Glen Sather's Worst Trade as GM of the New York Rangers

Greg CaggianoSenior Writer ISeptember 28, 2008

At first, this may seem like a very random subject to write about. However, when looking at this franchise and the players on the roster and in the system, I feel that this is a relevant subject to bring up now, more than ever.

After speaking with my friend and fellow writer Joe Alianello (who I also do a small radio show with called "Around the NHL" on Talkshoe) we happened to get on the tangent of bad trades in recent Rangers history. He brought something to my attention which at first didn't seem like much, but after a few moments of pondering I settled on the fact that this may be the worst trade Glen Sather has ever made.

When one looks at the recent trades that the Rangers have made, they may think that the Ozolinsh acquisition was the worst. Or, to go back a little further, the trade that sent Brian Leetch packing to Toronto.

But really, when you look at those two moves, neither of them would have any effect on the future of the team, even if it hurt them during that particular stretch in the season.

Instead, the worst trade of Glen Sather's career with the Rangers happened on Feb. 26, 2008, in a move that ended up sending two players one way and getting three in return.

In that trade, the Rangers sent Al Montoya and Marcel Hossa to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Josh Gratton, David Leneveau, and Fredrik Sjostrom.

Before you call me crazy, let's just take a little time to think things over.

The Rangers traded away future superstar goaltender Al Montoya, who was the only major player in the deal since Marcel Hossa never amounted to anything except being "good along the boards."

Then what's the big deal?

Since you asked, let's create a little scenario that I pray to God never comes true. Let's just say the constant hip-flexor problems catch up to Lundqvist or that right knee that he has been getting cortisone shots in for the last three months finally blows out. Then what happens?

At first the deal looked very even, possibly even tilted in the Rangers' favor, because it was. That is, until Josh Gratton and David Leneveau walked after the season ended and the only player the Rangers got to keep was Fredrik Sjostrom, who they had to take to arbitration to work out a deal.

Not to take anything away from Sjostrom, but in the 18 games he played last season he scored two goals. And although he is talented, he is a player that will never score more than 20 goals in a season.

Getting back to goaltending, Leneveau could have been a solid backup goaltender had he stayed in the organization, and a goalie with much more skill than Steve Valiquette or Miika Wiikman. But if the deal never happens, and the aforementioned scenario came true, the Rangers would then call up former first round draft pick Al Montoya to fill the void.

But now what would happen? I love Valiquette; he is probably the classiest guy on the New York Rangers. But can we honestly expect him to carry this team through a season if Lundqvist were to go down? No.

How about Miika Wiikman? He looked very solid in camp, right? The answer is yes to looking good in camp, but no to being able to carry a team through a season.

In all honesty, the team would be screwed.

I'm not one to dwell on the past, but I just wanted to bring your attention to a trade that has been overlooked as nothing in the months since it happened.