Woe is D: Rangers in Cap Trouble

Russell McKenzieCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2008

First let me give you a quote from the little voice in the back of Glen Sather's head: “Wow, now that both of my highest paid d-men are -4 (Wade Redden) and -11 (Michal Roszival), maybe those big contracts weren't such a great idea after all...”

With that said, from where this writer sits, there are two things the Rangers need to do.

First, Sather's cap management skills need to be improved. This is not the world we once knew in hockey. The Rangers organization has at least a decade-long history of overspending on free agents that have provided them nothing more than a headache and an ego.

After the hard cap was put in place, it seemed that Rangers were moving in a direction that would provide both cap room and a place for their prospects to grow and flourish.

This appearance has had some support. Lets look, for a moment, at a player like Brandon Dubinsky. He's home grown, and had a spectacular rookie season centering Jaromir Jagr. Unfortunately, he has been going through a sophomore slump lately, with only five goals, and 18 points in 36 games played.

However, on the upside, after this West Coast trip, he seems like a player that is preparing for a coming out party.

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For more proof of this home grown mentality, you need to look no further than Dan Girardi and Marc Staal. Easily, they have been the Rangers' most steady d-men all season long. On a team with players mostly on the wrong side of the +/- column, Staal is a +6, and continues to support the Staal family name honorably.

So, what does Sather really think about his three big signings this off-season? Well, let's all hope he is beginning to have some second thoughts about the Roszival contract. Look, Redden has been the better player of the two, in my eyes. Yes, sometimes he's been shaky, but overall he's been a threat. Roszival, on the other hand, seems to either have the worst luck since Patrice Bergeron, or really enjoys being caught out of position.

And let's not forget the total disappointment Dimitri Kalinin has become.

So that's three on defense that are solid (Paul Mara being the one I left out), and three contracts wicked shaky, as my friends from Beantown would say.

So, Sather is left with the possibility of having to dump a contract (my vote is for Roszival) in order to make room for a solid, physical defenseman, or more size up front.

With, mid-season coming upon us quick, Sather must make a decision now. To be a true Stanley Cup contender in today's NHL, you need scoring, speed, size, and solid D. The only way the Rangers are going to achieve this is by creating cap space. And the only viable way I see that happening is by dumping useless waste into the local recycling plant.

Furthermore, I'd hate to think that Nick Zheredev, who currently leads these Rangers in scoring with 12 goals and 32 points, will become a casualty to Sather's questionable money management. He's only 24, and is quite possibly the keys to the future of this franchise.

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