Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Playing With Fire

There is an old saying that when you play with fire you will get burned. Glen Sather and the Rangers are testing that old adage. Sather gets kudos for acquiring both Drury and Gomez but that kind of strapped him short of cash for Shanahan, Lundqvist, Avery and Hossa. It seems he is on the verge of a deal with Shanny that will give him a base of about $2.5 mil plus bonuses that will bring him up to the $4 mil mark that Shanny is shooting for. What about the other three?

The bad news is that the remaining three are going to arbitration in about two weeks or so unless a deal can be reached sooner. In the case of Lundqvist and Avery this could cause problems down the road. This would open both up for free agency next year unless Sather can recover and sign both up for long term deals in 2008. There is no way the Rangers can afford to lose Lundqvist. Lundqvist is the franchise and should remain so for the rest of his career. It would set off a bidding war the likes never seen before with the biggest prize available in years. Could you imagine Lundqvist as a replacement for an aging Brodeur?

Avery is another story though he also should be kept. What he brought to the Rangers could not be measured in points or checks. He brought that intangible, that swagger, that feeling that if you were on the ice with him all things are possible. However, it is quite possible that Avery will test the free agency market and there could be a bonanza for him out there. Also, he is ornery enough to go to the Devils or the Islanders.

Hossa seems to be an afterthought in this whole deal. With the additions the Rangers have added Hossa will be hard pressed to make the fourth line. But he is a valuable piece. Hossa, Cullen and Malik could be packaged in a deal for a tough D man but also if traded they would ease the strain on the salary cap. Hossa got first line action last year and some power play time. With this lineup both of those options are out the window. Is Hossa needed? You tell me.

Cullen was misplayed as a second line center most of the year and now sems to have settled on the third line between Prucha and Callahan. To me, Dubinsky showed enough last year that with some normal improvement he could fit into the third line center slot. Is Cullen needed? You tell me.

Malik had a mixed bag last year. Great plus/minus but heavy booing from the faithful who got tired of his misplaying the puck and being out of position too many times and also for being too slow. The Rangers have seven defensemen plus Marc Staal waiting in the wings to explode on the Garden scene. Also there is big, tough David Liffiton who showed well in his brief appearance last year. And isn't it about time we gave Ivan Baranka a chance to make this team? Is Malik needed? You tell me. There is one more interesting story alive in NHL land. Sheldon Souray is still unsigned. Isn't it odd that the premier power play defenseman in the league is still unclaimed and unsigned? Or is he? Glen Sather will need a lot of cap gap if he hopes to put Souray's signature on a Ranger contract. Do the Rangers need Sheldon Souray, a defensive liability? I would rather see Malik gone and Marc Staal in. You tell me.

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  • Anonymous said...

    Mike, I agree and don't think
    Souray is "needed". It's like your common issue of needs and wants. He is as much a defensive liability as Malik. And he may have scored a lot of goals, but with the new offensive threats they have, the Rangers will not need as many goals from defensemen. Mara and Rosival are good enough to quarterback the PP. I'd rather see them get a Sean O'Donnell (Pronger's partner) - type defenseman who is a solid, stay-at-home defender. They can still trade Malik/Hossa/Cullen/Montoya or any combination of those and get one of of those types of players in return and still gain cap room since O'Donnell-type players are often underrated and underpaid. Maybe the Devils made the smart move and got Vishnevski who can hit and is a good defender.

  • mike said...

    anonymous-You are right on target about the Rangers. You didn't think Lamoriello would go quitely, did you?