Saturday, June 14, 2008

Trying to Send Us A Message

While everyone tries to figure out what the Rangers may or may not do next weekend at the NHL entry draft many of us are perhaps missing one perhaps very important message that the Rangers are trying to send to all of us.

That message is that the Rangers may have finally gotten the message after 4 decades of trading away youth for veterans. Of all the Ranger traditions, trading away youth for veterans tended to hurt more than help the Rangers.

Over the last couple of years all the signs are there that finally the message has sunk in that getting rid of the kids trying for the quick fix has been stopped by the Rangers. Of course as Ranger fans one has every right to say how they have heard that stuff before.

When we see the Rangers themselves making a case for how Cup winning teams have been built via the draft at then while we still have are not 100% convinced the ways of the past are totally dead, we feel a lot better about the direction the Rangers are finally headed.

When we hear rumors that the Rangers are going to try to move up into the top 5 or 10, then we know that 3 voices among the Ranger draft team are going to argue against such a move. Those voices are also 3 of the most important voices in Jim Schoenfeld, Gordie Clark and Tom Renney.

Don't buy for a second Tom Renney at the Ranger draft table when he says that he is just an observer at the draft as it is his backside on the line. The scouts, player personnel and general manager get Renney the players they think will help the Rangers win but none of them are as exposed to the fans as Renney is.

Nobody is going to take more blame when things go south than Renney is so the coach is way more than just a "casual observer" at the draft. One thing we have learned about Tom Renney is that he is almost addicted to "attention to detail" so we would not be at all surprised that Tom Renney was working on next season the day after the Rangers were eliminated.

Renney knows what he needs if he is going to not only win but keep his job as Ranger's head coach so do not think Renney is not going to speak his mind about who he wants the Rangers draft. Renney has filled some of the holes in the Ranger roster by developing the kids and he is not going to sit by and say nothing if someone reopens those holes.

Jim Schoenfeld knows firsthand what Tom Renney is going though as a former NHL head coach himself. Schoenfeld by now is an experienced front office person having spent now 3 seasons as Hartford GM and last season as Ranger Assistant GM. As the Hartford GM, Schoenfeld knows how far a prospect has come or needs to get but he also knows what the Rangers have/don't have

The 3rd voice is also the one who we believe is also going to be the most vocal about trading away Ranger prospects in Gordie Clark. Of all those who work for the Rangers nobody knows better what it is to see their own hard work be sent away like Clark did when he worked for the Islanders and that is Gordie Clark. Having interviewed him 2 straight years about the state of Ranger prospects; the one theme we learn about Clark is he knows from experience what trading away your best prospects can do to a franchise.

Clark while working for the Islanders was only able to sit by and watch as the Islanders repeatedly would draft some very talented prospects but instead of letting them develop into productive players trade them off. Ranger fans may take joy at watching how the Islanders have been a doormat in the NHL but put yourself in Clark's shoes and ask how would you feel to see your hard work go to waste?

But it is more than just these 3 as whether you like Renney or not, his influence on the Ranger staff is a lot more powerful than you realize. As we pointed out last week that the Rangers are no longer the home for out of work Sather pals. Instead we see more and more thinkers like Tom Renney in key positions and that is key to how the Rangers will do things now and in the future.

Anders Hedberg who was part of building the Senators knows the past of the Rangers as well being a former Ranger player. Hedberg spent time as the director of player personnel for the Senators and knows the value of developing players via the draft.

And like him or not, Sather has been giving his "underlings" the freedom to do their jobs and in most cases has allowed their voices to be the ones heard. We have been at the drafts where scouts fought hard to see certain players selected by the Rangers so give Sather credit for changing some of his ways.

As for this draft there is a part of Sather we do hope shows up which is his old MO of trading down to get more picks as this year's draft is very deep going in our eyes as far as the 4th round.

We have been steadfast in our belief that the best move for the Rangers to make if they can not grab John Carlson is to trade down for extra picks in the 2nd round. We have said that the better move for the Rangers to trade with the Los Angeles Kings to swap the 20th pick for the Kings 28th pick and a second round pick.

When we look at the talent pool this year we see that the Rangers would fill several key holes in the prospect pipeline if they can get another 2nd round pick. That extra 2nd round pick will allow the Rangers to filled the 3 areas where the Rangers need the most help.

Forward with size and skill, stay at home physical defender and another goalie are the areas we believe the Rangers can get a high quality prospect who will turn into a very productive Ranger.

When the Rangers themselves are touting where their roster was built from then we can not believe that they would be so foolish as to send one of their better prospects elsewhere in an attempt to move up.

Want to turn the Ranger fans back against the team? Then talk about how great a job the team has been doing with their recent picks and then go back to those very same ways that created the fractures between team and fan base.

We believe the Rangers have already decided how they will run the draft and it has nothing to do with moving on up. Read the messages and you might see that too.

1 comment:

The Dark Ranger said...

Jess,...a pretty good assessment of the management and an interesting read. As much as we complain about Renney and Slats and their 'one-way approach' to coaching and signing -- Slats is probably more aware than any of us could imagine.

Nice off-season post.