So many people are taking the signing of Ales Kotalik in so many different ways that the poor guy has not even put on a Ranger jersey but the betting has already begun as to when the Garden faithful will start calling him Alice.
Some are viewing the signing of Kotalik as the sign from the heavens that Nikolai Zherdev is DOA as a Ranger but boy is that really a stretch. When did Kotalik become a first line talent?
Yes he has scored 20 goals or more 4 times in his career but look at his career numbers. His career high is 62 points in the 2005-06 season and the rest of his numbers (43 points twice and then less) ought to make you feel a bit nervous.
Before people think that Kotalik is the ideal replacement for Zherdev then go look at some of the scouting report on him. Kotalik has been viewed as a top level talent who does not always show up to play.
Here is what Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News told David Staples of the Edmonton Journal about Kotalik:
I've been suggesting, writing, saying for two years that he needed a change in scenery. This season, however, he made things more interesting because he's deadly in shootout.
My biggest beef with him was that he's a big, strong guy who plays small. He's a perimeter player and plays virtually no defense. Perhaps it will change when the message comes from a different coach.
The "Run Zherdev out of Town" parade might want to stop for a second and take a closer look at what they are trading here. Now Zherdev is not one of our pals right now for the dumb move he made but the knee jerk reaction thinking Kotalik is a better option might be off the mark.
In 445 career games Kotalik has put up 121-130-251 over 7 seasons, in 365 games (or 5 seasons) Zherdev is 99-140-239 so for those who think they are getting similar production it is not the case as 12 points over 80 games is not a fair trade off for a player who is older and is just as much a coaching nightmare.
Like Zherdev or not at least he has broken the 25 goal mark twice something Kotalik still has not done. Which we have to ask is worse the devil you know or the one you do not?
But here is one big thing that still is being overlooked is that the Rangers still have not done a thing to improve their defense. Wade Redden is still on the roster as is Michal Rozsival but now you also have 2 maybe 3 openings on the blueline.
The Rangers have made all these additions to the offense but it is very hard to believe or accept that they will go into next season with as many as 3 rookies on the blueline. As much as we want to see the kids to get a chance to earn roster spots the Tortorella system requires a strong defense because of the chances the offense take.
What is more frustrating is that this is a road the Ranger keep traveling when it comes to failing to improve the blueline. Yes Staal and Girardi are good starting points but the Rangers still need that stay at home defender who will be the stopper like Beukeboom used to be.
Another area that the Rangers still have a hole at is the first line center as they have at best two second line centers in Drury and (if he ever gets signed) Dubinsky. The Rangers keep trying to forcefeed players who are not first line centers at that position and it does not work.
Basically what we have here is the same old story of the Sather era, the Rangers spend money and pray that it works. The fans get excited because the Rangers bring in name players that they like but eventually that excitement turns to frustration and then anger and disappointment when the players just do not fit in as a team.
And next year we will be right back here talking about the next "fixes" that Glen Sather will try to pass off on Ranger fans.
Why does the movie "Groundhog Day" fit in so very well here?
(Kotalik courtesy of the NHL)
1 day ago