recently, Ryan Lambert suggested that the Edmonton Oilers would be looking to shake things up in the near future and suggested the Rangers as a trading partner. This prompted Dave to look at some possibilities between the two clubs and correctly noted there would need to be a lot of work done to get a deal done. Basically a deal between the two clubs remains a very long shot.
What all this theorising and suggesting does do however is emphasise one thing: The Rangers should stay the path and stay true to their own internal development. Why do the Edmonton Oilers have glaring needs that they need to address? In part because of a failure to develop their own draft picks. Goalies such as Devan Dubnyk have failed to live up to their draft status, defenseman such as Alex Plante have not emerged at all and highly touted forwards such as Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson have adapted slower than expected thus far.
The opposite can be said of the Rangers. The Rangers team is stacked with draft success stories such as Lundqvist, Callahan, Hagelin and almost the entire defense. Naturally the Oilers would enviously look to the Rangers and their ability to churn out prospects in recent years and of course, would gaze eagerly over the Rangers prospects outside of the NHL right now. But seller beware… The Rangers don’t need to make a move right now but instead should continue to build the franchise from the bottom up and make sure the pipeline to the NHL remains flowing.
With the Rick Nash acquisition and the changing faces among the Rangers bottom six forwards the Rangers roster has undergone considerable change. Glen Sather appears to have made most of his moves when factoring in the new contracts handed out to players such as Anton Stralman. Barring a Shane Doan arrival the last significant move the Rangers GM must make is re-signing Michael Del Zotto.
Del Zotto’s contract situation is a pretty key situation for all concerned. On the one hand the player himself would surely prefer a significant commitment from the Rangers before any possible CBA decisions can influence what he may receive. Del Zotto had a fine bounce back season and is comfortably the Rangers most offensively inclined blueliner making his position (and future) in the organisation a critical one.
Then there are the Rangers themselves. How do they address Del Zotto’s new deal? After Del Zotto was qualified for the 105% figure that was needed (after his rookie deal of $875k) Sather has been in – what appears to be – no rush in inking Del Zotto.
We’ve repeatedly lauded Rangers GM Glen Sather for his patience this summer, but rumors of new framework for the next CBA could represent just another example of the wisdom of Sather’s willingness to hurry up and wait.
One of the pieces of the owners’ first proposal to the players was to extend Entry Level contact lengths from three years to five. It’s another attempt by teams to control their carefully selected young players on the cheap for as long as possible.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As the third day of free agency begins, it’s hard to see how the Rangers have improved so far this summer.
But it’s a long offseason.