Update, 6:16 p.m.: Sather says Zherdev, who the Rangers almost dealt for last year, allows the team to get younger and faster. He also made reference to developing a more cohesive “chemistry” as a result of the trade.
I asked if that meant the team is willing to let Jagr walk. Sather said, “I’m not saying that. It might be a reality. I still think it’s necessary to have some experienced players in our lineup…I’m not ready to say goodbye to him. He may be ready to say goodbye to us. I can’t say for sure.”
Sather also said the team isn’t done looking for defensemen, either through trades or free agency. It doesn’t sound like Paul Mara is part of their future.
Update, 6:05 p.m.: Only news to discuss is trade so far, so no news on Jaromir Jagr.
Update, 5:55 p.m.: Another Sather conference call in five minutes. I wonder if that means they’re done for the day. I’ll check in then.
Update, 5:12 p.m.: Defenseman Brooks Orpik isn’t coming to New York, and will instead “remain a Penguin”:http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08184/894419-61.stm.
Update, 5 p.m.: The trade makes sense from the Columbus perspective when you consider Zherdev hasn’t “always had the smoothest tenure there”:http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/sports/stories/2007/08/30/jackets30.ART_ART_08-30-07_C1_AV7ON3P.html?sid=101. Between Marcel Hossa, Jagr, Avery, Backman, and Zherdev, the Rangers lead the league in acquiring players who are described as “enigmatic” or “mercurial.”
Earlier: The Rangers have traded defensemen Fedor Tyutin and Christian Backman to Columbus in exchange for forwards Nikolai Zherdev and Dan Fritsche.
The 23-year-old Zherdev had a career year in 2007-08, scoring 26 goals and 61 points. He is set to make $3.25 million in 2008-09, only $2.5 million of which will be charged against the cap. Fritsche is a restricted free agent.
Backman and Tyutin were set to make $5.1 million between them against the cap. Tyutin is in my eyes a significant move while Backman is a player the Rangers were willing to part with.
You may recall the Rangers and Blue Jackets were tailing each other in the days and weeks leading up to the trade deadline. With that in mind, this isn’t such a stretch.
I still would assume this a precursor to something else since it does clear up some space.
More as I go…