Admittedly, mathematics are not my strength. Still a quick look at the Rangers roster reveals a surplus at defense.
Consider the players the team already had under contract: Fedor Tyutin, Dan Girardi, Marek Malik, Michal Rozsival, Paul Mara, Thomas Pock, Jason Strudwick.
Now add the newly acquired Andrew Hutchinson, who has to be in New York since he can’t be exposed to waivers.
And now add Marc Staal, who is by all accounts ready to play in the NHL this season.
That’s nine players, which would immediately suggest Glen Sather is poised to dump at least one high-priced salary, except the team already did that yesterday with the questionable trade of Matt Cullen, who’s not even a defenseman. That’s not to say Sather doesn’t want to cut a little more fat while he’s at it, but you would think he would only do it if he’s got something specific in the works.
Finally, there is this far-fetched but still intriguing wrinkle: according to players who have been working out with Darius Kasparaitis in the area this summer, the 34-year-old defenseman has worked his way back into impressive shape, running and skating every day until a recent trip to his native Lithuania. The defenseman has apparently shed all of the excess weight that he carried into training camp last year, and is intent on staying with the NHL club rather than being returned to Hartford.
I have a hard time seeing it happen, especially since Kaspar is expected to make $3.16 million in 2007-08, and also because just being in shape doesn’t mean you’re still capable of playing in the NHL. But it is something to keep an eye on as training camp pulls closer.