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Posts tagged: Wade Redden

AHL Review

The Hartford Wolf Pack (or Whale, you choose) has had a mixed set of results over the past few games but the positive news is that key Rangers prospects have started to turn in good performances after quiet starts.

The Weekend Set

Last Friday saw the Wolf Pack lose 3-2 to The Devils affiliate in Albany. The Pack however did get a point as they took the game to overtime. The game featured two firsts. First of all, Mats Zuccarello-Aasen got his first goal in North America while another first saw Wade Redden get his first goal (on the power play no less) in the AHL. Unfortunately, neither first was enough for the Wolf Pack to get the 2 points.

The Wolf Pack returned to action the next night, once again on the road, this time taking on the rival Bridgeport Sound Tigers who are the Islanders affiliate. This game was a tight defensive affair which the Pack edged 2-1 on another goal from Zuccarello-Aasen, which saw prospects Pavel Valentenko and Evgeny Grachev get the assists. The first Pack goal saw ‘banished Rangers’ combine as Tim Kennedy and Wade Redden assisted on Jeremy Williams’ second goal of the season. The game also featured strong goaltending from Chad Johnson who stopped 21 of the 22 shots he faced.

As is usual in the AHL, the Pack had a 3 in 3 nights stretch and played Sunday against the Providence Bruins, once more on the road. This was a strong victory for the Pack who despite being heavily outshot got a 3-0 shutout victory. Despite Kris Newbury’s 3 assists, Dane Byers 1+1 and Jeremy William’s 1+1 the stand out player for the Pack was young goaltender Cam Talbot who saved 41 shots to get the win. Other than 1 period of work last year this was Talbot’s first full game at the AHL level and what a first it was. The tall, 6’3 goaltender will have definitely put himself forward for more starts on this evidence.

Midweek Slump

This Wednesday the Pack played their 4th game in 6 days and the result wasn’t pretty. The result was a 5-1 loss at home to Norfolk which, according to reports, was underpinned by poor effort all round. This was another game where the Pack was heavily outshot, this time 36-25. The Packs lone goal was scored by Tim Kennedy who appears to have slotted seamlessly into the Hartford side. The loss brings the Wolf Pack’s record to 3-2-0-1 after 6 games leaving them 2nd in their division, behind Portland.

After 6 games a few players have started the year well offensively. Kris Newbury has 8 assists after 6 games, Dane Byers has 2+4 in 6 games, Jeremy Williams has 3+2 in 6 games while a certain Wade Redden is 1+5 in 6 games and appears to be playing good offensive hockey. Key prospects Evgeny Grachev, Mats Zuccarello-Aasen and Dale Weise all have 2 points so far. Norwegian forward Zuccarello-Aasen has improved in the past few games and has looked more comfortable on the smaller ice, getting 2 goals in his last 4 games.

Bad Break

Dale Weise, after breaking his left hand, will have surgery in New York on Friday and will be out 4-6 weeks. Given the injuries on the Rangers and the solid start (2pts in 3 games) Weise had in Hartford the timing of his injury is bad for himself as well as the organisation. Weise will hope to get back as soon as possible to avoid dropping down the depth chart.

Redden Considered Retiring?

Well this one came as a bit of a surprise to me. As per Elliotte Friedman, Wade Redden considered retiring at one point after his career in Ottawa was finished:

13. I do believe that Wade Redden strongly considered retiring. He hated playing that much. Among those who really convinced him to continue: Daniel Alfredsson, Wade’s father Gord, agent Don Meehan and another former teammate, Curtis Leschyshyn. (I got the impression Leschyshyn played a huge role.) Yes, yes, the money was a factor, too.

It is very interesting to see that Redden seriously considered retiring. For as long as he’s been with the Rangers, he seemed disinterested with the game. Many mistook that for laziness, and others (including myself) mistook it for slowing down. If this is true, then none of us were right, and it was just a lack of fondness for the game. There is a big difference between laziness and lack of desire to play. Of course, $6.5 million a year will help anyone get past his loathing of the sport for a little while. Constant booing though, is tough to get past when you don’t want to play the game anymore.

This doesn’t change my opinion about Redden, I still think he’s a good person, who just doesn’t like the game of hockey anymore. But it does make you wonder, how much extra did Glen Sather have to throw at Redden to get him out of retiring? How much time and money was spent on a guy that was clearly on his way out mentally?

Wade Redden, Really?!

