Mar 5, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Martin St. Louis (26) during a break in action against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

A Glen Sather State of Mind

Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers’  General Manager, Glen Sather, upon explaining the trade of Ryan Callahan for Martin St. Louis, claims the two sides had narrowed the dollar gap, and that what irked him most was the request for a no-trade clause. That struck me as odd, as a further attempt to malign a player just doing what any of us would do, and demonstrated that Sather brings to his managerial style what he displayed on the ice: a contentious, ego-driven, chip on the shoulder, state of mind.

Larry Brooks, discounts the no-trade clause request as the reason for the deal not getting done and describes the request as reasonable. Players who have no-trade clauses often waive it when a trade emerges as desirable to them such as going to a contender or to a home town. It was reported that the two sides were within $200,000 a year, that close to extending Callahan six years.  It now appears this was less about money and more about Sather’s ego and reputation as a “brinks man”. He takes heat for signing lengthy contracts to aging stars, particularly when they have skated for another club, such as Wade Redden or Brad Richards, just to name a few. So it was time for him to show how tough he is by again playing hardball with the homegrown talent. This inconsistency should irk the fans.

It is safe to assume that any employed individual will seek to earn as much as
possible within the context of his or her job for as long as possible. It is what
any of us would do. For a professional NHL hockey player, an athlete whose
talents are seen in under 1000 players throughout the world, the window closes quickly on careers and access to dollars the game amasses is limited. Team owners, who have no such career ending pressures and are unquestioned as multi-millionaires and billionaires come together every few years under the guidance of Gary Bettman, to shut down the league, take bigger bites out of what they pay players, players being the only reason anyone watches the sport, and then inconsistently hand out contracts as a result of some emotional competitive spasm. In the case of Sather, given a permanent open window as GM, it is his ego most in play. Before coming to New York, pre-cap, he claimed if he had the team’s money to spend, they would be a perennial group of Stanley Cup winners. Upon his hiring, the team was promptly led to numerous straight years of missing the playoffs. Sather is still trying to overcome this.

I believe Callahan wanted to stay, yet Sather painted him as greedy,
unreasonable with the no-trade demand, and ran a good PR campaign resulting in not only loyal fans doubting the captain, but also potential trade partners becoming wary. So how did Sather do? What did he save the team?  What did he do for the future? The concern supposedly was that at the end of a six-year contract Callahan, at 35 years old, would no longer be worth it. So, instead Sather trades for St. Louis, a 38-year-old, and surrenders draft picks in the process. I don’t buy that Callahan’s skills are diminishing,
not still in his twenties, nor that he is injury prone. Virtually all players
have lesser years or incur injury. In Callahan’s case, he gets injured by being
committed to what he is most prized for: blocking shots and doing the dirty
work in front of the net and in the corners. Who will now lead Rick Nash into those areas?

As far as I know when Sather goes, or sends someone, to buy his expensive
cigars, he doesn’t demand the price be lowered. In this exchange, his ego is sufficiently buoyed by paying the high price, and not maligning the cigar assemblers; they apparently deserve every penny with no threat of trading brands. Either way, Sather’s state of mind is a selfish one. The team continues to falter having never made the Stanley Cup finals under his leadership. It is he that exacts too high a return for his services.

Tags: Glen Sather Martin St. Louis New York Rangers Ryan Callahan

  • Pivot

    That’s a bunch of Bull! NY is a major market with major overhead. If he were to put the Rangers through a full rebuild like Chicago or Boston. Dolan would go bankrupt and have to sell. For Sather this wasn’t an option. So he rebuilt slowly but kept the team in the playoff hunt. The Jagr-Renney years are a perfect example. He still built much of the team through the draft and now has a team in win now mode. They are contenders right now. No matter what pundits say. Did anyone predict LA to sweep their way right to the Cup finals and the championship? No, you didn’t and neither did I. All the Rangers have to do is get in.
    Sather has had his blunders but some may have been bad intel from his scouts and fellow management. Since 09′ this team has improved things that needed to be improved and the Rangers as a team (cap wise) are set to be even better next year. With key players locked up and some fringe guys Sather can do what he wants with. This team needs to do a little better in the draft but Sather & co are notorious for finding lightning in a bottle in the mid to latter rounds. There is also a very strong set of capable hockey men able to step right in should Sather give up his seat as GM. He is still president of hockey opps. So he will be around a while. Not many GM’s can turn Gomez into McDonagh. He has done very well in the trade market.
    The Callahan situation was sad. For him to demand that kind of money with 11G & 24 points on the season is comical. He obviously didn’t care about the team as much as we thought. Cally priced himself out of NY. Players 10X better than him don’t get more than 5-5.5 mil per season. Look at St Louis contract. Kessler gets $5 mil per but Cally is worth north of $6 mil for 6 years. Good ridence. Sather held firm and for a change didn’t give out a bad contract. It Saves NY $1.5 mil for spending this summer. Sather has earned his job in my book. For how ever long he wants to stay.

