Hi Guys. I'm relatively new to Blueshirt Banter, but I'd like to start off introducing myself. I've been a Ranger fan for close to 20 years now. Hockey has always been my favorite sport and I probably have way too much useless hockey info stored in my head. I was a harsh critic of Neil Smith, despite the 94 shopping spree working out. With the exception of the youth movement I've been a huge critic of Sathers too. My philosophy on building an NHL team is to build from within. I think of free agency as nothing more than an indication of how poorly managed a team is, and the use of free agency rarely works.
I am not plugging the following site for any reason, in fact I can't say I go there anymore, but I started writing this article a day or two after the start of last seasons free agency period. I published it about 3 weeks later if memory serves me correctly. I was calling for Sather to be fired before this season.
If you have a few minutes I would appreciate if you could eye it over. I think I hit the nail on the head in regards to a lot. I figured Valiquette would be in Europe or the AHL within 2 years. In actuality it was within 2 months. I had a feeling Brashear would be a bust, not a huge shocker, I know. I figured Zherdev would be a top line guy or in the KHL depending on his own agenda and ambitions. The latter seems to be true. I suggested Sanguinetti be used as trade bait because in another year I didn't see him as being more than 9th on the defensive depth chart and I also suggested and still maintain the team should trade Girardi's rights this offseason.
I've seen a lot of suggestions about who the Rangers should target this offseason and what not, but I don't think there is anyone worth getting in the free agency market. The Rangers have a surplus of borderline NHL wingers. There are enough guys offensively that deserve ice time.
*I think Prust needs to be brought back on a 1 year deal in the neighborhood of 700K.
*Jody Shelley should be resigned if he was a positive influence in the locker room. This team lacks toughness, and though the 2 goal outburst by Shelley was a fluke, the difference between the conditional 5th round pick is almost meaningless. Chances are the guy the Rangers like in the 5th could still be there in the 6th. Either way the statistical odds of finding a player that late are low regardless.
*Let Jokinen walk.
*Bring back Prospal only on a one year deal probably around 2.5 or let him walk.
*Give Lisin a qualifying offer. Perhaps he signs in the KHL for a year and gets polished. He won't develop under Torts.
*Look at Parenteau on a short term 2 way contract.
*Try to trade Girardi to move up a little in the draft or to acquire someone of value.
*Don't be opposed to trading Sanguinetti.
*Hope the hockey gods will give us someone who would take a chance on Redden. We've suffered enough and need a break. (I only want this if Sather is fired.) When he traded Gomez he immediately signed Gaborik which gave us no cap relief. He'd probably sign Volchenkov to the same contract.
*Rozsival could garner interest from a team who wants to sit around the cap floor. He is making 7 million over these 2 years with a 5 million dollar cap hit.
*Resign Auld to a one year deal at hopefully 800K or so.
Dubinsky Christensen Gaborik
Prospal Drury Callahan
Avery Boyle Parenteau
Shelley Anisimov Prust
Del Zotto Sanguinetti/Sauer/Heikkinen.
Thats not a great lineup by any means, but what I would hope to get out of this season is some continuity. Get some rules in for Lundqvist. Don't let him play more than 5 consecutive games and give him a max of 62 games. If this group of players, who is exactly the same team as last year with the exception of one Hartford defensive call up can make a push then we could look to add a player or two at the deadline. If this team flops, perhaps we can finally get a quality forward through the draft. Also Rozsival could easily be traded next February with only 1 year 3million left after this season. Prospal could probably net us a quality player, and perhaps a team like Colorado would want Drury for a playoff push.
There is no doubt if we sign Frolov and insert him into a 2nd line LW spot, this team should do better. But the Rangers are in shambles, and are not one LW away from contending. Also he would command a Cammalleri like contract and we can't simply bury Redden in Hartford for the next 4 seasons. I think the current group needs a chance to find identity. If they can play hard and play a 60 minute game then we know we can build around this core of players. If we struggle, then a mini fire sale with no quick fixes is in order. The good news is we do have some kids who should be ready this season like Weise, Byers, Sanguinetti, and Sauer. Stepan and McDonaugh could be ready in 2011. Grachev and possibly Kreider and Werek in 2012. The absolute worst thing that can happen is another year with a roster turnover between 5-10 players, especially if very few of those are promoted from within.