Next summer Wade Redden’s enormous cap hit counts against the Rangers roster total once more and therefore the Rangers would have to go through the process of demoting the defenseman again. Don’t look now but Wade Redden has begun this season’s exile in Hartford playing well (at least offensively) and has 5 points in 5 games. Playing devil’s advocate for a moment; what if Redden re-found his focus and desire for hockey with a year in the minors and plays a brilliant season? What if he re-found his game in Hartford to such an extent that during the next Rangers training camp the veteran blue liner plays brilliantly and thanks to his play, demands that he stays in New York. More importantly, thanks to his play what if the Rangers take notice and realise it’s in their best interest to keep Redden in New York?

This is all hypothetical and given his age and the financial commitment he has in NY it’s a very unlikely situation but Wade Redden seems to be trying to make people take notice. The Rangers aren’t exactly playing stellar defence right now and if that was a trend all season, well, desperate times can often call for desperate measures….

Basically the point is this; keep an eye on Hartford this year if you weren’t going to already. By all means follow the prospects (the future, after all) but don’t lose sight of how a certain veteran hockey player is doing because next summer Mr W. Redden may become a hot topic once more. Maybe it’s the likes of Michal Rozsival and Chris Drury that will have to worry about next summer.

What We’ve Learnt So Far?

11 days of camp and 3 games into the pre-season and the Rangers have made two series of roster cuts and have 27 players remaining. So what have we learnt about the state of the Rangers?

Let’s start with the negatives.

Looking at camp it was disappointing to see core players such as Artem Anisimov struggle with the conditioning skates. It was perplexing because it’s been reported that the Russian was training throughout the summer – what gives? Other players who didn’t distinguish themselves during the conditioning included Michael Del Zotto who, like some others, was struggling with cramps and leg pain.

Goaltending beyond that at the NHL level continues to be somewhat of concern. Chad Johnson, who has NHL potential has struggled, letting in soft goals during the exhibition season while Scott Stajcer has let his nerves get to him. Stajcer had a poor first scrimmage including conceding goals on his first three shots faced. Jordan Parise and Cam Talbot didn’t turn heads with their play either. Neither seemed legitimate threats to Johnson for starting/playing time in the AHL.

A sign of a successful NHL team is how a team deals with the opposition’s top lines. The Rangers thus far have struggled to contain the key players during each pre-season contest. The Devils top trio of Parise-Kovalchuk-Zajac scored with ease in both games while the Rangers struggled to keep Zetterberg’s line off the board on Sunday (against Detroit), while Brian Rafalski also did what he wanted offensively in Sunday’s tilt. The Rangers struggled to deal with the puck possession and skill level of the Red Wings.  Although the Rangers haven’t iced a full NHL side yet (it is pre-season after all) they will have to deal with opponents top lines much more effectively when the regular season kicks off.

Drury’s injury is a negative. Drury is on this team regardless and additional offense (compared to last year) from the captain would go a long way in helping the Rangers return to the post season. While conditioning shouldn’t be an issue (he can still bike and do cardio) Drury has missed an opportunity to get in on the scrimmages and pre-season games and re-discover his offensive game. A nice run of pre-season success may have helped Drury’s confidence, however thanks to injury he’s already behind the eight-ball.

So what has gone well?

Read more »

Wade Redden To Report To Hartford

As per Larry Brooks, Wade Redden will report to Hartford to play in the AHL this season. After being waived by the Rangers on Saturday, and clearing this afternoon, Redden had several options for his future. He could report to Hartford, and honor the remaining four years of his deal ($23 million due to him). He could search for a suitable team in Europe or Russia, and have the Rangers agree to a loan, which would again see him get paid as per his contract. Or he could not report to Hartford, giving the Rangers grounds to void his contract, where Redden could seek employment from another NHL team.

At this stage of many player’s lives, family comes before hockey. With a newborn baby, it is safe to assume that Redden simply chose family this year. Hartford is close enough to New York that Redden does not need to uproot his family to continue playing hockey. It’s tough not to feel for Redden, as it was very clear he was trying, and perhaps trying too hard. It is not his fault that GM Glen Sather offered him $6.5 million per year for six years. However, hockey is a business, and for the Rangers to be competitive, Redden had to go. Maybe he can be a mentor to the kids there, like he was to Michael Del Zotto (which few knew about until MDZ spoke about Redden’s departure). At $2 million, he would be a welcome addition to most NHL clubs, just not at $6.5 million. Redden the person is a good man, but Redden the hockey players was just too expensive for minimal production.

Wade Redden To Be Placed On Waivers

As per Larry Brooks, defenseman Wade Redden will be placed on waivers today at noon. It looks like the Rangers have found his replacement in either Ryan McDonagh, Michael Sauer, Garnet Exelby, Alexei Semenov, or any of the other young defensemen. Redden was given an ultimatum at the end of last season, saying show up ready to play, or be sent to the AHL. It looks like he either wasn’t ready to play, or the defenseman has just seen the new NHL pass him by. So long Wade.

