Now before you get all bent out of shape, preparing yourself to get angry at another Glen Sather mishap, calm down. I was actually surprised and a little proud of Sather’s recent quotes and public ideals for the team. But of course when it comes to Mr. Sather, you have bad news mixed with some good news. Usually, its like a gallon of bad news and a sprinkle of good. So I’ll start with that.
A week ago, the Rangers signed our 2008 2nd Round draft pick University of Wisconsin’s Center Derek Stepan. The New York Post had the article:
Stepan, who will turn 20 (June 18th), was captain of the Team USA World Junior Championship gold-medal winners this January. Used in a defensive and checking role through much of his college career, Stepan was an offensive force in the tournament for the United States, recording 14 points (4-10) in seven games. He had 54 points (12-42) as a sophomore for the Badgers, who lost the NCAA final to Boston College.
Stepan would have to be regarded as an extreme long shot to make the Rangers out of training camp. If he does not make the club, he’s more likely to be assigned to the junior WHL Calgary Hitmen rather than the team’s AHL Hartford affiliate.
Now at least to me, this news is “mas o menos”. I meanjust what we need, another defensive minded player. Can’t we get anyone who scores? Knows how to score? Has seen someone score? I’ll take someone that can shoot the puck at this point.
The tournament scoring is nice to read though. And his college career hasn’t been terrible either. Shooting percentage is really the only downfall with over a 100 SOG and only 9 goals to show for it. Its nice to see we’re drafting and signing a playmaker, but how many people do we need to pass the puck to Gaborik. At some point it would be nice to take some of the pressure off the highest scoring Ranger since Jaromir Jagr.
Now for some ever nicer news, Sather pretty much outright said that he’s going to resign Marc Staal and Dan Girardi. I think most people knew this, but I had my doubts on Dan Girardi. I go back and forth on Girardi, he’s inconsistent and not a very aggressive guy. Plus with all these young defensive prospects that we have, I thought he was an obvious choice to go with him, Staal, and Anders Eriksson being the only defensive free agents we have. But lets face it, Eriksson was gone virtually as soon as we signed him.
Don’t get me wrong, I will not be sad about keeping Girardi. My main concern and I think the #1 issue every Ranger fan has is Wade “Never Shoulda Signed” Redden. The Rangers only have $12 million to play with, and that’s knowing that the Rangers/Glen Sather want to re-sign Staal, Girardi, Jody Shelley, Vinny Prospal, and Brandon Prust. Good luck with that. Thats where Redden comes into play, if they hide Redden and his terrible play… err I mean hefty salary in the AHL before the season, then that’s another $6.5 million to negotiate with. They won’t buy out his contract because then they’re still stuck with a portion of that money hitting the salary cap. Sather has been and will continue looking for a trade partner, but really, who’s going to trade for a six and a half million dollar piece of dung?
Slates is also very excited about seeing what Evgeny Grachev, Dale Weise, and the other youngsters can do about getting playing time and jobs. And I think we can all attest to that. We know we have young talent, and we want to see them play. I just hope that he stands by his word. No more of this signing BIG names that are really just BIG has-been’s. We can look for an affordable reliable center, but lets focus on what we have, and keeping what we have. That’s what Glen Sather wants to do, and that’s a heaping pile of good news.
I’ll leave you all with one more solid quote from our beloved/hated GM from The Post…
“A player’s contract isn’t going to get him a spot on the team if he doesn’t earn it, and that goes for everyone.
“Everyone is fighting for a job. They all know that. If they don’t, they should.”