You can read plenty about breakup day here and here,
but here’s my take on some of the comments made by Coach John Tortorella and
the Rangers on the final day of the 2010-2011 campaign.
- Sure didn’t sound like Chris Drury was in fear of being
bought out or considering retiring. Wojtek
Wolski seems to have even less value that Drury at this point and would provide
significant cap savings as well. Arthur
Staple of Newsday speculates that Wolski “will almost certainly be bought out.”
- Obviously the organization is concerned with shuffling cash
for a busy summer ahead. Ryan Callahan,
Brian Boyle, and Brandon Dubinsky all expressed interest in getting their new
contracts done quickly, and the Rangers must also resign Artem Anisimov, Mike
Sauer, and maybe Matt Gilroy. Of course,
the organization is also expected to make a big run at UFA center Brad Richards of the Dallas
Stars. It sounds like only Ruslan
Fedotenko has a shot at being retained from the UFA group that includes Vinny Prospal, Steve
Eminger, Bryan McCabe, and obviously Alex Frolov.
- Henrik Lundqvist, obviously crushed by the loss, is clearly
aware that he’s getting older. Hank
still seems like he’s in great shape and isn’t necessarily due for a decline
soon, but Lundqvist justifiably wants to start winning now. The play of the Rangers’ top four D down the
stretch was surely encouraging, but Lundqvist is surely frustrated by the lack
of offensive support.
- John Tortorella indicated that Sean Avery will get a chance
to compete for a spot during the lineup at training camp, but clearly Avery’s
tenure with the Rangers is nearing an end. He’s probably untradeable, but it’s possible the Rangers would consider
buying him out. If Avery is here next
year, it will be in a similar capacity. Tortorella just doesn’t trust him, and Avery will likely be a healthy
scratch frequently during the last year of his deal.
- Everyone seems fully convinced that the Rangers will be
making a big run at Richards. Tortorella
has repeatedly mentioned that the Rangers must upgrade their talent and Marian
Gaborik was very open about desiring a top center to play with. Andrew Gross wrote a great article that explained how these Rangers may have maxed out on their talent. That seems like a fair assessment of the
season. The Blueshirts put in the
nightly effort to get this far, but without an infusion of offensive ability,
it’s unlikely that New York
will be able to get much beyond the first round. You simply can’t expect another 20-goal
season from Brian Boyle. The free agent
market is very weak, and while it’s possible that GM Glen Sather will pursue a
trade, Richards seems like the primary target.
- Still a little surprised that Marian Gaborik is playing in
the World Championships. Seems to me
that if injuries have really been the problem, he should be doing everything he
can to heal and get ready for next year. If injuries aren’t Gabby’s issue and he’s just not the same player, then
his contract will become an even bigger burden than it already is.
- Love this quote from Brandon Dubinsky, “I want them, they
want me. Let’s not waste each other’s time.” Dubi’s last contract negotiations were anything but smooth, but he’s
established himself as a much more reliable player now. I expect the two sides to come to an
agreement very quickly.
- The gruesome details of Dan Girardi’s injury are now public
knowledge, and the defenseman is certainly deserving of the extra praise from
Tortorella over the last couple days. Girardi
was evidently very proud of Tortorella’s comments and that’s good. A horse defenseman like that who constantly sacrifices
his body for the team won’t usually make headlines, but he should be
acknowledged by his coach.