It's been ugly this off-season for
Rangers GM Glen Sather. At least that's what many of the regular
scribes will tell you should you happen to listen. After "missing out"
on the big Colorado trio and then the likes of Weight, Jagr, Turgeon and
Hasek, there are more than a few doom and gloomers around.
Far from signing the big ticket Free Agent,
the Rangers turned to the lesser lights, signing several younger players,
before the July 1st UFA deadline brought a handful of utilitarian
But is it really that bad? After a
first year with the team where we saw 42 different players play in the
Rangers uniform, we can now look back and see that Sather was busy
evaluating the state of the team, and to be honest, it didn't look good.
True enough his hand was often forced by
injury (Taylor, Brown, Richter, Malakhov, Kamensky and Fleury all missed
extended time), but the constant of cycle of players through the upper
ranks hinted of a more systematic evaluation going on.
Already gone from last year's ranks are
fifteen starters from last year and the number may be actually larger
pending various signings. Those fifteen guys alone comprised 462 man
games, or almost enough for six new players to each play a full season
Add to that the number of games lost to
injury, and there will be ample opportunity for the young guys to come up
and play as the season goes on, if not at the beginning.
So as the battle rages over whether Dave
Karpa was a good signing, or whether Zdeno Ciger can actually be effective
after five years in exile, just remember where we were last year and have
some optimism for the upcoming season.