'Rent' time for Rangers

The Rangers’ recent correction in which they have gone 8-1-3 since the Dec. 16 Garden defeat to the Islanders that prompted the twin two-game exiles of Wade Redden and Ales Kotalik presents a challenge for GM Glen Sather.

Because even though the Blueshirts seem to be a playoff caliber team in a conference overloaded with deficient squads, this run against a succession of terrible opponents should not and must not interfere with the real business at hand of constructing a Stanley Cup contender.

To that end, no matter the standings, no matter the “game with points streak,” no matter the revenue the Garden would stand to derive from a few playoff home dates, Sather has the responsibility to be a seller rather than a buyer as the trade deadline approaches.

It’s a while yet before March 3, that’s true, but much of the trade business is liable to come sooner rather than later, what with an NHL Olympic-break roster freeze in effect from Feb. 12 through Feb. 28. The rental market will open early this season.

As such, it is imperative for Sather to cast his fishing line into the waters immediately while using pending unrestricted free agents Vinny Prospal and Christopher Higgins, and perhaps pending restricted free agent Dan Girardi, as bait.

Prospal, who may be able to return this week from the knee injury that has sidelined him since Dec. 26, is an important part of this season’s club, even while the Blueshirts have gone 4-1-2 in his absence. He might be an important part of next season’s club, as well.

But if a championship contender is willing to surrender a first- or second-round pick for the veteran who will turn 35 next month, Sather is obligated to reel in the deal, even if it dilutes the 2009-10 Rangers’ talent base and makes a playoff berth more problematic.

Higgins has become the go-to guy for coach John Tortorella, used in every situation. Still, it’s all but impossible to envision the Blueshirts re-upping Higgins this summer, especially with the option of transforming Brandon Dubinsky into a full-time left wing.

As such, if Sather can regain the third-rounder he sent to L.A. last June for Brian Boyle by moving Higgins, the deal must be consummated.

Girardi will be a Group II with salary-arbitration rights. As such, the defenseman’s next contract could become problematic if Marc Staal, also coming up on Group II, scores a huge deal. If the Rangers believe that Girardi is a solid top four, no questions asked, then there is no reason to move him.


3 Responses to 'Rent' time for Rangers

  1. trueblue says:

    Look… this is obvious stuff that Slats has to be a seller… but at the same time he cant give up just yet on this year…

    He could get a first for prospal and as of now he should since christensen has stepped up to the plate…

    if he could get rid of redden somehow even if they eat some of his salary…so be it…NaNaNaNa…HeyHey…GoodBye!

    I'd hold off on Girardi for now….

    But i would look at Roszival and Kotalk going byebye as well and even  Higgins…

    With the right moves made…they have a solid chance at not only cleaning up some issues but becoming better as well…if that happens…Sather will be on top of the world…

  2. dumbassdoorman says:

    I really do not think Prospal will get you a first round draft pick. You might find someone to take Redden, but you can not send money. So it would need to be a lucrative pick or prospect to a team that can afford to bury him. Is Higgins really that bad a player?

  3. trueblue says:

    redden will have to go thru that process of sending him down to the ahl and then having someone pick him upwhen he gets waived…. if that happens i believe the rangers would be responsible for some of his salary… not exactly sure of the specifics… but this type of deal might be the only way to unload this guy…

    higgins isnt that bad… the only thing he hasnt done is produce offensively…everything else is fine… they dont have to unload him

    prospal can fetch a 2nd…maybe a first…. he's a dynamic player who comes cheap salary wise to any contender that wants to boost there club… i think there will be a team that will pay that price… we can use it….

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