Posts tagged: Glen Sather

Why Zach Parise isn’t coming to New York

The Eastern Conference Finals only provided further evidence that Zach Parise is a terrific player and would be an ideal fit for the New York Rangers.

There’s little doubt that GM Glen Sather is going to make Parise a massive multi-year offer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, but despite New York’s desire to convert the Devils’ captain into a true blue soldier, there’s a very small chance of that actually happening (despite my repeated attempts to convince myself otherwise).

The primary reason – Parise isn’t like past Devils’ versions of Benedict Arnold; he cares deeply about the organization that drafted him nine years ago and takes great pride in leading the Rangers’ bitter rivals.  All the proof you need was etched onto Parise’s face as he was interviewed by the MSG Network immediately following New Jersey’s ousting of the Blueshirts on May 25th when Parise expressed immense satisfaction about erasing the memory of 1994 (1:25 mark).

Read more »

Time to be bold?

This summer the Rangers can afford to be aggressive. They can risk a swing-and-miss mistake this offseason as they search to go one round further next year than this time around. There’s one caveat however (isn’t there always?) and that’s the pending CBA fallout.

The Rangers are not far from being a Cup team. The core is there, the youth is plentiful and in place, while the experience of the playoffs and the associated heartbreak of failure (an apparent prerequisite for future success) has been acquired. The organisation has depth at its disposal in almost every regard and if the cap doesn’t come down when the dust settles, then there is money to spend, as Larry Brooks discussed recently. This is where Glen Sather and the decision makers have the opportunity to be aggressive as they look to build.

The Rangers will pursue scoring this summer. Apparently, they will look at Justin Schultz to add talent to the back end and they may even sniff around Ryan Suter. Sather can afford to take on a financial risk because of the available cap space, depth, and youth on the roster. He can afford to be the highest bidder in any potential Parise sweepstakes or acquire an inconvenient contract if it means more scoring.

Read more »

Glen Sather’s transformation is now complete

John Tortorella’s interview with Michael Kay and Don La Greca on ESPN Radio drew more attention (click here to read The Suit’s analysis), but few noticed that GM Glen Sather also spoke to the media on Wednesday.

Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News managed to corner the Rangers’ seldom heard from brass leader and as with Tortorella, Slats delivered plenty of interesting comments in one of his few annual interviews.

Sather discussed his pride in what the Blueshirts accomplished this year, vaguely hinted that New York would be more active in free agency than in the trade market and beamed about Chris Kreider’s potential.

But the most stunning line of all came when Sather was discussing Kreider and announced his firm stance, “We don’t trade kids.”

Read more »

The good and the bad of Marian Gaborik’s injury

After taking most of the day to digest the bombshell of Marian Gaborik’s torn labrum, I’ve come to the glass half-full conclusion that there’s good and bad to be drawn from the news.

The Good

Timing – Obviously Gaborik was hampered by his injury during the playoffs, but if you’re choosing to look towards the future, it’s a good thing this happened now and not in October.  Gaborik now has four full months to recover before the start of the season and even if he were out for the full six months suggested by doctors, he’d still be able to play a considerable chunk of the season.  Better yet, the extent of the injury was discovered prior to any offseason player movement, giving the front office time to rethink and revise its plan of attack for the summer.  Offense was the team’s primary need before the injury and that hasn’t changed, but at least GM Glen Sather and company know just where they stand.  If this injury happened in training camp, the team would be able to do little in reaction and could be looking at severely weakened chances of winning the Atlantic Division crown.

Potential lockout – Of course none of us want a lockout, but there exists the very real possibility that the 2012-2013 season will be shortened.  If it takes the owners and players a month or two to hash out their differences, Gaborik could actually be ready to go from the outset.  Don’t do anything foolish and start praying for a work stoppage, but if your primary concern is finishing as high as possible in the Eastern Conference again, then having a healthy Gaborik on board for a shortened season may be the best thing to hope for.

Read more »

Rangers final grades: Goaltending and management

Goaltending this season was a huge factor in both the Rangers regular season and postseason success.  The tandem of Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Biron finished third in the league in goals against during the regular season, behind only the notoriously stingy St. Louis Blues and LA Kings.

In addition to the goalie report cards, I’m also going to break down management.  John Tortorella, Mike Sullivan and Glen Sather have their fingerprints all over this team, so we’ll also take a look at how they performed this season.  Let’s get to it…

Henrik Lundqvist

  • Honestly, at this point, what is there to say about The King that hasn’t already been said?  The presumptive Vezina winner and Hart nominee had an absolutely dominant regular season and a Stanley Cup worthy post-season.  His biggest problem was that the Rangers couldn’t score.
  • Although Hank has always been in the conversation of the league’s elite netminders, this season he cemented himself firmly at the top, along with Jonathan Quick and Pekka Rinne.  I’ll entertain arguments for any of those guys as the top tender, but for my money, no one can dethrone The King right now.
  • With a final line of: 39 wins, 1.97 GAA and .930 SV (top 3 in the NHL in each), Lundqvist was the backbone of the Blueshirts yet again.
  • Mid-season grade: A+/Full season grade: A/Playoffs: A

Read more »

Richards proves Sather right

John Tortorella wanted him, Glen Sather wanted him and the vast majority of the Rangers universe (media and fans) acknowledged he was exactly what this team needed last summer. Now, Brad Richards is proving the supporters right and the few (misinformed) doubters very much wrong.