    • BrooklynMMA

      Ahhhh the company man that defends and defends no matter what…

      Point 1 is completely false. The team was horrible for many years in a row and Dolan still made boatloads of money off the team (from the dumb fans, myself included, that bought into this joke of a franchise). The Dolans are worth billions, and even if the Rangers started losing money (they wouldn’t but let’s just pretend here) he would still have the Knicks and MSG (just in terms of sports which isn’t even where they make most of their money…) Not to mention you also seem to think Dolan gives a s#it about the Rangers (if he did, Sather would have been gone a long time ago)

      The Jagr-Renney years? While they were fun (mainly from the Avery time) did they win anything? No. He got lucky with the whole Jagr debacle in Washington. They also got lucky that a 7th round pick turned into one of the best goalies in the world.

      “All the Rangers have to do is get in” argument is so flawed. How long have the Rangers just “gotten in”.. How has that worked out for them? One Cup in the last 70+ years.. None in the last 20. Soon they’ll be chanting 94, 94, 94….

      Yeah they had 1 great year in 11-12. But they still fell short and blew it all up in the offseason.. Classic Sather.. Classic Dolan..

      Yeah he turned Gomez into McDonagh. One great move in 14 years.. Let’s not bring up all his failures though (that would take toooooo much time to list anyway..)

      • Pivot

        Sather has not delivered on what he said. I agree on that and I myself am a disgruntled fan but there’s a salary cap now so it evens the playing field. So much parody in the league now it’s all luck. Even in 7 game series, not always does the best team win.
        As far as draft picks. Every single one of them from 1st round to 7th (and 8 & 9 when they used to have 9 rounds) are a crapshoot. At the time as shocking as it was McIlrath was a brilliant pick. If he ever gets it together he is a Chara like presence. He has done much better the last 7 or 8 years in the draft. Even scored on 3 3rd round picks last year. I thought he could have done more at this deadline but he didn’t. I’m sure that has something to do with next year and all the roster spots he will have to fill. Wether it be resigning current Rangers or getting into the Free Agent market. In any event he will have a lot of money to spend.
        This team is put together with homegrown kids or players acquired by trading those kids. Sather is one of the best GM’s in the NHL. In the 29 other cities they say the same things about their GM. He missed this pick. We need this and he failed to get it. Fans are impatient. Myself included. But this Ranger team is built to contend now. They have the parts to make a run this season. I just think they needed a little more grit on the top 9. A guy like Stewart who was sent to Buffalo in the Miller trade. He’s a righty they need and he’s big. Scored 18 goals last year and had as many fights. Just what NY needed. Even Penner was traded for pucks.
        The Rangers core has a ton of playoff experience now. That will help them going forward. They’ll have to get by either Boston or Pittsburgh. I think they can beat either one in 7 games. Hank alone can steal a series. Boston isn’t as deep as they were and Pitt chokes come playoff time. Don’t respond well to physical play.

  • BrooklynMMA

    Dolan and Sather share 50% of the blame in my book. You have a GM that has no fear of losing his job and doesn’t really put much effort into it. You have an owner who (like most of New York) doesn’t care about hockey or his own team. He loves MSG and the Knicks (even though suck even more than the Rangers)… The Rangers are just a little side token and he only cares about the millions of dollars the fans give him for practically nothing in return.

    You make some good points but in the end it’s all irrelevant. Callahan or MSL, it doesn’t matter.. If the Dolan/Sather team is still at the top, this team will never win a Cup..