The New York Rangers finally made the move everyone has been expecting to address their stunning lack of defensive depth in the wake of three injuries and a suspension to the team's defensive corps. The problem is, the move wasn't exactly what people expected; with Glen Sather bringing Tomas Kaberle in on a tryout basis.
Sather loves his reclamation projects. And to be fair to him, they do tend to work out. Sean Avery and Anton Stralman were the most successful reclamation projects Sather has ever had. Ryan Malone -- who was waived this week -- is an example of the most recent attempt to find the second wind of a player's career.
The good news about these moves is they're very low risk and very high reward. In the case of Kaberle, however, it seems like everyone is in a panic.
Let's start off with the actual tryout itself: It's not permanent. The Rangers have not offered him a contract, and they're in no way contractually bound to him in any way, shape or form. The issue you should have if you're a Rangers fan is that this move screams panic.
The Rangers called up Conor Allen and Dylan McIlrath to hold down the fort while Kevin Klein, Dan Boyle and John Moore came closer to returning. Moore will be back in three games and Boyle is getting closer to a return. Klein's status is still questionable (which in itself is worrisome) and Ryan McDonagh is in the first of a 3-4 week absence due to injury.
There were reports after McDonagh went down the Rangers were interested in Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Andrej Sekera -- but since then the rumor mill has gone quiet.
This move tells me the Rangers aren't fully comfortable with Allen or McIlrath on the bottom pairing; but is Kaberle really better than either of those two options? Wouldn't the Rangers get more long term out of seeing both defenseman (who have been the top pairing in Hartford) at the professional level for a few more games?
According to Larry Brooks, Kaberle was the last defensive cut from the Devils during this year's tryout due to the team wanting to focus on their younger defenseman. That's somewhat reassuring, but it's still going to take a lot to convince me that he's an upgrade over the defenseman the Rangers are currently employing -- even if they are put together with tape and a glue stick.
Still, it's a no-risk move. Seriously, there's absolutely no risk attached here. And there was a time when any of us would have killed to have Kaberle on Broadway. That was a few years ago, but still.
And who knows, this might turn into another one of Sather's reclamation projects. If not, no worries, just toss him back into the bargain bin and move on.