Rangers had done deal for Stamkos

It may sound like a fish story, but if so, then Glen Sather sure has come up with a whopper.

The Rangers’ GM told Slap Shots on Thursday that he “shook hands” on a trade last year that would have brought Steven Stamkos from Tampa Bay to New York less than halfway through the brilliant 20-year-old center’s rookie season.
We reported last year that the Lightning had dangled Stamkos through the early months of the season, during which the first-overall selection in the 2008 Entry Draft struggled badly, getting two goals (with five assists) in his first 21 games. There were questions in the organization about his readiness for the NHL.

The Rangers started working on the Tampa house-of-cards ownership during the teams’ trip to Prague, where the clubs opened the 2008-09 regular season with a pair of games. Sather got the ear of co-owner Len Barrie, a former NHL player. Conversations continued after the clubs returned to North America.

By the time the Blueshirts visited Tampa on Thanksgiving of 2008, the talks had become serious. Barrie was asking to choose two or three from a wish list that featured Michael Del Zotto, Evgeny Grachev, Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky and Dan Girardi.

The deal, according to Sather, was struck. The Rangers would be getting Stamkos, who has scored 46 goals thus far this season, tied for second in the NHL with Alex Ovechkin and just one behind Sidney Crosby in the race for the Rocket Richard Trophy.

Oh, no, they wouldn’t.

“How close did we come?” Sather asked rhetorically, repeating the question we posed to him as the Rangers practiced in Tampa on Thursday. “We shook hands on it, that’s how close.


40 Responses to Rangers had done deal for Stamkos

  1. reinjosh says:

    Seems to me, that someone's job is on the line. Its the only logical reason for Sather to come out and say this.

  2. cam7777 says:

    Good news for Leaf fans though.  If it's true that Lawton has already tried to trade Stamkos, and we know he's already tried to trade Lecavalier as well, I can't imagine Stamkos feeling incredibly loyal to that shitshow of an organization 15 months from now, when he's eligible for restricted free agency.  Oh please hold out until July 1st Steven.  Everyone knows you want to be a Leaf.

  3. jpmac says:

    LINK to where Stamkos publically states he wants to be a Leaf.  Or is this just another assumption by a leaf fan that every Ontario born player intends to play for the Leafs?
    You do realize that it rarely happens.  The only player, from Ontario, in recent memory to come home to the 'promise land" was Eric Lindros, whose career for all intents and purposes, was over. 

  4. bbruins37 says:

    Has Stamkos bought himself a house in Toronto yet? If not, I don't think you can consider this as much of a sure thing as the Savard to Toronto signing.

  5. cam7777 says:

    He said it before he was drafted, that his dream was to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and that being drafted by them would be his dream come true.  I'm not saying he WILL  come home to Toronto, I'm saying if he hits restricted free agency, I'm sure Burke would have an advantage in negotiations over other teams, just like he did with Kessel.


    You see, high profile RFA's are going to have a lot of say about where they go, because the possibility of losing a 1st overall for futures is a very real possibility.  All Stamkos has to do is say he doesn't want to discuss contracts until after the season, and then delay coming to terms until the draft.  When the threat of him leaving via offer sheet is presented, Burke would unquestionable swoop in.  And by then, we'd have a host of draft picks at our disposal once more.

  6. cam7777 says:

    In fairness, I never said Savard would be a Maple Leaf.  It seems pretty obvious to me though, that he used his chemistry with Kessel, and his willingness to play in Toronto to get a long term deal in Boston.  If he hadn't signed in Boston, where do you think he would have signed? 

  7. bbruins37 says:

    There never was any doubt that he would be a Bruin for the rest of his career.

  8. cam7777 says:


  9. jpmac says:

    The link didn't work.  I will take your word for it. Of course he said it when he was younger. It's probably the dream of about 90% of all Ontario boys. 

    I  think Leaf fans always dream of having a hometown superstar leading them.  Its understandable, but it just doesn't happen.  The same could be said for Montreal wanting a french player to be their superstar, but that rarely happens.  It was also the dream of both Wayne Gretzky and Rick Nash.

  10. bbruins37 says:

    *Sorry I meant that the media speculation was correct yet again and he would have been destined to be a Leaf for life.

  11. leafmeister says:

    I wouldnt sign Savard even if he was available. Too old. Plus I hear he is a bit of a headache…

  12. bbruins37 says:

    Classless, but who expected that?

  13. cam7777 says:

    Normally I would agree with you 100%.  I think though, that Stamkos may be the first legitimate chance the Leafs have at this in a looong time.  I realize the rarity, but Stamkos is playing for the most dysfunctional team possibly in all of sports.  He's already seen ownership change three times, and he's seen them try to trade both himself and Vincent Lecavalier.  If ever a high profile kd was going to do this, it is probably now. 