Richards has been far from perfect in his first year on Broadway. Scott Gomez even outscored him when comparing debut regular seasons; but there is no doubting Richards’ impact on a young Rangers team in his first year. He’s every bit the leader that was hoped for.

Clutch: Richards has come up big all year long as his nine regular season game winners show. He’s leading the team in scoring in the post season and is making crucial plays all over the ice. In the triple overtime win it was his feed that set up the Gaborik winner. It was Richards who came up big in game five with the goal and in the same game check the video for number 19 back checking and breaking up plays in his own zone. Richards, in short, is a leader for the Rangers and right now he’s absolutely earning his large and long contract.

Read more »

Flyers making Sather look good

With the recent signing/extension of Nicklas Grossman the Philadelphia Flyers achieved three things. First of all they overpaid for a good but not elite defensive defenseman, secondly they gave themselves potential cap headaches this summer with the likes of Matt Carle, Jaromir Jagr and Jakub Voracek to re-sign (headaches could disappear depending on the Pronger situation) and finally they made Glen Sather once again look like an astute general manager.

Dan Girardi has played an All Star calibre season, has been an absolute rock on the blue line and is once again close to a 30 point season proving he is effective at both ends of the ice. With that all considered, comparing his deal to Grossman’s new deal of $3.5m, Sather managed to produce a bargain with the Girardi deal.

Girardi’s deal comes in at $3.25m for another couple of seasons and his deal in addition to Marc Staal’s (a very reasonable cap hit of $3.9m when health and form allow) are blue line reasons why Sather won’t struggle to reward the likes of Mike Del Zotto and Brandon Prust this summer.

Cap Geek list Dan Girardi as a comparable to Nicklas Grossman but really comparing Girardi to the Swede in anything other than price tag is doing Girardi a disservice. Girardi is a much more rounded player than Grossman. He out hits, out blocks and out scores Grossman and very few players in the entire league play the same minutes as Girardi. Who’s worth more? Girardi without question.

Next season including Pronger, the Flyers have over 20 million committed to their blue line – quite a chunk. The Rangers, without factoring in a raise for Del Zotto and adding another defenseman ‘only’ have approximately 10 million committed to their blue line. I know which blue line I would rather have right now. Keep up the good work this summer Mr Sather.

Minor addition, solid contribution

The title of the post; that’s how you can measure John Mitchell’s impact since coming to the Rangers at the tail end of last season. Not every player can be judged solely on points as Brian Boyle would surely agree.

Mitchell has come over to the Rangers and fits with how John Tortorella wants to play. He plays hard in the corners, uses his size to good effect while his work ethic and effort are unquestioned. However, Mitchell can use the puck effectively as well. In fact, 13 points in 45 games don’t do Mitchell justice even if they look better when considering his +14 rating.

Mitchell has been rewarded with powerplay time in recent games and while that’s perhaps more damning to other players – and the powerplay overall – as it is a reward for Mitchell, it suggests the coach has a high opinion of the big center. Mitchell has a good chance of being retained by the Rangers after this season because simply put he’s a low cost player that can contribute all over the ice. Getting cheap role players that can contribute is a critical aspect of a successful team in the cap era.

The Ontario native is another underrated addition by Glen Sather as the forward only cost a seventh round pick in this year’s draft and has made an impact for both the Whale and now, for the Rangers. Depth wins you hockey games and Mitchell is a solid bottom six role player for the Rangers who has surprised with hockey intelligence.

Mitchell played on poor Toronto clubs where he scored close to thirty points (or a 30+ point pace) and his junior and AHL careers point to some decent offensive ability. The Rangers have done in a good job in recent seasons of getting contributions from all over the roster and it is indeed one reason for their success this season.

When several of your bottom six forwards, role players, are all chipping in between 5-10 goals each respectively it eases the burden of expectation on the likes of Marian Gaborik and Ryan Callahan. With playoff opponents such as Boston, Pittsburgh and Jersey looming it will be critical to maintain a level of production from the ‘lesser lights’ on the roster. Players such as John Mitchell.

The affected few

The Rangers passed through the trade deadline with very little change but plenty of rumour. If you’re in the Larry Brooks camp you’ll have noted that Glen Sather offered half the organisation (comic exaggeration) for Rick Nash. If you’re tending to listen to Glen Sather’s rarely spoken word you’ll believe the reports regarding the Rick Nash proposal were exaggerated (sensationalizing by the press? Never!)

