The Rangers Cap Issues Continue, As Rebuild Comes to an End!

Mr. ControversyCorrespondent IAugust 1, 2010

OTTAWA, ON - JUNE 21: (L-R) Glen Sather of the New York Rangers and player agent Pat Morris photographed during the 2008 NHL Entry Draft at Scotiabank Place on June 21, 2008 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

On July 27, 2010 the New York Rangers filled their roster and their cap by signing left winger Alexander Frolov. 

At present time the Rangers, are in the rears, meaning they are in the negative by $-796,667 with a cap pay roll of $60,196,667. 

As much as I am trying to avoid mentioning certain players or situation/issues, I found it hard to do.

This is not a short article, and I will be breaking down all the problems this team will be facing this year and years to come.

There are three players currently on the roster that every NYR fan wishes to be rid of.   I, like you , am tired of hearing about them and talking about them. But they are such a problem it is hard not to. They are Chris Drury, Wade Redden and Michal Rozsival.

The seriousness of these three players contracts have become a burden to us all..

Chris Drury will be receiving $7,050,000 this year alone. He will receive the same next year.  If that is not bad enough, Drury has a no trade clause. Just when you thought it could not get any worse, it does. Chris Drury also has a no move clause, meaning he cannot be sent down to the minors unless he approves of it.

Michal Rozsival and Wade Redden have the same contract.  They have a limited no trade clause where they each picked eight teams that they cannot be traded to. 

There are many fans out there that think Rozsival’s contract ends at the end of this season coming up. This is not true.  Rozsival will be receiving $5,000,000 this year and next year.  After that he will finally be gone. 

Wade Redden will be receiving $6,500,000 for the next four years.   The speculation is out there that Redden will be demoted to Hartford this season.  However there is a problem with that theory. 

As much as we all wish Redden to be gone, do you really think Sather will pay a player that much money to play in the minors.  With the cap the way it is, something is definitely needed to be done if they want to sign Marc Staal and to be under the NHL CAP. Wade Redden being sent down does seem to be the logical thing to do,either that or by him out.

However, as we all have witnessed firsthand, Rangers vice president and General Manager Glen Sather does not think logically! So basically we are all playing this guessing game on exactly what he will do in regards to Staal, Redden and Rozsival. Let’s face it, Drury is not going anywhere soon! It is what it is!

It is unfortunate that we are in such a bind.  I mean looking at Sather’s past it is so hard to understand how anyone could make so many of the same mistakes.  One day we praise him for a great trade, and then the next day he kills us by makes five terrible moves.  The bad has out weighted   the good year after year.

The mistakes in the past haunt us today and will continue to do so for the next four years.  There is no General Manager out there stupid enough to want Drury at over $7 million, Redden at $6.5 million or Rosy for $5million.  To make matter worse Sather goes and makes several more mistakes this off season which has the team once again at cap maximum. 

Last year I wrote an article The Lessons Never Learned.  It seems that this year will be no different.

Many of you will disagree with what I am going to say. That is fine.   Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  However, if you can think logically and again think hockey smart, then you will agree with me.

Last year the Rangers had some major scoring issues.  What was even more horrible than their offense were their defense. With that, let us start with Dan Girardi and the Rangers defense.

Before we get into the defense we need to clear up a few things.  I am so sick of fans trying to preach defensive stats to me.  You are so clueless on what you are talking about it is not even entertaining anymore to reply to your comments when you talk defensive stats, at least not when you are talking about the Rangers defense.

Here is a quick break down on your so called stats starting with Plus/minus. How many times have you seen a player on the ice and he gets a plus because his team scores a goal?  He does not take part in scoring the goal nor does he even touch the puck.   How does this show how good this player is? Your right, it does not!   So why mention it?

How about when a player is on the ice when a goal is scored against his team?  When a forward is doing a great job of taking away the shots at the point, but his defense lets in a goal in front of the net Or HOW ABOUT a player just coming on the ice when the goal is scored. How does this prove or show how good a player he is?    It doesn’t, so forget plus/minus!  

Chris Drury is one of the best defensive forwards in the league, last year he was a minus 10.  That is because of the poor support Hank received down low in front of the net by his defense. 

