Monday, February 02, 2009

Toxic Assets and the Rangers need a Stimulus

Every bank in the country seems to have some form of "toxic assets" on their books. The NY Rangers are in a similar position. Three of their highest paid players: Scotty Gomez, Chris Drury, and Wade Redden are all playing well below their par value. They have had their prime triple-A rating downgraded, certainly to Alt-A, perhaps even subprime status.

Additionally, there are no teams in a position to take these toxic assets off the Rangers books. Like a besieged bank CEO, GM Glen 'Slats' Sather can't afford to take the massive writedowns that loom in his future. Could the government step in and help out? Doubtful, it looks like they have bigger fish to fry.

Washington is all geared up to do some form of stimulus to help jump start the economy. Again, the Rangers are in the same boat. They need a stimulus, a jump start, or most of all a swift kick in the pants.

So this move of bringing up the big Russian center, Artem Anisimov, from Hartford could be viewed as part of a Slats Stimulus plan for the team. Will the Fritsche trade for Reitz count as part of a stimulus package? Or is it just taking a small writedown?

Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants had this take on how the AA move could play out, Anisimov brought up:

In a move that's been expected the past couple of weeks, certainly since Dan Fritsche was traded to the Minnesota Wild, the Rangers have promoted Russian center Artem Anisimov. The 20-year-old, the 54th overall pick in the 2006 draft, has 21 goals, 29 assists and 38 penalty minutes in 48 games for Hartford (AHL) this season.

Anisimov's arrival will bump either Chris Drury or Brandon Dubinsky out of a pivot position. Most likely, Anisimov will be paired with right wing Nikolai Zherdev. It also likely means Petr Prucha's ability to get into the lineup has just hit another road bump...

update: Gross / New-look Lineup? -- skating together this AM: Voros-Anisimov-Korpikoski, and Mara-Reitz.

This morning Larry Brooks at the NY Post wacks the toxic assets and says the Blueshirts Need Personality Fix:
The ceiling seems low for this group of Rangers, earnest as they may be...

So what are he [GM Sather] and New York doing with this class of players that seems more like a busload of tourists determined not to get separated from the group than they do citizens of the city the way Jagr was and Avery was and Messier, Leetch, Richter and Graves were? ...

... as bad as Wade Redden has been, Scott Gomez has been immeasurably worse when weighing team need against contribution.

And Chris Drury has been every bit as big a disappointment in his year two on Broadway.
I would substitute the word stimulus for "personality fix." Sean Avery, for example, was a great example of stimulus package that worked, when he was signed. But, not again for the Grate One. We need a "scoring-ready" plan, and quick.

Of course, that old reliable house organ, The Maven, Stan Fishler, goes to bat for the 'toxic assets,' The Maven Responds:
David: Hi Stan, I guess the Rangers didn't need Brendan Shanahan's scoring (three goals already, including the power play). With this putrid offense, how come they didn't sign Shanny? What a shame to have these kids play so well only to lose 1-0 to the Bruins. Scott Gomez is horrible. (What happenned to his game?) Sather better make something happen and get us a sniper! or we're one and done.

The Maven Responds: Dear David: The Brendan Shanahan Question has been a perplexing one. My belief is that Sather interpreted his lineup in need of more youth and the evolution of Ryan Callahan, Nigel Dawes, Brandon Dubinsky, et. al. proves the point. I disagree with your assessment of Scott Gomez; at least at the moment. Let's see what happens in the next couple of weeks. The club still is better now than at this time last year. Thanks.
Some financial experts have said that if the banks can hold on to their toxic assets until maturity they might get better value for them. Likewise, the Ranger might be stuck with their toxic assets and end up hoping for a brighter future. Let's hope the Slats Stimulus plan is scoring-ready and not shovel-ready.

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  • blow-me-down said...

    "The Maven Responds: Dear David: The Brendan Shanahan Question has been a perplexing one. My belief is that Sather interpreted his lineup in need of more youth and the evolution of Ryan Callahan, Nigel Dawes, Brandon Dubinsky, et. al. proves the point."

    What an example of poor writing. He makes a pretty generous leap of faith in connecting Sather's expectation of youth development to what we have seen, apropos 'evolution'. Callahan is solidifying his game but I have no idea what Fischler is talking about in regards to Dubinsky and Dawes. They have not progressed.

    Not being negative, just realistic. Crappy answer by Fischler.

  • Section 335 said...

    Brendan Shanahan, LW
    14:18minutes per game

    Aaron Voros, LW
    11:35minutes per game

    And for this we pay Sather and Renney?????

    I have stopped watching the games on TV. I get to upset. I even watch the Knicks instead. At least they have direction from the top.

  • jb said...

    b-m-d, I've been very surprised that Dubinsky has disappeared. I had high hopes, especially after his strong start. I can't figure out what's gone wrong with his game. Is it confidence? Or who he's lined up with?

    Dawes is a puzzle. A flash here and there but no progression.

    Jagr was let go to give room for these guys to grown. But they have not. Very disturbing and I think Renney is part of the problem.

    Did Fischler's mumbo jumbo rub off on Renney or vice versa?

    Sec 335,

    I think this strong showing by Shanahan might be part of the reason they're thinking of moving Brian Gionta.

    Devils shopping Gionta

    A TV sports anchor (Bob Lobel) up in Boston used to slap management by saying: "Why don't we get players like that?" every time he reported on a pro player excelling after a Boston team let him go or passed on signing. He hammered the Red Sox for years over letting Jeff Bagwell go to Houston for an aging relief pitcher.

    Wouldn't it be ironic if Shanny scored an critical playoff PP goal against the Rangers that end their season.

  • blow-me-down said...

    I still have hopes for Dubinsky, and keep telling myself this is not him playing at full potential. As some rightly point out, Jagr helped him look very good indeed last season, but Jagr was on another continent in the first 10 games + this year where Dubinsky looked like he was going nowhere but up. Any coincidence that the team were playing an 'up-tempo' game that worked?
    I do worry that he gets packaged in a trade. I wouldn't miss Dawes at all but hope Dubinsky is kept. Cally I would like to keep too. Prucha? - the eternal guessing game.

    Since I am fully expecting an acquisition/trade of some importance to happen, I just hope it would not be Gionta, nothing against the guy at all. It would end up a misguided attempt to recreate the magic with Gomez. I think it would be fizzle, not sizzle (you know, the stifled offense strategy which is the cornerstone of the way they are forced to play) . If Sather isn't even thinking of angling for Gionta, then good for him.

    And man-oh-man, Shanahan lands and instantly, and consistently contributes, even if it is only 5 games. He does look good, forgive me for wondering whether it would be the same if he was wearing blue.

  • jb said...

    Why Slats did not sign Shanny when the Rangers lost 3 of 4 in late Nov/early Dec, with two shutouts and all of 4 goals total is the million dollar question. Slats has totally screwed his roster by overpaying and every GM must know he's over a barrel with no room to do bupkis.

    Totally agree that they should stay far away from Gionta.