by Patrick Hoffman on 07/02/09 at 11:09 AM ET
If I had to grade New York Rangers General Manager Glen Sather on yesterday’s performance on the first day of free-agency, I would have to give him an incomplete. Yes, he signed two players and yes, one of them has a lot of potential to succeed on Broadway but we’ve all seen Sather do stuff like this before and nothing ever come to fruition.
Signing Marian Gaborik was extremely risky. On one hand, Sather managed to sign an offensive superstar who has scored 30-or-more goals in five of his eight seasons, including a career-high 42 in the 2006-07 season. He totaled 437 points in 502 career games, all with the Minnesota Wild, and he’s just 27 years old. If these were the only things that Ranger fans knew about him, there’d be no problems and even Sather thinks that the team improved with this signing.
“Gaborik is an exciting guy to watch play,” Sather told Jim Cerny of NewYorkRangers.com. “He can skate, and he does a lot of great things. He’s a great player, and he’s young. I certainly think he’s in the top ten in this league.”
On the other hand, we all know that Gaborik gets hurt A LOT. Last season, Gaborik underwent hip surgery. He’s never played a full season and in a tight-checking and much tougher Eastern Conference, he could be even more susceptible to injury.
As for Donald Brashear, a former Washington Capital who viciously laid out Blair Betts in Game 6 of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, that’s certainly a head-scratcher of a signing. Yes, he’s tough, can protect his teammates and is one of the most feared enforcers in the game today. However, this is someone that Blueshirt fans have come to hate over the years and one has to wonder what kind of reaction he’ll receive in his first game at Madison Square Garden when everyone knows that Colton Orr should have been resigned.
Obviously folks, a lot can happen. Sather can make some more signings to make this team better but as of right now, one has to feel that something is missing. What is it though?
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.