Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Rangers dump Brashear and Rismiller for White
In case you were living in a bat cave which sometimes being a fan of this team I wish I was, the Rangers made a deal yesterday. With it first circulating late Sunday night that they acquired Todd White from Atlanta, speculation was a little premature on what the Thrashers got back, which ranged from a fourth round pick to even Michal Rozsival.
Of course, neither were close as instead, our senile GM actually found a way to dump Donald Brashear and Patrick Rismiller on Atlanta, making it almost a match. The 35 year-old White who played the past three seasons with the Thrashers after teaming with Marian Gaborik in St. Paul is set to earn $2.6 million in the final year of his contract. Brashear earns $1.3 million and Rismiller, who became AHL fodder, makes a cool million. In essence, Atlanta saves $300,000. However, White is a $2.375 M cap hit while Brash and Rissmiller combine for $2.4 M. So, it's basically a wash.
Watch Brashear go back to being the royal pain in the ass who knocked Blair Betts into next week. Public Enemy No.1 is sure to get a rude welcome back to MSG. It's not like anyone liked him anyway. Too bad someone forgot to inform Glen Sather and our coach who actually thought a washed up goon was an upgrade over Colton Orr. Now, he's been replaced by Derek Boogard, who can't take regular shifts despite an even heftier pay tag ($1.625 M). Ah. Only in Rangerland.
So, what to make of the latest Ranger? If this were a few years ago, we'd love the move. But fact is White's coming in off his worst year since his final one in Ottawa pre-lockout. A year removed from centering Ilya Kovalchuk and posting career highs in assists (51), points 73), power play goals (12) and games played (82), the Kanata, Ontario native sunk like the Titanic to seven goals and 19 assists for 26 points in 65 games. He also posted a third consecutive minus season finishing minus-11.
The big question is does he have a place on our roster? Our centers aren't exactly scaring anyone with Artem Anisimov having the most potential. Especially if John Tortorella keeps Brandon Dubinsky on left wing. At the moment, Erik Christensen is slated to center Gaborik. Vinny Prospal can play center but is better suited for the wing. And then there's captain Chris Drury and his albatross ($7.05 M) with the club stuck two more years with him and Rozsival ($5 M). As for Wade Redden ($6.5 M), if White's on the roster, it all but ensures that he's going to Hartford. They have to clear space for Marc Staal. Assuming Ryan McDonagh is ready and Matt Gilroy stronger, the Rangers could be set with a blueline of Staal, Rozsival, Dan Girardi, Michael Del Zotto, Gilroy, McDonagh and Steve Eminger. That would be ideal with Eminger serving as a veteran fill-in.
Is Brian Boyle still considered our fourth line center? White can easily fill that role as he's got experience as a checking type two-way pivot who can kill penalties. He also can play power play if needed and is a much more fluid skater. The question is was last year a tell tale sign that his scoring days are over. Has age finally caught up or can he bounce back? If he does make the team and he certainly can help in the face-off dot (401-344, 53.8 Pct), it's a definite upgrade over Boyle (198-323, 38.7 Pct) with Anisimov (44.9) and Christensen (48.8) not much better. Drury was our best winning 52.9 percent while Dubinsky and Prospal both were over 50 percent.
Adding another center who can win draws is fine. But one look at this roster and who's scoring the goals aside from Gabby? Alexander Frolov better rebound with at least 25. They need more consistency from Ryan Callahan, who's averaged a shade over 20 the past two seasons. Can Prospal duplicate last year's success? Anisimov likely will go up from the dozen he scored in his rookie year. Sean Avery's a candidate for a few more than the 11 he got. Dubinsky enters Year Four coming off a career high 20 markers after being shifted. He's also playing for a contract, which should serve as motivation.
Still, when you look at the roster, it once again looks like a one horse show. Unless Derek Stepan or Evgeny Grachev blows them away in camp, there's not much to get excited over. This looks like a middle of the road team who doesn't know what it is. On one hand, we got kids who'll continue to get valuable experience as part of a retooling. On the other, there's all these vets mixed in making high salaries. Is there any direction?!?!?!?!?!
One word to describe this chaos. Mediocrity.