by Patrick Hoffman on 07/23/10 at 03:00 PM ET
Once upon a time, current Phoenix Coyotes General Manager was the Assistant GM to Glen Sather in New York with the Rangers. Maloney did a terrific job in drafting current Ranger players such as Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, and Henrik Lundqvist. These three players have reached various levels of success on Broadway and its because Maloney believed that they could.
This past season, Maloney won the GM of the year award and with good reason as his Phoenix Coyotes had a terrific season. The Coyotes went 50-25-7, good for 107 points and a fourth place finish in the powerful Western Conference.
Of course, the New York Rangers finished ninth in the Eastern Conference, going 38-33-11 and losing the final regular season game to the Philadelphia Flyers, costing the team a chance to make the playoffs for the fifth straight season. Should this come as a surprise given the way the Blueshirts played this season? No, but it’s still amazing that there is such a noticeable difference between the Coyotes and the Rangers.
With that in mind, one has to wonder what the Blueshirts would be like if Don Maloney was at the helm rather than Sather. If this were the case, I believe that things would be very different in Rangerland:
- Maloney really would focus on building this team from within. Guys like Evgeny Grachev, Dylan McIlrath, Derek Stepan and may be even Chris Kreider would make the club out of camp. These players would be given a chance to show what they can do. Sure, they may make mistakes but Maloney won’t mind because he knows that in the “new” NHL, the future is now.
- I’m not sure that John Tortorella would be the head coach. Maloney would look for a guy that could handle youngsters, give them a chance to play while giving veterans the opportunity to do what they do best. This is exactly what Dave Tippett did this past season in Phoenix.
- The team would play to win. Many nights last season, it looked like the Blueshirts were playing not to lose. While it can be a safe strategy, teams need all the points they can get because as you clearly saw, there were a lot of tight races in both the Eastern and Western Conference last season. If Maloney were at the helm, the Rangers would be battling every single night to get two points and would not be satisfied coming away with just one.
Under Maloney, the structure and theme of the club would be very different and right now, this is what the Rangers need. Sather needs to stop signing high-priced free agents and realize that he has a plethora of youngsters and prospects that can help make this team successful.
Maloney would certainly realize that. Does Sather?
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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.