It does not show you the diving attempts to clear the puck, or the blocked shots by Drury or any other forward. Then the defense lets in a poor quality goal because they are just not good enough.

You have to watch the games to know what I am talking about and be able to see who is good or not! Stats do not always tell the whole story.  

How about when it comes to the Rangers and shots scored when a defender like Girardi was on the ice. This is just another misleading stat!  Do not give credit to others when the credit that is deserved is not theirs to begin with.

What that stat does not tell you is how many shots were on goal or the shots saved while that player is on the ice. Just because only 30 goals{for example} were scored when Girardi was on the ice does not make him a good defender!

  The Rangers are the third worst in shots on goal in their own zone with 2109.  Nor does it show the amount of saves the goalie made while Girardi and the defense were on the ice. Which in Henrik Lundqvists case last year, was a total of 1942 he had to save.  Hank is in fourth place for the most saves last year.

  Although Hank only had 167 goals against him, his defense had nothing to do with that. That was all Hank. So again, do not go preaching stats especially when it was their goalie, who deserves the credit not the defenseman.

What is even worse than that is the fact that some people really want to stick up for these losers!   Saying well Redden was a plus 8. Ok then well Del Zotto was a minus 20. So we should keep Redden and trade Del Zotto.   That is what you are saying. Again, clueless! It is hard to be a negative when you are playing constantly on the same line as Gabby who alone tallied 86 points.   AGAIN do not give credit when it is not deserved.

Now that that is cleared up, let us move on to Girardi and the Rangers defense.

Dan Girardi has been with the Rangers for four years now. During that time the Rangers have made it to the play-offs three times, never making it past the second round.  Last year was the Rangers defense worst year and they missed the play-offs by one game. 

Dan Girardi has never been a consistent defender.    He is a solid shot blocker, but towards the end of the season that all came to a halt. Although his hits are never hard or damaging, and he plays a limited physical game.  He is tied in the twelfth spot with Marc Staal with one hundred and seventy eight.  But we are not talking no serious hits, mostly bumps the league has to record as a check. He is not a physical player!

Last year he spent more time standing around in front of the net looking down at the puck in his net than anything else.   He made just as many mistakes as Rosy and Redden that were costly, and some were game ending mistakes.

But Sather for some reason wanted to resign him, So he did for four years!  This alone tells you that this clueless GM and head coach have no idea what a defense is supposed to look like and or do.  They had the worst defense last year so we go and resign one of the major problems in it.

To clarify it, look at Hank. Can we all agree that Henrik Lundqvist is one of the best goalies in the league? Of course we can! Then maybe you will like to explain why Hank had more loses last year than any previous years? Maybe you can explain why Hank only had four shut outs. 

I mean Marty Brodeur  had nine. Ilya Bryzgalov from Phoenix had eight.  Hank is way down in the 16 spot.  Why is that?  They all have a better defense than the Rangers that is why!

We cannot blame Rosy and Redden alone for this. It was the entire defense, Staal and Girardi included!

Here is a list of defenders in Hartford.  Now I am sure there will be some of you that will put some of these players down, saying they are career minor leaguers and that is fine. But before you do that here me out!

If we can agree that Girardi’s defense is not the greatest or even close to it, then we can agree that Corey Potter could have indeed played a better game than Girardi If not better than, than at least the same as. Well, Potter is now a Penguin for $500,000.Compared to Girardi’s four year contract at $3.25 million.  Both players are twenty-six years old, and Potter is a much better all around player. HMM still a good signing huh?

Bobby Sanguinette is twenty-five years old whom everyone expected to see his day with the Rangers.  In his five games that he did play last year for all you stat freaks, he was a plus/minus of zero as well was Potter. His pay is $850,000 and again he was ready to replace Girardi but hes was traded to Carolina.

Let us say Sags was not fully ready, was he not worth the chance to move up and teach him at the NHL level instead of the AHL.  He has proven he can play with the big boys. Again $850,000 vs $3.25 million, Still   looks like a good signing huh.

The Rangers also have Mike Sauer down in Hartford,  again another player whose has been expected to make the roster this year.  He resigned with the Blue Shirts for $500,000. As hideous as the defense was last year he was not even called up for a chance to prove himself!

