In a rather, and somewhat rare, candid interview with Larry Brooks, Glen Sather has disclosed some of the Rangers offseason plans. There are a few soon-to-be free agents that Sather mentions specifically, which is something of a rarity for NHL clubs.
On Donald Brashear:
“I told Donald this week that he would not be playing for the Rangers,” Sather told Slap Shots. “After the statements he made, absolutely not; that was the end of it.”
This isn’t much of a shock to Rangers fans, as it was assumed that the aging enforcer would not be back after being demoted last season. The Rangers will still have $1.3 million of his $1.4 million cap hit on the books, as per the current CBA stipulations.
On Marc Staal and Dan Girardi:
Those two guys are part of our core; of course we’re signing them,” Sather said.
Staal coming back was a lock, but Girardi has been a bit of a hot topic amongst Rangers fans. Many believe he should be traded, despite his 6.8 GVT, but other believe that he should be brought back because he is cheaper than any of the other free agent defensemen. With the Dennis Seidenberg signing setting market value, the price for the glamorous UFA defensemen just increased.
On Jody Shelley:
““We want to keep Shelley, it’s just a question of whether and when we can get it done,” Sather said. “We want to keep Vinny, and I think we should be able to do that if the contract request isn’t out of whack.”
Shelley earned a spot as a fourth line / thirteenth forward with his play at the end of the season. Shelley, who earned $725,000 last season, isn’t in line for much of a raise, and as long as he isn’t expecting a Colton Orr type contract, he should be back with the Rangers next season.
Sather also talks about giving prospects a legitimate shot and a long look in camp. Specifically mentioned are Dale Weise and Evgeny Grachev. Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh are also mentioned, and will be at Rangers prospect camp in July, but it appears they are committed to returning to Wisconsin for one more shot at a NCAA championship.
Sather also has some warnings for those who are expecting to make the roster:
“A player’s contract isn’t going to get him a spot on the team if he doesn’t earn it, and that goes for everyone.
“Everyone is fighting for a job. They all know that. If they don’t, they should.”
This statement is what really catches the reader’s eye. It appears that Sather is finally going to allow coach John Tortorella to enforce some accountability amongst some of the higher priced “superstars” (this term is used loosely. In fact, this term in this context is looser than Paris Hilton). If accountability is finally enforced, you may start seeing some high priced veterans sitting in the Prucha-Voros box more often. Of course, this depends on Sather and Tortorella walking the walk.