Ryan Lambert of Yahoo.com’s Puck Daddy blog said today Rangers GM Glen Sather deserves some praise for the job he’s done since the end of the season, including trading for Tim Erixon and signing Mike Rupp, as well as signing all of the team’s restricted free agents.
“Sather takes one hell of a lot of crap from just about everybody because of his penchant for giving players way more money than they ever actually earned on the ice, and rightly so. But he deserves a metric ton of credit for engineering a plan to keep pretty much his entire team together, given that a healthy portion of it was up for free agency.”
It wasn’t all smiles for Sather, though, as Lambert said the team failed to improve their defense, opting to promote from within rather than signing a free agent. Lambert also said Sather over-paid for Brad Richards and that this team’s window to win is about three-to-four years, before much of the team become free agents.
Take it one step at a time. Part of me agrees the team didn’t upgrade much in terms of defense, but I don’t believe defense was the problem last season. Of course you’d love to have more offensive coming from the point, but that could be solved if Michael Del Zotto has a bounce-back season and returns to being the player he was two years ago as a rookie. I would not sacrifice the development of Michael Sauer, Ryan McDonagh or even Erixon, for a defenseman who will give you 30 points.
Did the Ranges overpay for Richards? Yes they did, in both years and money. But if you fail to sign him, you enter this season with the same gaping hole the Rangers have had for years now: no No. 1 center. Without a bona fide top pivot, Marian Gaborik goes another season without producing the way he is capable of producing, making his salary a waste of money as well.
Lastly, I agree this team’s window is about three or four years, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Lambert compared the Rangers’ situation to that of the Capitals and Flyers, two top-tier teams any Ranger fan would be happy to be compared to. In this seasons, Ryan Callahan, Gaborik and Henrik Lundqvist are all free agents, with the following season Brandon Dubinsky and Marc Staal‘s contracts ending. But what team’s period of winning is past three years in today’s salary-caped NHL?
Sather deserves praise, and its good to see it being given. The Rangers are headed in the right place and deserve to mentioned in the same grouping as the Penguins, Bruins and Capitals, especially with Lundqvist in his prime.
Does this summer make up for the bone-headed moves Sather has made during his tenure in New York? No, they don’t, but he’s definitely working towards something great.
Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamiaTHW