New York Rangers: Sather Sends Fans on Emotional Rollercoaster Ride

Mr. ControversyCorrespondent IJuly 5, 2011

I have spoken to many Rangers fans about Brad Richards. Like many of them, I too had mixed feelings about him and the contract he wanted.

No one questions his ability, we all know how good he is. But an eight-year deal with an $8 million cap hit for a guy who is 31 years old is very risky. Of course, highlighting the deal are three little letters—NMC.

If in a few years Brad falls off the charts in points, we will be stuck with him.

General Manager Glen Sather went after Richards despite the risks and signed him for nine years and $60 million total. He will be 40 years old when his contract is finished.

No one can say for sure that Brad’s play will decrease in a few years. Look at Teemu Selanne—at 40 years of age, Teemu had 31 goals with 48 assists last season.

Another player to look at is Nicklas Lidstrom, who was also 40 years old last year but earned 62 points and the Norris Trophy despite his age.

Rangers fans need to hope Richards will follow in their footsteps and remain a productive player for this team.

Brad Richards will bring leadership on and off the ice. He is a play maker but he is also good for 25 goals a year. His ability in the offensive zone is among the best there is. The younger core can truly learn from him and has what it takes to improve this team.

This Rangers team has many players with massive potential and talent. Their defense was greatly increased last year and the young players really stepped up. I said this team was close to becoming real contenders but a few tweaks were still needed.

I am not saying Richards will win the cup for us. But I will say that he is definitely one of the tweaks that was needed.

What makes the deal so good is that he will only be receiving $1 million for his last three years of his contract. But he will still be carrying a $6,666,667 cap hit, which is not so good.

Overall this was a good signing. I hate to see the youth put on hold, but it is not like they will be put on hold for a guy like Ruslan Fedotenko.

Oh wait—they will be!

A player that the Rangers did not need to sign was Ruslan Fedotenko. For some ungodly reason Sather thought he needed to bring back the 32-year-old winger at $1.4 million for next season. I understand that Rangers fans like this guy. He plays hard, and he is an okay defensive forward. But that is it.

It seems like every player that comes to town with a good work ethic is well-received by the fans. Fedotenko falls into that category.

The Rangers problem last year was not defense, but scoring goals. I would have much rather seen them sign Vinny Prospal then bring back Fedotenko. At least with Vinny you know he will knock in 20-plus goals and another 30 or 40 assists.

Signing a player like Fedotenko defeats the purpose of bringing in a player like Richards. I've said it before and I will say it again—we have a whole team filled with defensive forwards. On top of that we have a whole roster filled with players that would do the same if not better job than Ruslan. Those players are just waiting to come up from the minors and are cheaper than Fedotenko.

You have Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky, Brandon Prust and Dan Boyle, Artem Anisimov and Sean Avery, even Wojtek Wolski played on the penalty kill and is pretty decent in his own zone.

Brad Richards is also a decent two-way defender. Derek Stepan is learning but he also did a very good job last year in his own zone. Lets not forget we signed Mike Rupp. Minus Marian Gaborik and Eric Christensen you already have 10 two-way forwards.

Fedotenko was not needed he will be the thirteenth forward.

So Glen, the next time you want to throw away $1.4 million, you can just simply give it to me and you will get the same in return, nothing!

I am not going to get too deep on this issue but there is one player out there who will score 20 plus goals and should come cheap. You do not sign Fedotenko and you give $2 million to Nikolai Zherdev and you bring him back. He is an FA and definitely a 20-plus goal scorer. Which is what the Rangers need. That makes more sense than signing another two way forward who you might get 10 goals from.

Another thing is this. Fedotenko is number 13 on the forwards. Someone needs to sit. It also means that there is no room for them to bring up another rookie. Are you still happy about Fedotenko?

The ugliest move so far has to be the trade that Sather made for a third round draft pick.

There was so much hype coming from the Rangers organization about Evgeny Grachev, how he improved and will definitely be a force in the NHL that the Rangers traded him for a third round pick. He is a kid that has already been getting some experience and is ready to play. To trade him for a third round pick that you have no idea of knowing he will make it to the next level is just dumb.

Evgeney Grachev should have played the full season last year. But because of players like Fedotenko he was not given the chance and like so many before him he is traded. You do not trade the future of your team for question mark players. The stupidest thing I have seen since we signed Gomez and Drury.

Grachev wanted to play and when he was told no, he asked to be traded. He knows he is ready and so did the St. Louis Blues organization, which jumped all over the deal. Just a dumb move by Sather.

This is not an issue where Sather is trading youth for old time vets like he did in the past. But it still is just another example of what happens when you make bad signings that equal bad trades. Grachev can easily come up and take the role that Fedotenko will have. Or he simply can move up in lines, proving he is the real deal.

The one thing the Rangers have been lacking in is centers. Which is what Grachev is. Why in the world would you not let this guy get all the experience he can get when your team is lacking in that area is simply a joke. He has size, he is 6’3, 225 lbs., he plays a physical game and there is no reason why he could not simply take any role Fedotenko will be playing.

Signing Mike Rupp was an okay deal. He will be taking the late Derek Boogaard’s spot on this team. He is 6’5, 230 lbs. and should fill that role nicely. I think he is slightly overpaid at $1.5 million, but Rupp will definitely earn his pay. I have no issues there.

One move I do have an issue with is letting Matt Gilroy walk for one million per year. Here is a player who improved greatly in the defensive area. He was sent to the minors and took full advantage of it. He came back up and took that defensive position away from Steve Eminger. He is young talented and continues to improve. So why let him walk?

If the whole idea is to bring in a dominant defender, a stay at home, big, physical defender, then I have no issues with it. But if it is to bring up Del Zotto then that is just a horrible move. I would take Gilroy over Del Zotto any day of the week.

So far as I see it Sather has made two good moves and three bad moves. If they do not have any intentions of bringing up any more rookies, then they need to go out and sign a player who can find the net. Whether it is Zherdev or someone else, this team needs more goal scorers and fewer two-way players who can not produce goals. If they do not, the Richards signing will mean nothing.

We seen it before. Top name players come to NY and cannot handle it. Other teams shut down that Richards line and we again will be fighting for goals to win games. A tweak here and a tweak there and this team will be legitimate contenders. But they need to stop signing players who will not produce more than a few goals a season to make that happen.

Filling your roster with third and fourth line players defeats the purpose of going out and signing a top line center and that is what they are doing.

The fourth line played well last season. Forty-four goals from third- and fourth-line players is awesome. But here you have seven third- and fourth-line players out of 12 for next season and lets not forget that no one on this team even broke 25 goals last year. Where are the goal scorers? Out of the other five forwards, maybe three of them are first-line players and that is a big maybe.

Review the team, be your own judge. We have more defensive players than we do goal scorers and that is fine if you want a team to fight every game for a win. The score will be 2-1 or 1-0. If you want you team to struggle again then you have that right now. If not then they need more goal scorers. That’s the bottom line!


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