However for sake of argument let’s consider the players – and even pick – named by Brooks in the last offer and think about their futures with the Rangers in the short and mid term.

Brandon Dubinsky

Dubinsky is considered the roster player Sather was ‘willing’ to move. It made sense. Struggling all season, with cap having to go back to Columbus in any Nash acquisition and still a talented player despite his subpar year, Dubinsky was highly likely to have been included.

What does this mean for Dubinsky? Essentially he has the remainder of the regular season games and the playoffs to save his Ranger career and even that may not be enough. He said he needs to play with a chip on his shoulder but mainly he needs to provide secondary offense. If the Rangers fall quickly in the playoffs they’ll likely look to add scoring from outside of the organisation so assume Dubinsky a candidate for change in the summer too. His audition (trial?) has begun.

 

Read more »

Musings: The Deadline Day Edition

Reasons to Trust Mr Sather: Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Ryan McDonagh, Mike Del Zotto, Mike Sauer. Thanks to Glen Sather and the Rangers scouting department this club has a wealth of depth on the blue line, with a fair bit in reserve. Note that top 5; all young and all have ability either side of the puck.

You may have noted the direction that first point was going in. Rick Nash. If the rumoured package for Nash does indeed include Dylan McIlrath you don’t let it break down because of his inclusion. I’m sure he’ll be a fine player but thanks to the depth discussed above, he’s a luxury the team can afford to move.

Christian Thomas in a Nash package as well? Also Fine. If Nash became a Ranger – and with Kreider deemed untouchable – not to mention Gaborik, Anisimov, Stepan and Callahan firmly entrenched in the top six (at present), Thomas becomes buried on the depth chart and like McIlrath is a luxury the team can afford to move. All thanks to quality drafting and patience in the organisation folks.

Assuming the Rangers current roster wants to show Sather, his staff and the coaching team no major changes are needed they’re sure going about it the wrong way aren’t they? Three poor games in a row, team wide poor decision making and once again an over reliance on shot blocking and a certain goaltender in net.

Dear Brandon Dubinsky, you must really like the thought of playing out your contract in Ohio. Hey, at least the rock and roll Hall of Fame is a short drive away. When the Rangers are trying to make the playoffs, at this rate you’ll be getting tickets to see Guns N Roses inducted. Buck your ideas up.

The Rangers made Marc-Andre Fleury look good the other night; far too much perimeter play. It’s one thing to get pucks on net but there really is no point if you’re not creating traffic, looking for rebounds and generally making a goalie’s night harder than Fleury’s.

Back to Deadline day thoughts: The Rangers do not need to address the defense. Even if Mike Sauer’s not particularly close to returning, the Rangers block shots, do a good job of allowing Lundqvist to see most shots and are better at moving bodies than most give them credit for. I’d rather use assets to upgrade the offense instead of trying to make a great unit even better.

I really want to know who has the final say on the powerplay. Tortorella? Obviously Allaire is in charge of the league’s best goaltending unit. Does Mike Sullivan assume responsibility? Is it shared amongst the coaching duo or do the ‘special assistants’ (guys like Messier) have a major influence? I know it’s hard to grumble too much given the team’s record but there is plenty of talent on the roster to at least have a top 15 powerplay unit. Maybe changes need to be made elsewhere. Maybe…

Gaborik has 4 goals in his last 20 games. He’s not finishing but he’s still playing well. He’s making plays, creating goals and getting assists. The lack of goal scoring may be because teams are zoning in on him now that goal scoring has begun to dry up elsewhere. Could a Nash-like addition free Gaborik up some more? Absolutely

Question Time

  • Are you vehemently behind keeping Brandon Dubinsky and his 6 goals for 4.2m?
  • Do you start Martin Biron against the Islanders or, given the team’s recent play, do you go ‘all-in’ to make sure you get a win (and go with the King)?
  • Do you think the Rangers make a major addition before the deadline?
  • Which of the top four defensemen on the current roster, not inc. Sauer due to injury, is the most expendable all things considered? (i.e. skill set, age, reliance, upside)
  • Can the Rangers win multiple playoff rounds without adding more scoring?

Food for thought: Despite the roster purge of 2003-04 and given the way the Rangers entire organisation has developed in the past five years, is this potentially the most fundamentally-changing deadline day in the Sather era?

Without question, the Islanders game is huge Friday night for so many reasons. Above all (regardless of deadline day potential) the team needs to avoid any losing streaks getting out of hand. Especially given how the Devils and Pens have been playing.

Final Thought: Antoine Vermette. Steve Downie. Their trades have nothing to do with the Rangers? Wrong. Brandon Dubinsky is better than both players. He also has more upside. Yet Vermette essentially got shipped out for a 2nd plus change while Downie got moved for a package that included a first round pick. When discussions about Nash come to a head Sather can point to these two players’ value in regard to Dubinsky and that could help establish a package for Nash – or any other significant trade. The Vermette and Downie deals have a massive knock on effect to the likes of Dubinsky. Any good GM will have taken note.