Is Wade Redden a Heart-Breaker or Playmaker?

PJ EdelmanCorrespondent IAugust 4, 2008

The Hockey News' Adam Proteau has declared that Wade Redden is the second-worst off-season signing, behind Ron Hainsey's $22.5 million deal in Atlanta. 

Ron Hainsey!  I barely know who the guy is, and he's getting a boat-load of money. 

This does not bode well for Wade Redden, who is set to receive $6.5 million from the Rangers for each of the next six years.  The two-time All-Star saw his goals total drop to the lowest it's been since his arrival in the NHL.  He's too old, he's lost a step, and he will be a huge bust for the Rangers.

Or not.  True, Redden's goals dropped to six this past year, but his career high is only 17.  He has never had more than ten in any other season.  As far as helpers go, he had 32 last year.  Only three times in his eleven years with the Senators has Redden eclipsed that mark. 

His point total is essentially right on par with the rest of his career.  And Redden has landed on the positive side of the plus/minus rating every year but one, quite the accomplishment on the offense-oriented Senators.  Only three years ago he tied the Rangers' very own Michal Rozsival for the league lead in that category.  

Statistics however, are far from the point.

In his time as a pro hockey player, Redden has missed the playoffs only once.  In the ten years he has played, he has made serious contributions on the big stage.  He will be a play-by-example leader for the Rangers blossoming defensemen, and will add experience and knowledge to a team that is pushing for a deep drive into the playoffs.

The Rangers knew that they would not be getting the great scorer that they truly coveted on defense.  But instead, they are getting a seasoned veteran who has a knack for maintaing a high level of consistency and making breakout passes. 

Imagine Dan Girardi checking a player in the defensive zone.  Redden grabs the puck and rifles a laser onto the stick of a streaking Gomez or Zherdev. 

That pretty picture is worth $6.5 million a year.  Maybe not for six years, but the Rangers will take four or five without a problem.