Grading the Front Office Moves: Free Agency

tmranger grades the moves made by the Rangers for the 2008-09 season, taking a look at the free agents first. Trades will be reviewed later in the week.

Free Agency - 2008

Michal Rozsival resigned to 4 year $20 million deal - A move that was initially ok from my view. The Rangers needed a power play quarterback of some kind. Even though I would have rather have seen Rozsival walk in free agency, the alternatives I saw at the time were much more expensive and did not provide a significant enough upgrade over Rozsival to spend the money. Keep in mind that this signing now looks much worse due to the signing of Wade Redden.
Grade: C+

Signs Wade Redden to 6 year $39 million deal - Ranks among the worst contracts in sports history Redden was by far the Rangers weakest defenseman, and managed just 3 goals and 26 points during his first year as a Ranger. His lackadaisical attitude and shoddy defense has been a cancer on the team. His enormously bloated contract will handcuff the team for years to come with the only solution being an embarrassing buyout. To be fair, the Calgary Flames offered Redden a similar contract, but this signing shows a misunderstanding of the concept of a salary cap. An F just doesn't fully explain how horrific this signing was.
Grade: F

Signs Patrick Rissmiller to a 3 year $ 3 million deal - Nothing like paying a guy $1 million a year to play in the AHL. Rissmiller played only 2 games with the Blueshirts and did not register a point. To be fair Rissmiller wasn't given much of an opportunity to play by Tom Renney, largely because they stockpiled 3rd and 4th line forwards over the summer. Luckily for the Rangers, it was a mere $3 million that wasted on this signing..
Grade: D+

Signs Aaron Voros to 3 year $3 million deal - Voros was the kind of player the Rangers needed to add over the summer. He has the size, grit, and toughness that the Rangers lacked. He came out of the gate on fire but cooled off for the rest of the season. He notched 16 points, 2 more than he did the previous year with the Wild. Overall not a horrible signing, but Voros' lack of speed made him largely ineffective and was waived before the deadline. He was not claimed and remained with the team until the end of the season. He may or may not make an impact next season, but with the Rangers pressed against the cap it would be nice to lose his contract.
Grade: C

Signs Dimitri Kalinin to 1 year $2.1 million deal - Kalinin was the second coming of Marek Malik. He had size but shied away from contact and was useless in his own end. It wasn't a make or break signing for the Rangers and he filled a spot they needed at the time. He was traded in a package for Derek Morris and will never be heard from again. As much as I hated Kalinin during his stay in NY, at least he was only signed for one year.
Grade C-

Signs Markus Naslund to 2 year $8 million deal - Once again MSG became a retirement home for a former star. Although Naslund was the Rangers leading goal scorer with 24 goals (shows how little the Rangers could score), he often disappeared and did not make a positive impact besides the times he scored. He's a shell of his former self and his $4 million cap hit could be better used elsewhere (and will be since he just retired). Sather just couldn't resist bringing in yet another former all-star. If the Rangers weren't so pressed to the cap, this signing would have received a better grade. But unfortunately for the Rangers this is not the case.
Grade: C+

Signs Andreas Jamtin - Who? Exactly. He was once thought to be the 'replacement for Sean Avery'. Well Jamtin played only 4 games for the Wolfpack and 5 games for Charlotte Checkers. He was back in Europe after only 9 games in North America.
Grade: D

Did not re-sign Jaromir Jagr - After leading the Rangers back to playoffs and in the process, back to respectability, Glen Sather didn't even have the common courtesy to meet face to face with Jagr to discuss a possible deal. It is believed that Jaromir was looking for a 2 year deal in the range of $10-$14 million. Jagr had a down year in his final season but I personally believe it was due to the surgery he had in the prior off-season. Without Jagr the Rangers did not have a single forward that other teams had to prepare for. In addition, their power play was abysmal without Jagr. The money that was used to sign Aaron Voros, Patrick Rissmiller, and Markus Naslund would have been much better put use to re-sign Jagr. Hindsight is 20/20 but it was a very poor decision.
Grade: D

Did not re-sign Brendan Shanahan - Sather gave the 1st ballot Hall of Famer and 600 goal scorer lip service for the entire summer. The Rangers desperately needed scoring on the power play and leadership this season. Shanahan would have been an option for both and could have been had for a $1 million. Why wouldn't you want Brendan Shanahan to play on your 3rd line? I was pummeled by certain Ranger fans for saying Shanny needed to be re-signed. But when Sergei Federov scored the series winner in the playoffs, didn't it make you miss Shanahan?
Grade: C-

Did not re-sign Sean Avery - This is difficult to give a grade because in the end it worked out for the best and had little to do with any sort of strategy by Glen Sather. As much of a Sean Avery fan I am, the deal he signed with Dallas was too large for a player like him. Especially since it had a no trade clause. But in the end, Avery was a flop in Dallas and was taken by the Rangers for half price. This grade is based solely on letting Avery go.

Grade: B

Cumulative Grade: F - Unfortunately for Glen Sather, the Redden signing is so horrible that it completely outweighs the mediocrity of his other off-season moves. If Redden is not bought out, this will be the worst summer in Rangers history in my opinion. The signing is so bad that the ramifications will be felt for the entirety of his deal and it will waste the best years of Henrik Lundqvist because they will be unable to build Cup worthy team around him after this signing. Redden has been so bad, that it would be better for the Rangers if he pulled a Carl Pavano and was mysteriously injured constantly and could not be in the lineup. My only wish this summer and for the remaining 5 summers of his contract is that he will be bought out