No more speculation, no more poss-not-deffs from the hockey world. Olli Jokinen is officially returning to New York—but this time it'll be the Broadway rendition.
In return, Rangers GM Glen Sather shipped struggling offseason acquisitions Christopher Higgins and Ales Kotalik to the Flames.
The trade was first reported Sunday night on TSN, but was on again, off again, with more developments than Reggie Bush and Kim Kardashian's togetherness.
Now that the trade is finalized, I can officially say that Sather has once again proved that he is the Mr. Miyagi of NHL trades. He is the master; nobody does it better. As much as I can't stand him for crippling the Rangers with horrific free-agent signings, the man's trading abilities are right up there with the Pilgram's.
The part that I'm ecstatic about is not Jokinen coming to the Rangers and delivering an offensive punch. No, what I'm happy about is the salary that's going to be off the books over the summer.
As I said, as good as Sather is with trades (Anson Carter for Jaromir Jagr ring a bell?), he's horrific with free agent signings...ahem, Wade Redden. Sorry, got a little tickle in my throat there. Rozsival. Sorry.
Kotalik was one of those signings. Three years at $3 million per for a marginal 20-goal scorer? Sorry, were we missing something there?
Now, I defended Kotes and didn't agree with the treatment that he was getting from coach John Tortorella, but it was evident that the situation (I hate not being able to say that word without thinking of that stupid MTV show) wasn't going to fix itself.
The fact that Sather not only got someone to take Kotalik, who has been riding the pine eight of the last nine games, was brilliant in itself. The fact that he ALSO got someone to take Higgins with him, who was pretty much a throw in the Scott Gomez trade this offseason, is simply amazing.
Like I said, if Jokinen can put some numbers up while he's here, that's great, but I hardly expect him to be part of the Rangers' plans after this season.
Let's face it, at $5 million he's making big money and isn't putting up nearly the numbers he should be with 11 goals and 24 assists. Actually, those numbers are good for third-best in points on the Rangers right now. Ouch.
Now, hopefully with this money Sather just cleared, he doesn't go and make another mistake this offseason.
In addition to the $5.25 million coming off the books between Higgins and Kotalik, Vinny Prospal ($1.1 million) and Dan Girardi ($1.55 million) are also slated to be erased from the Rangers' charts.
Sather should use the majority of that money to lock up Marc Staal long term, as he is set to be a restricted free agent at season's end.
In all likelihood, Staal should command $4 million per season over a five to seven year span, easily.
Another thing that excites me about this deal, is the acquisition of Brandon Prust.
That pretty much seals Donald Brashear's fate. Thank heavens.
Speaking of Sather's free-agent blunders, how about giving a washed up goon like Brashear a two-year, $2.8 million contract?
That's like paying for a dial-up Internet connection right now. Sure, it might've been a fun thing to have 10 years ago, but now it's just slow and annoys you every time you wait for it to do something.
Prust, on the other hand, at 25 years old is much younger and can actually play a regular shift. He's pretty good in his own end, and he can throw down with the best of them. Let's see Carcillo take a shot at Gaborik now when the league's second-leader in fights is across from him.
Sather, hat's off to you. You've done it again.