“It’s better to be a lion for one day than it is to be a mouse for life,” said Sather, talking about the trade for Eric Lindros.
This quote seems to be how Sather spent his time while being GM for the Rangers. You have to win in New York. You have a franchise goalie who gives you a chance every night. No one wants to go back to the dark ages. With this mentality, Glen spent, and spent and spent some more.
Was it being a lion when you got Wade Redden? How about the insane double free agency signing of Chris Drury/Scott Gomez that got the city buzzing. How about “Broadway Brad” Richards, who any fan with a sense of the salary cap KNEW giving him the 9 year deal the Rangers did would be a disaster (he was bought out three years later).
Sather came to New York a champion. He was now a champion with owner James Dolan’s bottomless pit of money. So how do you win a cup on Broadway? Well just thrown tons of money at free agents of course! Wait that doesn’t work? Wait, this team actually hired a coach who preached about youth and building the farm? Wait, the Rangers are actually developing good, young talent?! Blasphemy!
Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Carl Hagelin, Chris Kreider and on and on. It seemed like the Rangers were turning the corner, and this was evident in the Rangers run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2012. They lost to the Devils in 6 tough games, but you could see the team was on the upswing. They were close. Sather had to tweak the team a bit.
The big move?! Rick Nash. I could write 1000 paragraphs in how I feel about him, so I won’t waste my time. Bottom line is Nash has been a playoff disappointment, and his 7.8 contract should go.
From that 2012 run though, this team kept going for it, and going for it, and going for it. In March of 2014, Ryan Callahan and a first round pick were sent to Tampa for Martin St. Louis. He was old yet still playing well. The Rangers made the cup that year, resulting in yet another SECOND first round pick going to Tampa. The Rangers blew their best chance for a cup in 20 years, losing in 5 to the Kings.
The team comes back the next season and really takes off around February. Cam Talbot is filling in admirably for star Henrik Lundqvist. The team adds Keith Yandle, a great puck moving defenseman. The price? Anthony Duclair and a first round pick. How do the Rangers finish the presidents trophy season? Losing at home, game 7, 2-0 to Tampa. Im still sick to my stomach.
Now this year the Rangers are on pace for 100 points, despite serious defensive issues. How does the team solve this? They add Eric Staal for two second round picks and promisng prospect Aleksi Saarela. The Rangers get crushed in five games to the Penguins.
Now here we are. The moves of the past few seasons, the going for it, is now biting this team in the ass, BIG TIME. Keith Yandle’s rights were traded to Florida, for a 6th round pick, which turns into a 4th if he signs. Forget that Yandle is gonna remain in the East, our best defenseman this season is gone, due to Sathers atrocious handling of the past 3 years. Arizona hasn’t even used their first round pick yet! Yet Yandle is gone. This team had false hope to go for it, and I understand why they tried to go for it this year. But management seemed to forget we have a salary cap. WE KNEW YANDLE WAS A GONER. He could have fetched so much more at the trade deadline as a rental, yet we held on to him and got peanuts.
Dan Girardi is here for four more season with a cap hit of $5,500,00. He has a no move clause until end of 2016, then a modified no trade until 2019. Hes pretty much unmovable right now, and the Rangers only other option is to buy him out, keeping dead money on the cap for years to come.
The other wonder twin is Marc Staal. This one really pisses me off, more than Girardi. G was always a favorite, Staal was great but some horrific injuries have really made him a shell of himself. Most diehard fans wanted Staal to walk or get traded, yet here comes Sather. We have to reward our players and our core! Staal has a $5,7000,000 cap hit until 2021! And Sather really loves to give out those no move clauses like they’re candy. He has a nmc until 2017 and a modified no trade until 2020. Unbelievable. Sather was basically going against himself, and he lost.
Now with two atrocious contracts tied into the defense, we will lose Yandle. Was he the best defensive player? No. But he could move the puck and make plays from the blue line that were unbelievable. The Rangers dont have anyone else like him on their roster, and wont this year or anytime soon. Because of Sathers atrocious negligence (and directly due to Girardi, Staal, Lundqvist and Nash having bloated salaries), this team has lost Keith Yandle, Carl Hagelin, Anton Stralman and Anthony Duclair. Again, I understand this is the NHL, and all teams go through making tough moves like this, but it still doesnt make it any easier to think of “what if”.
But dont worry, Jeff Gorton will change things! He will be different from Sather, but then you remember, Sather is still around the organization. He isnt really retired, and you know he is constantly in his protoges ear. The Eric Staal trade just reeked of Sather. Once again, if you follow the stats, this team needed so much more than Eric Staal to fix their problems. Yandle should have been traded at the deadline period. You can still think win now while wanting to focus on the future, and thats what the Rangers need to do. Stop trading first round picks. This teams summer from hell is all self inflicted, and it pisses me off the awful thinking of our front office could let it come to this.
They spent zero time on the future. Our farm system is bare , and with these atrocious contracts on the team, cost efficient players are so important. I still think the Rangers can compete this upcoming season, and we got to wait and see how Gorton fixes this mess. But for today, I am not happy, as mentally prepared as I was for Yandle to leave, it still bothers me he wasnt moved at the deadline, and its only made worse by the result of this teams playoff performance.
The Rangers were the class of the East the past 3 seasons, and just like that, its gone.