There have been a lot of debates this off season about all the Rangers trades, signings, and what to do with all of our highly touted prospects, like Grachev, Del Zotto, and Sanguinetti, which have funnelled into a bigger debate on whether Sather is becoming a better GM, which is interesting, but I'm not going to get into.
I am writing this as a reply to Joe's article "Where is the Youth?" and it got way too long to be a comment, so I decided to turn it into a fanpost, since I haven't heard anyone else give this take on our recent wheelings and dealings.
theprospectpark (the first commenter on Joe's article) and Joe both make very good points. Joe is absolutely right in saying the production of Gaborik, Higgins, Drury, Kotalik, Avery, Roszival and Valiquette is not going to be equalled by anyone of our prospects this season. I don't even think that is actually debatable.
Joe is also right that we do have a substantial amount of guys from our farm system competing for the spot on the team this year.
And I will acknowledge that Sather did a good job drafting Callahan, Dubinsky, and Hank.
However, theprospectpark does have a point that the team is drifting very far towards only taking forwards with a scoring touch. Sjostrom and Betts, who were two of the better defensive forwards in the league and both of whom had a decent amount of skill offensively were dropped along with Orr, for Brashear, Boyle, and indirectly Lisin. Now I'm not making the case that Brashear is a talented sniper. In fact, I think of him as a cheap shot artist, but because I haven't watched him 82 games a year, I'll hold my judgement. As for Boyle and Lisin, they are both billed as players with a tremendous offensive upside that haven't fully developed at the NHL level. Higgins, Gaborik, and Kotalik also weren't signed for their PK skills, and everyone knows it. We got them because we're hoping between the three of them, they'll put up at least 80-90 goals this season.
What this boils down to is that this off season is a purge. That is the honest truth behind it. A lot of people (myself included) want to see the prospects we hear so much about like Sanguinetti, Grachev, Del Zotto, Potter, and Sauer come up, because they have such a great buzz about them. Since the Rangers have actually been pretty close to the Stanley Cup finals the last few years, it is very frustrating to see them get torn down, but thats whats happening. The reality is, some of those guys may get shipped out before they reach Broadway, or shortly there after because they were gotten for Tom Renney's team.
Regardless of your views, these are some facts. The Rangers have 7 forwards on contract from last season. 1 of those forwards is Patrick Rissmiller, who played 2 games in NY last year and wasn't much of a factor. Another is Aaron Voros, who was in and out of the squad, and probably won't make 1 of Tort's top 3 lines. The third is Zherdev, and since no one can tell what he's doing lets assume for the sake of argument that he is leaving, be it for the KHL or in a trade. That leaves Drury, Avery, Callahan, and Dubinsky, who isn't actually signed yet.
We have aquired Corey Locke, Brian Boyle, Tyler Arnasson, Donald Brashear, Chris Higgins, Ales Kotalik, Andres Ambuhl, Marion Gaborik, and the rights to Enver Lisin. Thats 9 new forwards, Thats over twice as many acquisitions as returning forwards who contributed significantly. Another thing is that Anisimov, and debatably Parenteau, Byers, and maybe Grachev are ready to be called up. Unfortunately for some of these players, Torts wouldn't ever be able to or want to play all 20 forwards I've just mentioned. There won't be room on Tortorella's team for some of our prospects, just like there wasn't room for Betts, Sjostrom, Orr, Korpikoski, Gomez, and Mara.
Its started in defense too. Mara and Morris were let go, and Heikkenen, Gilroy, and Fahey were recently signed. Staal is going nowhere, and Girardi is probably around for a while too. Since Redden is unmovable, and Roszival seems to be in Torts's good graces theres nothing more to be done. As for the goalies Torts inherited an all-star starter and a top notch back up, so I doubt that needs much retooling.
The bottom line is this. The roster in New York and all the farm teams is in flux, because Tortorella's style is much different from Renney's, and the organization needs to get players who can succeed in Tortorella's team. We can't keep talking about it like the kids are coming up to replace the veterans who have left and there will be a couple of signings to fill holes, because thats not whats happening. The organization is being completely rebuit this summer, and we'll see what happens in October.