    Last summer, we saw Kessel do this.  He didn't want to play for 3.75 million in Boston, who had tried to trade him on three separate occassions, and so he forced his way onto the Maple Leafs (with Team America's staff), because that's where he wanted to go.  The Rangers, Nashville, and LA put up offers comparable to the Leafs (and in at least one case, better), but Kessel chose Toronto, so those teams had to rescind their offers.

    Likewise, this summer you could very well see Bobby Ryan, and or Joe Pavelski pull the same thing, though not necessarily with the Maple Leafs.   Pressed to the cap, the Sharks will try to low-ball Pavelski, and since they are not making any contract decisions until after the playoffs, it's quite concievable that Pavelski works out his own deal with a team of his choosing come July 1st (which is entitled to do as an RFA).  The Ducks have imposed their own cap on the team, likely at about 52 million.  Ryan could be looking for as much, or more than Getzlaf and Perry, and the Ducks have only 2 defensemen signed past the year.  it's possible they turn Ryan loose for a more cost efficient set of players.  And again, in that situation, Ryan would be largely in charge of where he goes, because no one will trade for his rights if he wants to sign elsewhere.

    Nash was a shame, because he actually said he would have sgined in Toronto if not Columbus, which is a jerk move.  At the same time, Nash knows that the whole franchise is on his shoulders there.  If he was playing for San Jose, or Minnesota, or a team that could survive his loss financially, I believe he would be a Leaf. 

    You're right, it's rare, but with Stamkos, there's a legitimate chance, I feel.

  14. cam7777 says:

    Now that we've seen the construction of the team a little better, we can see that Burke likely wouldn't have signed Savard.  He doesn't believe in cap altering deals, and he's putting together a very young core that can grow together.  If he brings in an older player, it will be a leader type, like Morrow. 

  15. leafmeister says:

    Yeah I thought you'd like that one.

  16. leafmeister says:

    Yeah Boston has got Savard at a good price, for sure, but he is signed till he is 40, and with players his age, injures tend to come back.

    I too would rather give ice time to Bozak, to see what he can do, than sign another mid-30s free agent to try to make the playoffs next year. By the time the Leafs could realistically contend Savard would be 35 and likely his production would be going down. 

  17. cam7777 says:

    meh, Nash actually admitted he would have been a Leaf if Columbus had not resigned him.  The speculation isn't wrong just because it doesn't happen.  IF anything, the players use Toronto as leverage.  I don't think it's a stretch to think that a guy who owns a house in Toronto, is from Ontario, and tried to sign with the Leafs the last time he was a free agent, would probably consider signing there. 

  18. leafit2me says:

    Lets not get too excited. The leafs all but 'shook hands' on a Lecavalier for Antropov deal many years ago which never materialized. Almost 10 yrs later we are still talking about a Vinny trade.

    I prefer to let things take its course and let BB do his thing. The way I see it he has no more than 24 months to turn the TML into a playoff team…..Wilson IMO has much less.
  19. bbruins37 says:

    Tuukka Rask

  20. bbruins37 says:

    Why not just speculate every ontario-born player wants to play in Toronto? What other reason than him being born near Toronto do you have?

  21. leafmeister says:

    Its not speculation. Both players said that it would be a dream to play for the Leafs.

  22. leafy says:

    The lesson here is, don't trade with Sather. He'll f*ck you up.  Smart bastards like Sather put on my nerves.

  23. mojo19 says:

    During Stamkos' draft year he said he will be excited just to play in the NHL and he didn't care where he was drafted, but added that he was watching where Toronto was in the standings because he grew up a Leafs fan and that would be his dream.

    This isn't speculation, this was written up.

  24. bbruins37 says:

    What's essel's response to this:

    "I know he wants to score on me so bad," Rask said. "Besides I've been chirping at him for three years now because I like to read his shot pretty well and I always know where he shoots at, and so far he doesn't have any goals on me."

    I should post this one everywhere.

  25. reinjosh says:

    at the same time, he is a complete idiot with his free agents. He may kill trades sometimes but like how the hell does he get away with so many bad signings.

    The Gomez trade was great. So was the Jokinen trade. This trade would have been good even giving up two or three of the mentioned players.

    But the Gomez signing, Redden signing, Drury signing, Roszival signing. Kotalik signing. The way he dealt with the Dubinksy RFA deal. Even the length of the Gaborik deal.

    How he still has a job as a GM is beyond me. He would be a great trade adviser but his signings suck.

  26. bbruins37 says:

    Agreed. He is downright awful at signing players. It's almost like he'll target a big name every year even if the market for big names isn't very good and overpay them massively. He'll probably free up some cap space this year by raping some team on a trade and then put himself in the same situation by giving Kovalchuk over $100 million for 10 years.

  27. mojo19 says:

    Sather is pretty good when it comes to trades.
    – He acquired Pavel Bure some no one, and the 9th overall pick (which became no one).
    – He got Alex Kovalev for 4 nothing players (highest profile guy was Rico Fata),
    – and landed Jaromir Jagr for Anson Carter (and had the Caps on the hook for half of the $ remaining to Jagr which was like $15 million over 3 years). Jagr finished with over 120 pts one of those years, good for 2nd in the league in scoring. Meanwhile Carter was flipped from Washington to LA for Martin Strbak.
    – He fleeced Brian Burke acquirig Nik Antropov for a 2nd round pick. Antropov would be the team's leading scorer.

