Monday, July 11, 2011

Ch-Ch-Changes Please

By all rights there is not one valid reason why New York Ranger fans are arguing over whether or not Wojtek Wolski should be bought out of his contract or kept.

If there was ever a poster child for being an underachiever then it is Wolski. Nothing is more frustrating than seeing a player who does have all the right tools to be a big time player but fails to put it together.

Yet for reasons that nobody has ever been able to figure out, Wolski just has not developed into the player that he should be. And it is such a shame too because if Wolski could ever put things together then he would be an all-star.

The Rangers should not be looking for a first line left winger as on talent alone Wolski is better than anyone the Rangers currently have. But talent alone does not get the job done as you have be able to bring a hunger and a drive to be the best possible player he could be.

Wolski was the Colorado Avalanche's first round pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft but yet the Rangers have 3 players who were also taken in the same 2004 Draft who have out shined, out worked and out played Wolski in the NHL.

Give me Wolski's talent with either Brandon Prust's desire (3rd Calgary) or Ryan Callahan's heart (4th NYR) or Brandon Dubinsky's hunger (2nd NYR). There is something really sad that you see 3 players who have overcome all the obstacles and they are assured of roster spots with the Rangers while Wolski is be seen as a buyout.

What makes things even more frustrating is you would think that being on his 3rd team in the last 2 seasons would send a message to Wolski. But because it does not then as far as this place is concerned; do not buy Wolski out.

The Rangers really can hang on to Wolski until training camp and it will not hurt them as if Wolski can not see the writing on the wall then don't take a cap hit but exile him to the AHL and open up the entire 3.8 million.

Why suffer two cap hits when you can simply dump him in the AHL? It is not like the Rangers could not afford to pay him 3.8 million to play in the AHL and keep the extra 1,333,333 the buyout will cost them.

Then there is the case of Erik Christensen who if not for his skills on the shootout would have been long gone. How sad is it that in the NHL that a guy who has a career high of 33 points is making almost a million dollars a season?

Nothing personal against the guy but come training camp and the choice comes down to Sean Avery, Mats Zuccarello or Christensen then would not even blink to keep Avery or Zuccarello.

Christensen has not even come close to his career high of 18 goals (back in 2006-07) nor has he appeared in a full 82 games in a season. Christensen has to realize that he needs to come to camp ready to run through walls or get out of the way.

Again this is someone that should not be bought out but sent to the AHL or given away for "future considerations". Spare parts should not be making a close to a million dollars a season.

And what would a discussion about buyouts be if Sean Avery's name did not come up. There is no grey area with Avery as Ranger fans either love him to death or want him gone.

Just do not see the Rangers buying out Avery if for no other reason than the newest Ranger Brad Richards is his good friend. Avery is not getting any credit for his own sales pitch to buddy Richards on joining the Rangers.

And as someone pointed out in an email- "How come nobody is even thinking of Avery playing with his pal Richards?"

The answer is because nobody (including us) did not even take Avery under consideration but if you look at it then there is some logic to the idea. But Sean Avery has to first regain the confidence of one John Tortorella which will be kind of hard for Avery to do.

The neutered version of Sean Avery last season was mostly ineffective and part of the blame does go on Tortorella for sticking Avery on the 4th line. Nobody is ever going to confuse Sean Avery with being a star player but if you have him on the roster then you got to take the good with the bad.

Sean Avery is at his best when he is flying around the ice looking to get under somebody's skin. And when he is doing that then the Rangers find themselves on the power play more often than not.

Of course that means there will also be nights when Avery will take some very bad penalties but if you look at it from a risk/reward point of view then the rewards do make the risks worth taking.

The other thing to consider with Avery on the Richards line is that if he is being the pest then it is being the pest against the other team's best line or best checkers. If Avery is taking the other guy's best players off the ice with him then it does help his linemates.

On the road when the Rangers do not have the last line change that could be a good way for Tortorella to get Richards and Gaborik out on the ice during 4 on 4 matchups. And this is coming from someone who does not like Sean Avery.

The other reason why buying out Sean Avery is not worth the effort is because the Rangers only pay half of Avery's salary to begin with and that would only see about a 700,000 savings. On the other hand giving Richards his own BFF keeps the new free agent a happy camper so let Avery be Richard's caddy.

It is understandable that Ranger fans are worried about how much that Boyle, Callahan and Dubinsky could wind up with but that really is not as big a worry as it is being played out.

For starters, Dubinsky is not going to ask for the moon despite the fears some Ranger fans have. He knows that it is more important for him to get as short a deal as possible than get greedy.

Dubinsky's next contract would make him an unrestricted free agent so we can see him trade money for length in this contract. And really Dubi is not stupid as he knows that asking for an unreasonable amount will do him more harm than good.

Still believe that both Dubinsky and Callahan will come in with 4 million dollar cap hits which is very workable. Not to mention that the current free cap space includes the cap hits for both Del Zotto and Zucarrello.

That is 2.8 million in cap hits right there so is that much more cap space if needed if one or both are sent to the AHL. No need for any panic unless Sather does go out and spend more money but we expect Sather to take care of the Restricted Free Agents and then leave things alone until training camp.

It has taken Sather forever but it does look like he has finally gotten the message on how to use his money wisely.

(All images courtesy of

1 comment:

Jess Rubenstein said...

billrabatin wrote

Send Avery behind the net and stand in the crease with your stick on the ice!!! NO ONE works harder behind the net then Avery..his centering passes from back there are always perfect... unfortunately, most times no one is there to benefit from his hard work .I love the guy ...Torts has to use him more than 6 minutes a night

Bill my apologies as I hit the wrong button when moderating your comment