For almost 24 hours, he fooled you. You could almost believe that Glen Sather finally had a plan for building a championship hockey team in New York. Somehow, he had managed to trade a seemingly untradeable contract in Scott Gomez, creating cap room and getting a nice prospect in addition.
But, we should have known that all that cap space was burning a hole in Sather’s pocket and he couldn’t help but spend it. From Pavel Bure to Wade Redden, Sather has always swung for the fences and he did it again by signing Marian Gaborik to a 5 year/$7.5 million a season deal. There are certainly many positives about Gaborik. When healthy, he is one of the most dynamic players in the game, capable of scoring 40 goals. The problem is he isn’t usually healthy. Gaborik has played in 65, 48, 77 and 17 games in the four seasons since the lockout. If the injury bug follows him to New York, the Rangers will have a disaster on their hands.
And, what about the addition of Donald Brashear? When we last saw Brashear he had just cheap-shotted Blair Betts into next week and earned himself a six-game suspension. While it seems certain that Betts won’t be around next season, how are all the other players who were Rangers in April going to feel about Brashear joining their club?
Luckily for Sather, most of them will be gone. He has gotten rid of the fourth line, a solid if unspectacular unit of Orr-Betts and Sjostrom, leaving the question of exactly who will kill penalties next year? Derrick Morris and Paul Mara are gone from the blueline, so Sather is obviously betting that some of the young defensemen are ready to step up.
Maybe he will be right about that, maybe Sather has a deeper plan—but it seems much more likely that he is content to throw Cablevision’s money around and hope it works. How many more years will Rangers’ fans have to watch him do it?