Sather: Talent, not contracts, will decide Rangers roster

1 Comment

Thumbnail image for waderedden1.jpgOne NHL GM that has his hands full with roster wrangling during training camp is the Rangers Glen Sather. Sather, often the focus of derision from Rangers fans and haters alike, is under the gun to make the right decision(s) to get the Rangers under the salary cap before the season starts. While the leading suspect to help get the Rangers under the cap (which they’re over by more than $4 million right now) is Wade Redden, Sather says that making decisions based on money isn’t how they’re going to handle training camp. Andrew Gross of Rangers Rants got the lowdown from Sather.

On whether decisions are based on talent/fit/salary:
“I’d say talent and fit, I don’t think salary should have a big distinction on whether a guy makes a hockey team or not.”

On whether he’s confident about cutting salary:
“Yeah, I’m sure we’ll be able to do that. There’s lots of ways to do it.”

On whether he’s looking for deals:
“Well it depends what happens in the next couple of weeks. Nobody’s making any phone calls right now. I shouldn’t say nobody. There have been a couple of calls before camp started. People have offered some good players, they’re willing to give up draft picks to get out of their contracts. But I want to see what our kids do here first before we do anything. See how they look in games, give them a chance to perform under some pressure. There’s a big difference between Traverse City and coming here. We’ve only had one scrimmage. Things have a way of balancing themselves out.”

Cutting through the talk here, Sather isn’t going to let money dictate decisions and no one is calling him about deals at the moment and he wants to see what the rookies and new guys will do in camp before making a move. In other words, when time sneaks up on him he’ll find a way come hell or high water to get under the cap.

It’s not really earth-shattering news, but it does open up the possibility that if Redden has a great camp that he’ll find a way to stay in New York instead of being shuttled off to the AHL and Hartford. Looking at the Rangers salary cap situation on CapGeek, sending Redden to the AHL is the quick fix solution to get under the cap but if he’s able to produce and play like an All-Star again, the Rangers’ cap solutions get trickier.

Dumping Redden in the AHL is also an extremely expensive move to make as Redden will still make the same money whether he plays in Manhattan or Hartford. If the Rangers are willing to stow him away in the AHL, that’s owner James Dolan’s financial headache to manage.

McDavid will center Hall and Slepyshev

1 Comment

ST. LOUIS (AP) Edmonton Oilers rookie Connor McDavid said he didn’t have any trouble falling asleep on the eve of his professional debut.

But when he woke up on Thursday he said it finally hit him.

“In the days leading up I wasn’t really thinking about it too much,” McDavid said. “Kind of when I woke up this morning, I guess that’s kind of when it hit me that I’ll be playing in my first NHL game. I think that’s when I first realized.”

When the Oilers play at the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night, all eyes will be on the 18-year-old McDavid, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and the most hyped player to enter the NHL since Sidney Crosby of the Penguins made his debut a decade ago.

Speaking in front of a crowd of reporters on Thursday following his team’s morning skate, the soft-spoken rookie admitted to having some butterflies but said he felt pretty good and was excited to get going.

“It’s just special,” McDavid said of his NHL debut. “I’m living out my dream, so there’s nothing better than that. I’m just really looking forward to tonight.”

McDavid will be centering the Oilers’ second line against the Blues with Taylor Hall on the left wing and Anton Slepyshev on the right. Hall was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, while Slepyshev will also be making his NHL debut on Thursday night.

“We all see what he can do in practice and the games,” Hall said of McDavid. “It’s important to remember he’s 18. I’m 23 and I still have bad games. Sidney Crosby is the best player in the world and still has bad games. There’s going to be some trials and some errors, but I think that he’s in a position to succeed and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow.”

Oilers coach Todd McLellan, hired in May after spending seven seasons with the San Jose Sharks, has already gotten accustomed to receiving questions about McDavid.

The first few questions McLellan was asked on Thursday were about the NHL’s most popular newcomer.

“What I’ve found with him is he’s working really hard to just be himself and fit in,” the coach said. “He doesn’t want to be special, he doesn’t want to be treated any differently but he obviously is. He’s trying to adapt to that and he’s doing a very good job of it personally and collectively I think our team has done a good job around him.”

McLellan said there are three levels of pressure surrounding him.

The first is McDavid’s individual expectations, which he is sure are extremely high. The second comes from the rookie’s teammates, coaching staff, organization and city of Edmonton.

“But where it really changes is the national, international and world-wide eyes being on him,” McLellan said. “How does that compare to some of the other players I’ve been around? I haven’t been around an 18-year-old who has had to deal with that. It’s new to all of us.

“I did spend some time talking to Sid (Sidney Crosby) about his experience and even since then the world’s really changed as far as media and social media and that type of stuff. This is a new adventure for everybody involved. I know Connor has the tools to handle the pressure and we’ll do everything we can to help him.”

Bruins’ second line officially goes under the microscope


While much has been written about the Boston Bruins’ depleted defense, there’s also a good amount of intrigue about the forward group, which will look dramatically different tonight compared to last year’s season opener.

Here are the Bruins’ expected lines versus the Jets:

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronLoui Eriksson
Matt BeleskeyDavid KrejciDavid Pastrnak
Jimmy HayesRyan SpoonerBrett Connolly
Chris KellyJoonas KemppainenZac Rinaldo

The line most under the microscope may be that second one. In today’s Boston Globe, there’s a lengthy story on Krejci. The 29-year-old center with the big contract only played 47 games last season due to injuries. He finished with just 31 points.

So, where is Krejci’s game now?

Then there’s free-agent addition Matt Beleskey, a.k.a. Milan Lucic‘s replacement. Prior to scoring 22 times last year for the Ducks, the 27-year-old Beleskey had never tallied more than 11 goals in a season.

So, is Beleskey a legitimate top-six forward?

On the other wing, it’s David Pastrnak, the 19-year-old who, somewhat surprisingly, emerged as one of the top rookies in the league last year.

So, can Pastrnak take another step forward?

“It’s been a good three plus weeks where we’ve been able to kind of work individually, as a group, as a line, with different players and different personalities,” said coach Claude Julien. “We’re pleased with it. We’re optimistic and we just have to let things work themselves out too.”