The most frustrating part of this off-season is that the Rangers are showing the same kind of maddening inconsistency that they did during the 2008-09 season. The Rangers can not make back to back good moves it seems to save themselves from themselves.
Monday it was great news to see Ryan Callahan be rewarded for his hard work with a new 2 year deal that kept the Rangers and Callahan from arbitration. It is a fair deal where Callahan gets a nice raise for his efforts but does not hurt the Rangers with a bad cap number.
Then a couple of hours after the Rangers sent out the press release announcing the Callahan signing that they sent out another which announced that 2004 first round pick Lauri Korpikoski was sent to the Phoenix Coyotes for forward Enver Lisin.
In trading away Korpikoski, the Rangers gave up on the 19th pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and in return got back a player who has bounced up and down during his time with the Coyotes. The best line in describing this trade has to come from Laurie from Beyond the Blueshirts who called the trade "trade of flight risks."
Laurie is right because here is a deal where "old friends" exchanged problems in order to save face. Korpikoski just might sign with the Coyotes now that he is going to be in a very good position but Lisin still might sign with the KHL because he was reportedly only qualified by the Coyotes at 850,000.
Yes Lisin has a ton of speed which nobody is going to question but that just might be the only area where people totally agree. People do agree up to a point on another area but at various degrees and that is how bad Lisin is on defense.
Lisin in 78 career NHL games is a -36 while scoring 18-10-28 which may be more points than Korpikoski scored in his one season but Korpy does not have a labels that Lisin will be bringing with him. Lisin is one of the few players to actually find himself in a Wayne Gretzky doghouse while with the Coyotes.
It is hard to imagine someone who ticks off Wayne Gretzky especially given Lisin's reported offensive skills but that alone should be a warning sign. The Coyotes needed all the offense they could get, they needed a player who cost as little as possible but yet Lisin only played 48 games despite being on the Coyote roster for most of the season.
We did not see any injury reports so one has to wonder why Lisin was only dressed in 7 of the last 24 Coyote games last season. There is also a major misconception about John Tortorella and his system that also needs to be addressed.
Tortorella may have his "safe is death" offense but it requires players willing to work hard at both ends of the ice, to be able to cover for pinching defenders and to be able to get the puck back up the ice. In other words you still have to be able to play defense in the Tortorella system.
Of course if Laurie's report is true then odds are that we won't have to worry about Lisin as he is heading to the KHL for a 2 year deal that the Coyotes refused to give Lisin. So the Rangers may have given Korpikoski away for nothing other than some minor salary cap relief.
Still the bigger issue has to be that the Rangers can not simply make one good move and then follow it up with a second good move. The second good move might have been signing Dubinsky or addressing the defense that still has no improvement to it.
The Rangers are adding a lot of offense but one really has to seriously just how much input John Tortorella is having here. Adding players who's work habits go totally against what Tortorella demands makes you really wonder.
Whether it is Zherdev, Kotalik or the newly traded for Lisin one seriously has to wonder here because all 3 have suspect work habits, all three are not known for their showing up every night so why add them? Unless Tortorella is a miracle worker or
Drool all you want about all the offensive possibilities but this just might be the biggest gamble of the Sather era. If any of the Sather moves fail to work as they hope to then the Rangers could be fighting the Islanders for the first pick in the 2010 Entry Draft.
(Callahan and Lisen courtesy of the NHL)
2 hours ago