If you think about Glen Sather's tenure in New York as the general manager of the New York Rangers it's really not hard to imagine him at a poker table with 31 other general managers, sporting a cowboy hat and chewing a cigar (or maybe actually smoking it since this would be a casino after all).
Sather is the ultimate high roller -- he always has been. And James Dolan has always been his wealthy backer, sitting in the shadows and opening up his wallet whenever Sather's low on funds. Risk and reward do play a factor, but Dolan has never been afraid to pony up his own money to take care of Sather's bad bets -- and that never gets enough recognition in my mind.
I already talked about how past mistakes forced Sather to push all his chips into the middle of the table this year. But when you have a good hand and you waste it, unfortunately you can't sit around and think about what was. The game keeps moving forward, antes hit the middle of the table and the cards are dealt. So it is what it is.
Sather was met with a choice as the Rangers approached the deadline: He could stand with the team he had (something I advocated for) or he could push his chips into the middle of the table and make the big splash we all know he loves to make. He made the splash.
I've gone on and on about how the trade was risky, but I don't want to confuse that with a bad trade. Actually, if Sather was going to make a splash, he couldn't have made a better move. Again, Sather didn't need to push his chips into the middle of the table, but at least he had a killer hand when he did it.
Every trade deadline is different. Some deadlines are full to the brim with quality rentals looking for a new home. Some -- like this most recent deadline -- have a few smart options but very few big splashes. Antoine Vermette was probably the darling of the trade deadline this year. The Chicago Blackhawks went after him hard. Every buyer raises the stakes at this time of year but sometimes you need to be careful about who you're betting on.
Sather didn't need to take the risk he did, but at least he went about it the right way. Sather bet on an elite offensive defenseman who is a perfect fit to help inject some life into a stagnant power play. And while you've probably heard that phrase a lot the past few years -- failed promise after failed promise -- Keith Yandle has one big difference: He's in his prime. He's also signed for another year.
So, yeah, maybe Sather did put the deed to his house in the middle of the table, but at least he did it with a good hand. Betting the farm on a guy like Vermette (or, worse, a guy like Chris Stewart) isn't the best business plan.
If you're going to make a splash you might as well do it right. Sather didn't need to take the risk he did, but at least he did it the right way.