"Money, get away. Get a good job with more pay and you're OK."
And not in a way that you'd normally expect.
You could argue that there are Blueshirts backers far and wide who think that Sather is living on the dark side of the Moon. The man known as "Slats," the cigar-chomping champion of free-agent spending throughout his oft-maligned tenure on 7th Avenue, has suddenly become a major spendthrift.
He is a Madison Square Garden miser choosing to opt out of all the big-contract craziness that started this past Sunday. He is a man with nearly $20 million to spend, pinching owner James Dolan's pennies as if they were his own.
Somewhere, Scott Fraser is hanging his head in shame.
But Ranger faithfuls should be doing quite the opposite. In fact, every one of you who root for the boys from Broadway should applaud Mr. Sather for showing tremendous fiscal responsibility, instead of signing over the hill and run-of-the-mill unrestricted free agents to potentially destructive multi-year deals, as other GMs have done.
Take a look at some of the numbers that have already been thrown around: (Courtesy of tsn.ca)
Dennis Wideman, Defenseman - five years, $26.5 million with the Calgary Flames
Jason Garrison, Defenseman - six years, $27.6 million with the Vancouver Canucks
Olli Jokinen, Forward - two years, $9 million with the Winnipeg Jets
Ray Whitney, Forward - two years, $9 million with the Dallas Stars
P.A. Parenteau, Forward - four years, $16 million with the Colorado Avalanche
"Money, it's a gas. Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash."
Conversely, here are the two big names that the Rangers have signed so far:
Taylor Pyatt, Forward - two years, $3.1 million
Arron Asham, Forward - two years, $2 million
How could this be? How could the big-city Rangers not be dolling out the big-city bucks?
Read on to find out the three key reasons.
Contract details courtesy of capgeek.com
Prospect information courtesy of hockeysfuture.com
Reason #1 - The Core
All the trade talk involving Rick Nash is simply talk at this point, because Glen Sather will not part with players who are part of the Rangers core. Since 2005, when Gordie Clark took over as the team's Director of Player Personnel, they've done a terrific job of drafting players who are key contributors today—players like Marc Staal, Michael Del Zotto, Artem Anisimov, Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider.
Keeping the core together is how you build winning teams. These players grow together, endure the ups and downs of each season together, and hopefully they'll get to raise the Stanley Cup together.
If the Nash nuttiness doesn’t work out, there will be other deals to be made. The Rangers have assets to move, but they cannot move too many of them for just one player. The team that won 61 games combined in the regular season and playoffs should not get blown up. Period.
Reason #2 - The Contracts
The teams that have the most long-term success in the the National Hockey League know how to correctly manage the salary cap. It's that simple. And in doing so, they have to have an eye on the present—and the future.
With this in mind, here are key Rangers who will become Restricted Free Agents (RFAs) in 2013 - 2014:
Chris Kreider becomes an RFA in 2014 - 2015.
Glen Sather knows the deal—you've got to have money in the cookie jar in order to pay the talent.
Reason #3 - The Coming Attractions
So there are core players who continue to grow together as a unit. Then you have the players who will eventually get the chances to shine on Broadway—players like:
These youngsters are important parts of the Rangers' future. And if they produce as projected at the NHL level, they will get paid—and paid well.
So there you have it. The core. The contracts. The coming attractions. These the three big reasons why the Rangers haven't spent the big bucks in free agency this year.
Pink Floyd knew it all those years ago. Thankfully, now Glen Sather knows it, too.
"Money, so they say, is the root of all evil today."
Truer words were never spoken.
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