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.