There has been a decent group of people, starting with Larry Brooks, who are upset that the Rangers traded yet another prospect of ours, before their full maturation. Whether it was Tony Amonte, Todd Marchant, Sergei Zubov, Alex Kovalev, Petr Prucha, Al Montoya, Mike Ridley, and so forth, the Rangers truly do have a solid tradition: draft a player, trade that player, acquire a has-been to replace him.
If you've ever read my other columns, you'd understand my utter disdain with regard to this. I truly do believe that to build not just a winner but a perennial winner you must draft well, teach properly, and integrate your talent wisely. Over the history of the New York Rangers franchise we have flat out failed in this department, therefore translating into only four Stanley Cups in what is approaching 100 years of existence.
However, I will say with confidence that our drafting as of late, while not being stellar by any means, has been somewhat better.
Henrik Lundqvist was a late round stud and Marc Staal is our cornerstone on the backline. Others like Michael Del Zotto, Bobby Sanguinetti, Corey Potter, and Mike Sauer could be crucial as well. Before his injury Dan Blackburn even looked like he had the potential to be a top 10 goalie in this league.
That's just discussing the blue line and the crease. How about up front?
I will say that in regards to finding offensive dynamos in the draft, Glen Sather is horrendous. Yes, Cherepanov fell into our laps a few years back, but he was always somewhat overrated, and sadly, we'll never find out just how good he could have been.
But for the most part, do we really have to look anywhere past two of our former first round picks, Jamie Lundmark and Pavel Brendl? Who are these guys?
I will make the statement, however, that in regards to finding hard-working second and third line players, Glen Sather does have a gift. That has been his forte so far during his tenure in New York.
No Ranger fan today is not aware of and in love with both Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan. Does anyone work harder on a nightly basis than these two? Both were Ranger draft picks. Dane Byers and Brodie Dupont are both going to be looked at to make the team this year due to their work ethic.
In the future, the same could be said for Ethan Werek and Ryan Bourque, two picks from this year's draft. During last year's camp, Dale Weise was impressive with hard-nosed game.
Lauri Korpikoski fits directly into this category. He's an incredibly hard-working player among incredibly hard-working players.
Now, don't get me wrong; I have no issue with hard working players. In fact, I'd be happy with a majority of them being blue collar guys. In reality, however, players with that natural scoring talent are just necessary.
To be truthful, we don't draft that many. Maybe Derek Stepan? Maybe Evgeny Gratchev? Who knows. To pick up a dynamo like Enver Lisin might truly have been a wise move by Sather. I'll miss Korpedo, truly, but we traded a definitive third-line grinder for a possible second-line scoring winger, the type that we truly need.
I really have no issue with trading from one of our true strengths to address a weakness. Even if it means to trade away picks we don't know every detail about. Sather just can't draft offensive players. I'm okay with him finding the players that previously he couldn't.
Now, if only Sather would acquire a hard-nosed, larger defenseman to clear our crease, like JovoCop, Sheldon Souray, Kevin Bieksa, or XLB.