That is three defenders that could have easily replaced Girardi and for Millions cheaper. Still a good signing huh?

Then there is Nigel Williams, he is twenty-two years old 6’4 226lbs and is a very physical player. He makes $825,000. There is also Tysen Dowzak, twenty-two year old 6’5 226lb defender.  Young, aggressive and it is way too early to say he is a career minor leaguer.   He makes $533.00 compared to Girardi’s 3.25 million and the way Girardi played last year, they both cannot do any worse.

Another young defender In Hartford is Sam klassen. Twenty-one years of age and at 6’2 200 lbs this kid loves to hit and has no problems in dropping the gloves.  He makes $550,000 a season and again for a team that had no toughness, and well, no defense last year, Klassen could most definitely do the same if not better then Girardi did last year. Again at 21, it is way too early to say this kid is a career Minor league player.

There is twenty-two year old Lee Baldwin. He is 6’3 210 lbs, other than that I do not know anything about this kid except he did tally 1 goal and 9 assists in thirty-two games last year.  Well hell that is better than Wade Reddens’ 2 goals and 12 assists in seventy-five games, and Baldwin did not have Marion Gaborik on his line.

Next is Jyri Niemi. He is twenty years old 6’3 206lbs.  I find this kid very interesting because he used to be a forward who turned defenseman.   He was recently acquired by the Rangers this off season from the Islanders.  He was second in Hardest shot competition in 2008. The only player that beat him was Luke schenn from Toronto.  He is a very good skater, has speed and as proven has one hell of a shot.  He needs some improvement in his defense but overall he is another Del Zotto/Gilroy.  He is going to make $620,000 this season.   We can also let this kid play wing.

Now we are going to get to the real interesting defenders.   The Rangers recently acquired 6’5 218lb bad boy Matt McCue from Anaheim.   This was an awesome trade if they use him. He will most definitely add a physical presence to this weak Ranger team.   He will be making $559,167 this year.

There is a lot of hype in New York about another young defender named Ryan McDonagh.He is   another Del Zotto/gilroy type of player.  Making $1,300,000 this season, some are expecting this kid to be ready next year. I say he is ready this year.

Yet there is another young star waiting in the wings of this Ranger organization and his name is Tomas Kundratek. Making $ 846,000 this season, this young player comes with a lot of expectation.

That is ten defenders that can and will replace Dan Girardi. Some are indeed ready now to do just that, but yet, their spot will be taken by Girardi.

The Girardi signing was one mistake, letting Corey Potter go was Sather’s second mistake and trading Sags was his third this off season. 

With the defense as bad as it was last year, does Sather go out and hire a defensive coordinator? No he does not!

Here is another issue that really needs to be addressed.  A lot of people, fans and all the way up to general manager Glen Sather are always saying players should be ready in a year or two after they spend some time in the minors.  I have to tell you this is such a croc. 

Patrick Kane, Pavel Datsyuk, Dany Heatley, Sydney Crosby, Rick Nash, Evgeni Malkin, Nikolai Zherdev and the awesome Alex Ovechkin just to name a bunch of players that never played in the minors or have played minimal time in the minors.

The bottom line is this. If a player is good, then they are good. That is it!  It becomes a difference of quality of coaching and talent.  I hate to tell you this because it is something you should already know! But, if a player is good he will be approached by a scout or someone of importance, from there they enter the draft.  Most players are approached first, before they enter.

The point is this. The Rangers sit on these guys way to long. They are not going to progress to a level that is expected of them down in the minors. Really there is no reason for a really good player to spend one day in Hartford.  They already know how to skate and shoot a puck. They already, for the most part know how to play their position. They can easily get fine tuned in the NHL, playing with great players. To go to the minors and learn the system down there, then they come up to the NHL and learn that system is just a waste of time.

Small players can easily bulk up in the NHL as they can in the minors. Whatever issues they have or need to work on, they can work on in the NHL. 

Last year how many times did we here Tortorella saying we need to teach them how to play in the NHL level.  I mean why they didn’t just do that to begin with, instead of wasting a year or two years in the minors. 

