This post was written before the trade for Steve Eminger. So when reading this, don't forget that Eminger is not even mentioned within this article. Also, this was written before the Dan Girardi extension, so that piece is a bit outdated.
In case you missed it, Ryan McDonagh signed with the Rangers. This leaves the Rangers with five signed defensemen: Michael Del Zotto, Michal Rozsival, Matt Gilroy, Ryan McDonagh, and of course, Wade Redden. Currently, Marc Staal and Dan Girardi are RFA’s, with the latter filing for arbitration the other day. It is highly unlikely that the Rangers will go ahead and let one of them go, even if Girardi is awarded the $3 million he is rumored to be looking for, as arbitration deals are one-year deals.
Now, should the Rangers sign both Staal and Girardi, that leaves the Rangers with seven defensemen. The no-doubters for the roster are Del Zotto, Rozsival, Staal, and Girardi. That leaves two spots for Gilroy, McDonagh, and Redden. Gilroy will probably make the team again, assuming he doesn’t forget how to play hockey in camp. Remember, Gilroy hit the 40 game wall last year, which is normal for college kids coming to the professional ranks. Gilroy also had the compacted NHL schedule affect his stamina, as he played 40 NHL games in under 3 months. With a year, and the experience of one 82 game season, under his belt, he should come back this season and play more consistently.
That leaves one spot left for either McDonagh or Redden. If McDonagh makes the team out of camp, which many expect him to do, then all of a sudden, Redden becomes the odd man out. With rumblings in Newsday that Redden will be waived, remember that Newsday is a Dolan owned entity, this will help fuel the Redden-will-be-waived fire. The Rangers will have no need for a $6.5 million defenseman sitting in the press box and eating up precious salary cap space. In this scenario, Redden would likely be waived to clear up space, and the Rangers would acquire a cheap, veteran seventh defenseman of the Anders Eriksson ilk.
The Rangers organization has been fairly quiet on the Redden front, but if the rumors are true that they are indeed looking for a veteran seventh defenseman, then it makes you wonder where exactly Redden fits into the equation. They won’t pay him that salary to sit in the press box and eat up cap room, but we know coach John Tortorella won’t play him if he’s not one of the top six, especially when that top-six includes four integral parts of the Rangers future on the blue line. Call me insane all you want, but I am slowly beginning to believe that the Wade Redden era in New York is very quickly coming to an end. Last time I let my guard down with this team, they crushed me on the final game of the year. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again. I believe.