Business of Hockey

Is the Pouliot news evidence of Sather’s change in approach?

Is Sather learning?
Is Sather learning?

Can old dogs learn new tricks? Everyone will agree that Glen Sather’s approach to the Lundqvist, Girardi and especially Callahan contract situations over the last year adversely impacted the Rangers this season. It almost certainly cost the Rangers their captain (even if Callahan’s demands were excessive).

News of Pouliot and the Rangers having a ‘mutual interest’ in extending the talented winger’s stay in New York may be premature to draw any conclusions from, but alternatively it may be a sign that the Rangers – Sather in particular – may be learning from the trials and tribulations of the past twelve months.

The Rangers have a few major contract situations creeping up on them that could really impact the competitiveness of their roster, long term. The major contract situation is of course Marc Staal’s, who is close to being back to his best and who gives the Rangers an elite defenseman on their second pair – a rare luxury in a cap driven league. With Staal’s situation likely to be a complicated one, getting the contract situations of the likes of Pouliot, Mats Zuccarello and other core roster players resolved early will allow the Rangers to know exactly what they can or can’t afford with regard to Staal.

Glen Sather is known for playing hard ball in contract situations and recently it has cost the Rangers. Not just the previously discussed trio of key Rangers this season, but Derek Stepan’s contract situation was also mishandled which could have impacted the talented center’s performances along the way. News of the Rangers and Pouliot touching base early (early considering the season is still in a critical phase) suggests Sather may be learning from his own mistakes – and working on his stubbornness.

Getting your own house in order first is the smart way of doing business. With a well managed roster Sather and the Rangers can approach free agency and the trade market this off season with a much clearer picture of what they have, and just as critically, what they still need. Maybe old dogs can learn new tricks.

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  • In addition to Staal, the Rangers need to address early on this summer the contract for Stepan. While it was only last summer he signed his existing contract, it was only for two seasons. As you mentioned with this past season’s experience with Girardi, Hank and Callahan, both Staal and Stepan need to be addressed early; or one/both may end up going into the trade deadline when anything can happen.

    • I agree. I also think Stepan’s next deal – given his up and down season (with a strong end…) – is very difficult to project.

  • What does “even if” mean? It means goodbye. Sather did the right thing in jettisoning Callahan. The Rangers would not have been able to match the money Buffalo is going to give him. Oh, he also procured the services of MSL in the process. Adverse impact? He stole McDonagh and didn’t overpay for Stepan, Girardi or Lundqvist. I don’t get your perspective.

  • Talk about trying to have it both ways! Sather’s approach “almost certainly cost the Rangers their Captain,”but you recognize that Cally’s demands were excessive.” Having a Staal on the 2d pairing is “a rare luxury in a salary cap league,” but Sather playing “hard ball” in negotiations “has cost the Rangers”?

    In a salary cap league every dollar counts. The only reason we’re in a position to “get our own house in order” and “manage the roster” by hopefully keeping Staal, Zucc & Pouliot is because of how Sather has handled the negotiations with Stepan, Hank, Girardi and, especially, Cally.

  • Sather changed? LOL. Saying you want to keep a player means nothing. It’s what he’s said in virtually every case (except Boyle). And then dragged out the re-signings of everyone so he could get the last dime — and show them who’s boss. He hasn’t changed.

  • This is probably one of the worst and contradictory comments Chris has written. For years people have been blasting Sather for overpaying his minions, whether they be on the roster or free agents. So when Sather holds fast and squeezes nickels — in this tight cap environment — he gets spanked (by Chris here and others) for being “stubborn”, for harming the team because of his “hard ball” negotiations over contracts with Lundquist, Girardi, and especially Callahan, whose demands, Chris admits, were “excessive.” And because he stood fast with Stefan, he hurt him and the Rangers. This is pure nonsense, and contradictary nonsense at that. Had he given into Callahan’s clearly “excessive” demands you can bet Sather would be attacked as a dope. And a dope he would have been. I’m willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that Callahan will go into free agency and be forced to take much less than he’s demanding. And where is the evidence that Sather “hurt” the team by his tough contract negotiations. Have the Rangers missed the playoffs? Are they not entering the playoffs a better team than they were last year? This attempt to demonize Sather for what he does or doesn’t do is getting tiresome. Of course he’s made many mistakes but not in his recent contract negotiations.

  • Slats is too slick a GM, when dealing with contracts that is, to show his hand. When the time is right, and the numbers are as well, then Sather will sign the people in question.

    I, have to admit early on, I was so against Pouliot, that I would have gotten rid of him for a puck. Now I believe that he should be re-signed for 2 years, with a modest raise, based on the season he had.

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