There just has to be more trades to come.
Sather has spent a lot of time this off-season collecting a lot of
fringe NHL players who if not for expansion wouldn't have jobs in the big
league. There simply is no room for these players unless his plan is to
acquire as many low budget bodies as possible in order to find a
combination that works.
In addition Petr Nedved still isn't signed
yet. Every day that goes by, you get a sinking feeling that there might be something cooking I think it would behoove the Rangers to
keep Nedved and move him to left wing on the first or second line.
Considering the Rangers have the most
pathetic left side in hockey it would bring some respectability to the
position and also free up the logjam at Center. If Nedved is not traded
out and moved to the left side York would become your 3rd line center.
Another reason why I suspect a trade might be looming large is there are
way too many defenseman.
In addition a sad reality is that defensive
tough guy Dale Puriton's days are numbered as a New York Ranger. There
simply is not enough room for him on the backline especially when Thomas
Kloucek comes back from injury. Dale will most likely sent down to play
with the Hartford Wolfpack or as used as an additional player to be traded
in a future deal.
Although I don't agree with the potential
Purinton move entirely, Dale didn't impress coaches by instigating more
then his share of fights last year while the Rangers were in the offensive
zone and he leaves the Rangers short on Defense every time he drops the
mitts. In Ranger eyes he is a liability.
With the possibility of Peter Smrek or Mike
Mottau making a run at the opening night lineup there is just way too many
bodies vying for a defensive spot on the Rangers. It is my opinion that if
you have any hopes of rebuilding a team do it through these guys instead
of obtaining players like David Karpa and Darren Van Impe.
Karpa is very prone to giving away pucks in
his own end of the ice and not as tough as his PIMS would lead you to
believe. Also Darren Van Impe who was picked up on waivers from Boston in
all reality doesn't help the Rangers anywhere other then taking up a spot
where youth should be.
Van Impe was probably the player Sather was
alluding to as the replacement for (ahem) Kim Johnsson. So in all
likelihood the Rangers must believe Smrek and Mottau are not ready, or
they feel that a priority is to have a veteran pair like Karpa and Van
Impe as their 5th and 6th defenseman. In my opinion they should play these
young guys (Smrek, Mottau) on Defense instead of sitting on them for yet
another year. Let's see what they can do NOW.
The goaltending issue has been ignored for
so long that maybe there could be a deal in the works down the road.
Richter is coming off two seasons of back to back knee surgeries and he
isn't getting any younger. The Rangers invited Petr Skudra to camp. Whom
frankly couldn't stop a beachball with a boat oar in net, and the very
thought of him being announced as the opening night backup goalie is truly
frightening. The Rangers need a goalie to play the bulk of games if
Richter does goes down or the season is certainly doomed for sure.
Recently there have been reports that
Sather has been trying to coax Bryan Berard out of retirement even though
his vision is still grossly impaired. My advice to Slacks is stop trying
to get something for nothing and just leave well enough alone. The defense
with the addition of Ulanov and hopefully with a healthy Malakov won't be
that bad. I don't know how good it will be but I will assure you it can't
and won't get much worse then last years.
All in all I don't think Sather is done
trading. I hope he is. I'm still recovering from the Lindros debacle.
Already there are 10 players gone from last year's MSG opening night game
lineup. So if anything positive can be said is Sather is indeed rehauling
a very embarrassing 2000 New York Ranger Team and more importantly ridding
himself of Neil Smith acquired players. Sather is now full force,
retooling the Rangers with his own unique cast of characters. For Better
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