by Patrick Hoffman on 06/23/10 at 05:50 PM ET
From Jim Cerny at NewYorkRangers.com:
“I think the guys are going to come back a lot hungrier next year,” Sather said of his team. “But we’ve got spots that are available. If you look at the organization we’ve got ourselves into a position where we have a lot of young people coming that are going to challenge for jobs.”
That is the challenge Sather faces this off-season in trying to gently restructure the Rangers and continue to integrate the young prospects the organization is developing onto the NHL roster. The organization wants to give youngsters a chance to make an impact at the NHL level, while at the same time realizing that adding a key veteran or two could also be imperative to provide leadership and help the team return to the postseason.
“If you are going to give certain kids the opportunity, then they have to play,” explained Sather. “But they have to be ready to play. You can’t force it and put them on the team before they have earned the opportunity.”
Sather’s preference, as stated on Tuesday, is to sign his own restricted free agents before delving into unrestricted free agency. Unlike recent years—when the Rangers made big splashes on July 1, including last year’s signing of star winger Marian Gaborik—Sather instead expects to closely monitor the market for unrestricted free agents while trying to get his own players signed.
Click here for more on the club’s plans for the off-season.
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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.
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