Some quotes from GM Glen Sather, as per Andrew Gross:

“It’s always difficult changing somebody’s life but you have to do what’s right for the team.”

“There was no sense waiting to waive Wade Redden, wants to give younger players more of a chance”

Glen Sather told Wade Redden after last season unless he came back “and really got off to a great start” this would happen.

Update 10:45am: As per Andrew Gross, Redden will be considering his options for a few days before making a decision. He can look into playing in Europe/Russia, he can retire, he can refuse the assignment, or he can show up in Hartford, where Sather has guaranteed him playing time. If he shows up in Hartford, he’s going to have to refrain from being a locker room cancer, no matter how disgruntled he is. Oh happy days!

Redden has four years at a $6.5 million cap hit per year. He makes $6.5 million this year and next, and $5 million the following two years.

Training Camp Preview: Defense

Training camp is right around the corner, and in our next training camp preview series –goalies were done last week– we are going to look at the defensemen vying to make the roster for the 2010-2011 season. Defense isn’t as cluttered as the forward position, but there are going to be some interesting battles in camp for those final two spots in the top six. The battle for that seventh defenseman spot, should there be a seventh defenseman, is also going to be interesting. The Rangers have four players battling for those three spots, and there are some other rookies that may be off most people’s radar, but could be dark horses to make the team.

Marc Staal: The unsigned defender is the Rangers best defenseman. Seeking a big raise from his $800,000 salary last year, the Rangers are going to need Staal signed and playing in order to compete this year. Staal logs all his minutes against opponents top lines, and does a great job at shutting them down. At the end of last season, he showed some offensive prowess, scoring in three straight games as the Rangers made a desperate push for the playoffs. Staal’s 10.4 GVT was third on the team last year, and second among skaters (Marian Gaborik was tops). His 6.4 DGVT was tops on the team by a full goal. Staal’s value to the team is almost immeasurable, and many fans are starting to get worried about when he will sign.

Dan Girardi: Girardi is an interesting conundrum. On one hand, all fans see is that he didn’t stand up for Gaborik as he got pummeled by Dan Carcillo. On the other hand, Girardi’s 5.0 DGVT (second on the team) and 6.8 GVT (fifth among skaters) shows just how valuable he really is. To put those numbers in perspective, Girardi had a better GVT than Fedor Tyutin (who some fans want back), Jay Bouwmeester, Dennis Wideman, Dion Phaneuf, Anton Volchenkov, and Zbynek Michalek. His 5.0 GVT is good for 32nd in the league, better than all those guys just mentioned, and other guys like Dan Hamhuis. Sure, Girardi may be a little overpaid at $3.325 million per season, but he’s a top four defender on almost every team in the league.

Read more after the jump

What If Redden Heeded Tortorella’s Warning?

At the end of the season last year, it became public knowledge that coach John Tortorella warned Wade Redden that he will need to fight for his position on the roster, and nothing will be guaranteed based on the size of his contract. The Rangers moves this offseason, specifically the signing of Alexander Frolov and acquisition of Todd White, have proven that they plan on removing some salary from the roster. Currently, the Rangers sit about $1.5 million over the $59.4 million salary cap, with Marc Staal still waiting to be signed. Although Staal’s case for a large salary was hurt by Erik Johnson signing at under market value, it is safe to assume that Staal will at least want to be compensated more than Dan Girardi and his $3.325 million salary.

If a nice, round number for Staal is set at $4 million, which is $500,000 under where I initially projected his market value, then that leaves the Rangers with very little options for clearing salary cap space. Prior to the Todd White acquisition, the cap space for the Staal deal could have been made by assigning both Mats Zuccarello-Aasen and Matt Gilroy to Hartford. However, with White on the roster, those moves are simply not enough anymore. In short, Wade Redden’s salary is all but a lock to sent to Hartford.

But what if Redden shows up to camp and plays well? Larry Brooks addressed this in a recent article:

And what if Redden, who knows his NHL career is on the line here, who knows that if he is waived through the league in September he will never get back, what if Redden plays assertive, sharp hockey beginning with the first scrimmage and maintains his level? What if Redden outplays just about every defenseman in camp?

Then the Rangers will be in a state of severe stress. Then, incorporating that $6.5 million onto the season cap would mean that Sather would have to slash the roster in order to leave enough space to match on Staal, who at that point would become a very inviting target for an offer sheet.

