ST PAUL, MN - JUNE 24: (L-R) Assistant General Manager Jim Schoenfeld of the New York Rangers, General Manager Glen Sather of the New York Rangers and General Manager David Poile of the Nashville Predators share a laugh during day one of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft at Xcel Energy Center on June 24, 2011 in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
It's funny, but had Scott Howson waited just 24 hours things might have been so much different. If It had taken Howson and Glen Sather more time before they finally sealed the deal for the Columbus Blue Jackets' 28-year-old sniper, he might have had another partner in the dance.
The Philadelphia Flyers were informed Tuesday that the Nashville Predators were matching their $110-million offer sheet to Shea Weber, throwing the team's offseason plans into some mild chaos. Remember that the Flyer weren't just major players for Rick Nash at one point, but we're also reportedly on his short list of teams as well.
But Sather didn't blink. And he waited out a general manager notorious for waiting (see Howson declining the New York Rangers' offer in February, along with a host of teams this offseason), and stuck to his guns. He got his man, he kept his untouchables (Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh and Chris Kreider) and he didn't allow a potentially destructive situation (the Weber offer sheet) change his ideology.
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The Weber situation could have gone two ways. Howson could have played it up, said that the Flyers were about to get a premire player in the NHL, jacked up his price again (since he was obviously coming down) and wait on Sather to take the risk of Weber landing on the Flyers and having the Rangers not improve. Or Howson could have waited to see if Nashville would match and then have Philadelphia jump back in the mix.
In the beginning, Howson played the first card. This was what he was waiting for. One of the Rangers biggest rivals was about to get one of the NHL's best defenseman, Sather would have to cave a little, right? But he didn't. And as it became more and more clear that Nashville wasn't going to match (obviously they ended up matching), Sather still didn't blink.
That's when Howson blinked, and made the deal without getting back Stepan, McDonagh or Kreider. I'm not saying the Rangers didn't give up talent, but they didn't give up the talent they wanted to keep.
It's time to give Sather the credit he deserves for this team he's put together. Let's also please stop assuming that Sather simply trades players away without consulting his staff first. He and John Tortorella have obviously had a few conversations about the players who were going to be included in the deal.
So let's give Sather some credit. He got his man and stuck to his guns. He kept the kids and got a big piece to fill a big hole. That's what a good general manager does. And I think it's obvious that's what Sather has been post-lockout