There is nothing special about Alex Ovechkin or any other player I mentioned.  Yes I know they are great. What I mean is that they are just really good players who were immediately placed in the NHL.  Where would you rather a really good draft pick to learn, in the minors or with Marion Gaborik.   Crosby had Mario there with him. Shoot he still lives in Mario’s home.  What better teacher or mentor then that. That is where they progress, not the minors.  That is a mistake this team has been making for years now. Bring them up, if they are good then keep them, if not then get rid of them or send them back down for a prolonged fine tuning.

We are not done yet!

There are some that say making a team tougher does not make a team better. Those of you who believe this need to go back and watch the Philadelphia Flier’s season last year.    They roughed up the Rangers during the regular season, and moved on into the play-offs in the seventh seed to beat up the second seed New Jersey devils in five games. Then they went on to do the same to Boston and Montreal and made it to the Stanley Cup.  

This does not mean to go out and over pay a bruiser just to toughen up your team.  I for one like the Derek Boogaard signing but I do not agree with the amount he was paid. But there are fans out there that are acting like this guy is over paid millions of dollars.  He is over paid right around $500,000. Of course that is still $500,000 the Rangers could have used elsewhere. But let’s be real here, if Tortorella plays Boogy the way he should be played, Boogaard will indeed earn his money.

So how does Derek Boogaard improve this team other than just toughness? 

The season is split, forty-one games at home and forty-one games away.  This means that every home game, where the Rangers have last line change. Boogy, if Tortorella is smart, will be facing off against the first line of their opposition.  Now any real head coach would not have their best line against a player like Carcillo, or Boogy and so forth.   There for they would be looking to make quick line changes to get their top guys off the ice. 

It also allows Tortorella to mix up his tough guys. Brandon Prust is by no means just a fourth line player.  As we seen last year this kid has talent and can play hockey. Moving Prust to the third line means you now have protection and toughness spred out.   With Callahan on the second line, means teams have to face a physical presence on every line accept the Gabby line.

If Brian Boyle gets his head out of his rear and toughens up and plays physical, that fourth line can be a dominating line. Both Boyle and Boogy are 6’8 and both players are just around the 250 pound mark.  That can be one huge line. 

With Boogaard on this team, players like Henrik Lundqvist can be comfortable and not have to worry about getting run over like he did last year time and time again.  Gabby will not have to worry about getting his butt kicked, although deserved as it was, but he will be safer as well. You may think this has no bearing on the way a team plays, but it does.

I agree Boogy is over paid, that is Sather’s fourth mistake.   Every penny counts!

Glen Sather goes and signs Alex Frolov.  Now some can say Frolov added to the team’s offense, and they might make the play-offs and you just might be right.

But Frolov’s signing also closed the deal on a rookie coming up, because Alex is the twelfth forward. 

What it also does, if they make the play-offs is takes away a decent draft pick.  Now for some ungodly reason, many of you think that making the play-offs and losing in the first round or even second round is worth a top draft pick. 

It is not even guaranteed that they will make the play-offs. So again what those are implying is that looking better this year is worth a prospect sitting and waiting yet another year.  How dumb is that?

The misconception of this signing has you extremely confused on what is really important this year.  Some are acting like Frolov just saved this team or this season, and that is so far from the truth. 

Once again the big picture is missed. It is hard enough for these prospects to be called up as it is. Yet this signing just added to that issue. 

Then there is the other problem. Even if these players are called up they have to deal with a head coach who does not believe in playing other lines accept his first and second.  Meaning these kids will hardly get any ice time. 

Last year even when Redden was benched for four games Tortorella did not play Heikinen more than 4 minutes a game. When Enver Lisin and Brian Boyle were the only players scoring, Tortorella still did not increase their ice time. 

For all you Lisin haters and stat freaks, Lisin had a plus/minus of-1 in fifty-seven games.  Chris Drury was a -10 and Ryan Callahan was a -12.  Well hell, Del Zotto was a minus 20 but he still saw 15 minutes a game. 

Along with filling the roster and cap, the Frolov signing also diminished the chance of twenty-four year old left wing Dane Byers being re- signed.  As of right now, he is still a RFA.  With a pay role already over the Cap requirements, Byers will most likely no be re-signed.