    On the other hand, Sather has made some of the worst free agent signings and re-signings in recent memory. He landed Holik to a multi year $9 million per season contract, which he had to buy out, he signed Kasparitus to a $5 million contract (Darius finished this contract in the minors.) He signed Scott Gomez, and Chris Drury to huge deals and I think we can all agree neither player deserves over $7 million, long term. Wade Redden has years left at $6.5 million per season, and Michael Rozsival at $5 million hurts a lot.

    In his years in NY, the Rangers finished…
    2001 – 10th, 16 pts out of the playoffs
    2002 – 11th, 7 pts out of the playoffs
    2003 – 9th, 5 pts out of the playoffs
    2004 – 13th, 22 pts out of the playoffs
    2006 – 6th, swept 4-0 by NJ in the first round
    2007 – 6th, swept Atl 4-0, eliminated 2nd round by Buffalo 4-2
    2008 – 5th, beat out NJ 4-1, lost to Pitty 2nd round 4-1
    2009 – 7th, beat by Caps in 7 games, first round.

    So in 8 full seasons as the team's GM, his team has won 2 playoff rounds total, and has never been serious contenders. Time to retire?

  28. reinjosh says:

    Yeah, I do not understand how he can keep his job for so long. Its like he does just enough well to keep it, but just enough bad to always be considered an iffy GM.

  29. cam7777 says:

    Stamkos told the media, before and after he was a Bolt, that it was his dream to be a maple leaf.  A simple google search will reveal the articles to you.  Nash has commented several times about his affinity for Toronto.  Even after he signed his contract renewal, he admitted that had he not signed in Columbus, he would be a Leaf.  In the same breath, he acknowledged that the franchise in CLB depends on him for everything, and that leaving would be a death sentence to all the people who have been so good to him there.

    That story is not the same in Tampa, where Stamkos has seen three different owners, two of whom have tried to trade the two stars for packages of picks/prospects.

  30. cam7777 says:

    and he repeated it several times.  they advised tavares not to make the same mistake last year, but reporters finally caught him when they were talking to him about nhl 10, or something.  they asked him what team he always plays as, and he immediately said "Oh the Leaf of course!", and then even more quickly, he said "I mean….uh….whoever drafts me, that's who I play as…."

  31. nordiques100 says:

    halak > rask

  32. leafmeister says:

    Is anyone else pumped about Tyler Bozak? The guy is an absolute beast. I cannot think of one really glaring flaw in his game. Seriously, how many rookies can center what became a fairly dangerous line, switch line mates and be equally effective, kill penalties, work the power play, beat seasoned veterans regularly at faceoffs, and make very smart decisions with the puck. Great pickup by Burke.

  33. reinjosh says:

    Yeah it was awesome. It was very much like a first rounder from last year.

    He is going to have to gain a little muscle mass and then deal with an 82 game schedule next year but hopefully he can do so. A 60 point second year player would be awesome.

  34. leafmeister says:

    http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/32658-Rumor-Roundup-Leaf-landing.html – speculation that Kaberle will be on the move, and that Vinnie could be T.O bound.

  35. mojo19 says:

    I can't believe how good he is on faceoffs, I haven't seen this type of dominance since we had Yanick Perrauelt.

  36. nordiques100 says:

    remember mojo you cant use a good game or two as reference. any joe Halak can have a good game.

  37. cam7777 says:

    Perhaps more interesting there is the bit about Dallas and their self imposed 45 million dollar cap.  They've already spent 38 million on 15 players, which means they have only 7 million to sign two goalies, james neal, and four-five additional players.  The article speculates that Ribeiro will be out the door, and he probably will, but they will still need a second line center.  They want a puck moving defensemen, so there's definitely room to steal one of their wingers, and contrary to what lafleur thought, it will have to be one of their more expensive wingers.  Wouldn't be surprized to see Ribeiro end up in New York though.  He'd be the playmaker they want for Gaborik.

  38. mojo19 says:

    Or back to back good games and be named 1st star of the week by the NHL.

  39. nordiques100 says:

    the magic number is 47 appearances.

    no playoffs
    no playoff wins
    no stanley cups
    no individual awards
    no all star appearances
    no olympics
    no gold medals
    no international championships
    no proven track record or any evidence to support it.

    just 47 appearances in the NHL.

  40. nordiques100 says:

    Gaborik was actually a good signing. and prospal was a nice value deal.

    as was plucking players like Girardi and Gilroy.

    its just the no experience with the blank cheque is where he blew it. he had no idea being from the oilers who were constant sellers.

    yes the bad definitely outweighed the good, but he did get some fine free agents to nyc.

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