Wednesday, July 04, 2007

We Still Need A Defenseman

Those are not my words, those are the words of Jaromir Jagr, who is getting hungrier by the minute for one more Stanley Cup skate around. There are those in the drive by media and blogosphere that would have you believe that Jagr is upset that Nylander wasn't re-signed and that Nylander was the big reason for Jagr's great two seasons in New York. Nonsense! Jagr has played seventeen seasons in the NHL and has scored thirty plus goals in sixteen straight seasons. He only played two with Nylander. Nylander had his two best years with the Rangers and that is because of Jagr.

But Jagr has it right, we need a defenseman. The Pundit brought up that point in a previous article. Is Sheldon Souray the answer? Why has no one signed this power play specialist who is close to a disaster playing five on five? He is expensive and will be asking between 4-5 million per. Can the Rangers afford him within the restrains of the salary cap? They can but only if they pull off a trade and jettison Marek Malik in the process. The other expendable talked about is Matt Cullen. With Drury and Gomez in the fold and Dubinski lurking in the wings the Rangers can afford to also trade Cullen. Trading Malik and Cullen would lop off over $5 million in cap money.

But Sather has some immediate problems. Lundqvist, Shanahan, Hossa and Avery are not signed. Prucha re-upped at about $1.6 mil per. My calculation puts the Rangers at about $11 million under the cap. However 3 million belongs to Darius Kasparaitis and that will disappear once Kaspy is either sent to Hartford or released. The rumors that Sather is playing hardball with Avery would be astounding, if true. Avery gave the Ranger team something that has been lacking for years. Swagger. How much is that worth? I would say about $2.5 mil per. Lets hope that Sather don't get carried away with the acquisition of his new super stars that he forgets where the grinders fit in and what they accomplish. Remember the 1994 Stanley Cup Champs needed the likes of Matteau, MacTavish and Noonan to close the deal. Lets not go to arbitration with Avery, lets sign him for what he deserves.

So where do the Rangers get the big defenseman Jagr says they need? I believe it will come from within and his name will be Marc Staal. The Rangers must give this kid a shot and the best way to start is by dumping Malik in a trade. Souray is too expensive and too risky on defense. Keep spotting the young guys, so far it has been paying off. Two years ago it was Prucha and Lundqvist. Last year it was Girardi and Callahan. Very quietly and efficiently the Rangers are becoming younger. Lets keep that trend going.

Buffalo News:
Drury agreed to deal last fall -- ...The Buffalo News learned a bombshell on Monday, and it will go down as one of the all-time embarrassments in Sabres history -- bigger than the broken fax machine, Artem Kryukov and the tumbling Jumbotron all rolled into one.

Drury last fall agreed to a four-year, $21.5 million contract to stay with the Sabres, a source with intimate knowledge of the negotiations told The News. The source said the sides made proposals -- the Sabres offered $20 million, Drury asked for $23 million -- and met in the middle. Then the Sabres either simply forgot or didn't feel the need make anything official. Maybe they didn't want to hurt Briere's feelings, but the Sabres never sent Drury's agent the agreed-upon contract.

After waiting for weeks, Drury instructed his agent to rescind their compliance because, the source said, Drury thought it was bad business...

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