What if Redden is one of the best defensemen in camp? Brooks hits the nail on the head, the Rangers would then be hard pressed to find the salary cap space to keep him on the roster, while trying to sign Staal. While I have been on record saying that the Rangers will not be waiving Redden, I am starting to believe that there is no other way to get the team under the salary cap ceiling without waiving him. There is simply no way of putting a 20 man (or 22, depending on the need for a 13th forward and 7th defenseman) roster together without clearing Redden’s contract. It is simply a matter of business now. That will come as a cause for celebration for many all Ranger fans. But again, what if Redden is one of the best players in camp? What if he clearly outplays Steve Eminger? Are people going to miss the 2010 training camp Redden? Are people going to boo Eminger because they want Redden? It’s a long shot, but hey, anything’s possible nowadays.

How McDonagh May Spell the End of Wade Redden

In case you missed it, Ryan McDonagh signed with the Rangers. This leaves the Rangers with five signed defensemen: Michael Del Zotto, Michal Rozsival, Matt Gilroy, Ryan McDonagh, and of course, Wade Redden. Currently, Marc Staal and Dan Girardi are RFA’s, with the latter filing for arbitration the other day. It is highly unlikely that the Rangers will go ahead and let one of them go, even if Girardi is awarded the $3 million he is rumored to be looking for, as arbitration deals are one-year deals.

Now, should the Rangers sign both Staal and Girardi, that leaves the Rangers with seven defensemen. The no-doubters for the roster are Del Zotto, Rozsival, Staal, and Girardi. That leaves two spots for Gilroy, McDonagh, and Redden. Gilroy will probably make the team again, assuming he doesn’t forget how to play hockey in camp. Remember, Gilroy hit the 40 game wall last year, which is normal for college kids coming to the professional ranks. Gilroy also had the compacted NHL schedule affect his stamina, as he played 40 NHL games in under 3 months. With a year, and the experience of one 82 game season, under his belt, he should come back this season and play more consistently.

That leaves one spot left for either McDonagh or Redden. If McDonagh makes the team out of camp, which many expect him to do, then all of a sudden, Redden becomes the odd man out. With rumblings in Newsday that Redden will be waived, remember that Newsday is a Dolan owned entity, this will help fuel the Redden-will-be-waived fire. The Rangers will have no need for a $6.5 million defenseman sitting in the press box and eating up precious salary cap space. In this scenario, Redden would likely be waived to clear up space, and the Rangers would acquire a cheap, veteran seventh defenseman of the Anders Eriksson ilk.

The Rangers organization has been fairly quiet on the Redden front, but if the rumors are true that they are indeed looking for a veteran seventh defenseman, then it makes you wonder where exactly Redden fits into the equation. They won’t pay him that salary to sit in the press box and eat up cap room, but we know coach John Tortorella won’t play him if he’s not one of the top six, especially when that top-six includes four integral parts of the Rangers future on the blue line. Call me insane all you want, but I am slowly beginning to believe that the Wade Redden era in New York is very quickly coming to an end. Last time I let my guard down with this team, they crushed me on the final game of the year. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again. I believe.

Arthur Staple: Redden “Certain” to be Waived

As per Arthur Staple of Newsday, the discussions about waiving very expensive and underachieving defenseman Wade Redden have begun internally amongst the New York Rangers brass:

There is more room on defense, where Wade Redden is almost certain to be waived and sent to Hartford when training camp ends. “He’s been discussed,” Sather said.

Clearly, we all know what the benefits of waiving Wade Redden would be. It would open a spot on the roster for a young kid, and it would clear $6.5 million in cap space for the Rangers to play with. Considering Glen Sather’s recent non-statements about Ilya Kovalchuk, fearing tampering accusations, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that this is truly being considered as a viable option for the Rangers.

Fans have talked about this ad nauseum. For a long, long time, I believed this to be just us fans hoping and dreaming that he would get waived. As a matter of fact, I have penned several posts explaining why he won’t get waived, bought out, or traded, and that we were stuck with him for the foreseeable future. Then, this article by Staple comes out in Newsday, which is owned by Cablevision, owned by the same people that own the Rangers. The Dolan’s historically hate the media (kind of ironic, yes), but the fact that this article was published in a Dolan-owned entity speaks volumes.

The Rangers decision to wait until after training camp does serve a purpose. It forces kids to beat out the veteran for his spot on the roster, instead of just handing them the spot. Also, if no kid plays his way on the team, then the Rangers at least have a body to play on the blue line until someone proves themselves in Hartford. This also gives a 12 year veteran one more camp to try and find his game. Despite many fans feelings towards him, Redden is a class act and a nice guy. If just for that, he deserves a chance at camp to try to reclaim him spot, even if he, and we, knows it is for naught.

I still do not believe the Rangers have the cojones to waive Wade Redden. And I will continue to believe that until the day comes that he is actually waived. Maybe it is just a defense mechanism, in that if I believe he will be waived, and he isn’t, I’ll just get angry. But, for what it is worth, Rangers brass is discussing waiving Redden. Now, what to do with all that cap space?