So what was supposed to be a season of youth and prospects, has now become a season where they let decent young players go and again sign a middle aged 19 goal scorer. I guess Frolov is worth it huh.

Letting Lisin and Byers go and signing Frolov that now becomes mistakes, five, six and seven.

Another issue is leadership on this team.  There are so many fans that think Drury is a good leader.   Since he became a Ranger can you honestly say this team has played better? How about since he became Captain, Definitely not.

What is worse Is that he did not step up when Hank was ran over several times. What a real Captian would have done was step up and tell his team to beat the crap out of the next guy who does that after the first time Hank was plowed over.  All five players should have jumped whoever it was. That would have ended that problem. But he did nothing. 

Gabby was stupid and dropped the gloves with Carcillo and got the star knocked out of him. A REAL Captain would have told Gabby straight up do not do that agin. Never mind tell off every player that was on the ice when it happened who did not do a dam thing. Ohh wait wasn’t that Dan Girardi out there. It is only 3.25 million. Haha!

Drury himself was blindsided in Calgary and not one player did a thing! Some leader when your team does not even protect you or defend you!

The true leaders where Jagr and Shanahan, Staying after practice to help players   like Dawes and Dubs. When is the last time you heard Drury doing anything to help a player develop?

The last major problem with this team, other than Glen Sather, is head coach John Tortorela.  Last year Tortorella had this team looking like a bunch of lost puppies.

The way he constantly changing lines, to not playing players that deserved the ice time.  Does Tortorella not believe in building up chemistry? Or how about playing the second worst defender in the league for twenty minutes a game?

Last year while Wade Redden was being Benched, Ilkka heikkinen, Bobby Sanguinette and Corey Potter was called up. Mostly it was Heikkinen, but during that time, he was not even given a chance to play. Under four minutes a game for a defenseman is not giving him a chance.  The same goes for SAGS AND Potter. Oh and by the way, all three of them are now gone.   What does that tell you?

With a player with as much talent as Lisin, you really have to question what kind of coach Tortorella is that he cannot teach Lisin or coach him properly.  

You can say what you want about Lisin, but the truth is every time he was on the ice he created scoring opportunities and looked good.  Tortorella says his play was   away from the puck was a problem, so fans listen to that crap and believe it and go along with it.   But that is not true!

  if you want to go by stats he was only a negitive one.  In the beginning of the season, when they were winning, Lisin was even on the PK and getting the job done. So do not listen to Tortorella, he is full of it.  Besides that, when the team went through there scoring drought, Lisin was scoring.  Any real coach would have rode the momentum of Lisin and played him more, Not less!

Never mind at last year when Lisin was acquired, there was not one fan that was not happy about it.   The point is simple, Lisin is a good player, he is young, extremely fast, and has a wicked shot. He made things happen when he was on the ice. But yet their head coach benches him because of his play away from the puck. Laugh my ass off, and you all believe that.

  So I guess when the TEAM can not score in 7 periods and losing seven straight games because they cannot score, there is no reason to actually play a guy that can actually put the puck in the net because of his play away from the puck.  Umm , ok that makes sense!

The stupidity of this dam coach has me irate. How in the world did he ever win a cup is amazing because all he has shown me is that he is clueless on what he is doing!  

What kind of chance will these young players even be given with Tort as coach?  He is inpatient, and stubborn. He also is a dam liar. Not one thing he said he would do last year if players were not playing up to par did he do. He did the opposite.

When it comes to rebuilding this team, Tortorella is the wrong guy for the job. He cannot coach, does not see good talent in front of his face, and will not allow the younger crew to even play and prove themselves.     How can a player develop if they do not play?

This rebuilding process has come to an end. It was over before it started.  I am not looking for miracles over night. But you do not rebuild by filling your roster with 28 year old players who have be not performing as they should for several years. That is not how it works. 

You do not look to be competitive and make the play offs by adding aged players. You look for young talent around the league and within your own organization. That is how it is done.  Never mind being competitive and making the play-offs hurts the team in the long run.


For keeping Tortorella around that makes mistake number eight!

For New York Rangers cap info, and Henrik Lundqvist stats click the links below.




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