For the last two weeks in Rangerland, there has been nothing but talk and speculation as to what will happen to Wade Redden during this off-season.
The Ottawa Sun claims that the Rangers will waive their highest paid defensemen this September and when he clears, he will be sent down to the minors, clearing his $6.5 million salary off the books. He would then spend the next five years of his contract rotting away for the Rangers' American Hockey League affiliate Hartford Wolfpack.
Although a costly move, the Rangers organization, who is owned by the Dolan family and Cablevision, has the money to pay him and since it would not count against the cap, the move makes sense. At thirty two years of age, this move would also more then likely spell the end of Wade Redden's career in the NHL, something that no General Manager has the right to do.
All of this speculation stems from the fact that Redden had a disastrous season, and when you are signed to a mega deal on Broadway, you are expected to perform at a certain level. But for the first seventy-five percent of the season, that high level was not even close to being achieved.
So what do the Rangers do with Redden?
At first glance, waiving him seems like the best option because after all, it clears that albatross of a contract of the books and would open up an endless supply of windows for the Rangers to look out of.
But how realistic would a move to waivers be for the Rangers, most of all Glen Sather? The Ottawa Sun also notes that Redden has been offered around the league to various teams and he obviously saw no takers. But by waiving him, Sather admits his mistake, the worst one of his tenure with the Rangers, and Glen Sather has never been known to swallow his pride.
Rangers fans must fully expect Wade Redden to be on the opening night roster, and for good reason. Even though Redden experienced a drop in play in his final two years in Ottawa, he still has to have time to adapt to the New York City life.
If you noticed his play during the course of the season, he was good early on and then when the team went on it's downward spiral in late November/early December, he spiraled right along with them. But, when Tom Renney was fired in February, Redden's play immediately picked up, and he even scored a powerplay goal in his first game under the new headman John Tortorella.
In Ottawa, Redden played in a more up-tempo, fast paced, aggressive puck moving system. Renney's style was the polar opposite. He still didn't put up major points in the new system but like the rest of the team he needed time to adapt.
For this new season, and a new approach in training camp, it can be fully expected that Redden will pick up his game. He should be given this full season to show he can play in New York, and be that leader on the powerplay that this team desperately needs. If he continues to play the same, however, the Rangers could then explore their options.
Greg Caggiano is a writer here on Bleacher Report covering the New York Rangers. He has a New York area sports teams blog called Metro-Sports, where you can read great articles about all professional sports teams that play in the area by a dedicated team of young writers.
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