March 1, 2011
1:10 pm 0 comments
What, you were expecting Glen Sather to make blockbuster deals yesterday afternoon?
Many apologies to anyone disappointed by that statement. But the fact the Rangers maligned GM stood pat yesterday and decided against trading any of his young assets was the best decision for a franchise committed to its youth.
The Rangers passed on the chance to acquire playmaking C Brad Richards from Dallas. For weeks, it was reported that Richards to the Rangers was almost a certainty and he would only waive his no-trade clause to be reunited with John Tortorella, the coach he played with in Tampa Bay when they won the Stanley Cup in 2004 along with his Conn Smythe trophy.
However, Stars GM and former NHL great Joe Nieuwendyk, amongst season-long ownership strife, attempted to hold Glen Sather ransom by asking for the moon to acquire Richards. Sather never bit, Nieuwendyk never lowered his asking price for Richards, and a deal never took place; and for good reason. Had the Rangers pulled the trigger for Richards, the backlash from Rangers fans towards Sather would have been apocalyptic.
The rumored package Nieuwendyk asked for included names such as Derek Stepan, Artem Anisimov, Ryan McDonagh, and Brandon Dubinsky. Not to mention draft picks as well. If any of those names had be included in a deal to acquire a player still experiencing post-concussion symptoms, something mentioned rarely yesterday, the Rangers’ franchise would have been set back several seasons in their rebuilding process.
Don’t get me wrong; Richards is one of the elite centers in the NHL and could be the answer to Marian Gaborik’s scoring woes. He’s routinely in the top 10 in points for a center and one of the best passers in the league. Yet, he’s 31 years old, a $7.8 million cap hit, a free agent at season’s end and not likely to come down from that number in new contract negotiations.
Coupled with the news that Dallas will go hard after him in the offseason, it’s not a given Brad Richards will end up on Broadway for next season. And maybe that’s a good thing. For the Rangers to even entertain the notion of bringing Richards in, Sather will have to execute serious cap-space maneuvering considering Wade Redden’s $6.5 million cap-hit will return in the summer, Chris Drury is still on the hook for $7 million next year, and New York has 11 free agents to make decisions on.
New York had the opportunities to make several deals yesterday and decided against doing them. David Pagnotta, editor-in-chief over at the Fourth Period, had some interesting news about deals that didn’t go down at the deadline. Pagnotta wrote that Glen Sather apparently dangled Michael Del Zotto as “bait” in an effort to acquire F Ales Hemsky from Edmonton. It really is true that sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make.
Looking at what the Rangers did do at the deadline and leading up to it, you have to be pleased. They acquired a veteran defenseman in Bryan McCabe for a young forward tolling in the AHL in Tim Kennedy and a 3rd round pick.
Several weeks ago I wrote the Rangers should pass on him because of the rumored price to acquire him and should go a cheaper route. And once again, this is why I write articles and the GM’s get paid to do their jobs. Sather was able to bring in McCabe without surrendering any valuable pieces, a win in any trade you execute.
To replace Kennedy at Connecticut, Sather acquired AHL center John Mitchell right at the deadline for a 7th round pick in 2012, a depth move at best considering Mitchell would have to clear re-entry waivers if the Rangers called him up.
All in all, it was a great deadline day for the Rangers. The saying “less is more” couldn’t be more relevant to the state the franchise is in. They’ve been saying to the media all season long that they’re committed to the kids developing and playing important minutes with the big club. Now that the trade deadline has come and gone and no reinforcements were brought in, it will be up to the kids to get the job done and make it to the postseason.