Like the old Elvis concerts, Rangers fans couldn’t be convinced that Sheldon Souray wasn’t headed to New York until the defenseman was completely out of the picture.
Now Souray is officially gone after “signing a five-year deal with the Oilers”:http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=213373&hubname=nhl, meaning you can all breathe a little easier.
It’s hard to say how close the Rangers got to Souray. My understanding is the defenseman was more serious about the Rangers than they were about him, but either way, it’s a welcome sign that it didn’t happen.
The reason I say this has less to do with Souray’s supposed defensive liabilities, or for that matter, anything about the player specifically. Instead, it has to do with fending off the old Ranger mentality that they could simply snag any player they want.
Even in an offseason in which they’ve signed Scott Gomez and Chris Drury, and re-signed Brendan Shanahan and Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers have still done so within the confines of the salary cap—albeit dangerously close to the cap—and by exercising their own amount of restraint.
If there’s a lesson to be learned from the previous decade of futility, it’s that talent alone doesn’t mean much. Don’t get me wrong: the Rangers were already an impressive team on paper, and they’ve become that much more so this month. But the additions they’ve made have as much to do with chemistry as they do with star power.
Throw Souray into the mix, however, and I’m not sure you can make the same case.
In other news, the Matt Cullen watch continues, “with the center today telling Larry Brooks that he wants to stay in New York”:http://www.nypost.com/seven/07132007/sports/rangers/cullen_denies_talk_of_trade_rangers_larry_brooks.htm.
I don’t doubt that Cullen wants to stay, especially since he now has a good chance to win a second Stanley Cup in three years. The question is whether the Rangers can afford to keep him. They certainly could if they shed another contract on defense, which seems to make more sense given the likely arrival of Marc Staal.