Update, 10:20 a.m.: As I “reported here last week”:http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/2008/07/02/amidst-all-the-madness/, the Rangers have added Mike Barnett to their staff. Barnett was Wayne Gretzky’s agent and then his GM in Phoenix before eventually being fired at the end of the 2007 season. His new title according to a release from the Rangers is Senior Adviser to Glen Sather and Director of U.S. Amateur Scouting.
Earlier: Sounds like Hartford captain Andrew Hutchinson is out the door and “prepared to sign with Tampa Bay”:http://www.tboblogs.com/index.php/sports/comments/lightning-still-retooling-add-a-defenseman/.
This hardly qualifies as tragic circumstances for the Rangers. Acquired in the Matt Cullen deal last summer, Hutchinson had been viewed by some in the organization as a possible sixth or seventh defenseman. But he never even made it to the final cuts of training camp, in large part because of in-zone deficiencies. Although he flourished with the Wolf Pack and was named the team’s captain, Hutchinson’s name came up only once as far as I could remember as a possible call-up, and that never happened (Update: As loyal reader Mitch Beck pointed out, the fact that Hutchinson had to pass through waivers was obviously part of the reason. Hey, it’s hot. Give me a break).
Tellingly, the Lightning, who have signed every forward this side of Jari Kurri this summer but haven’t been as proactive on the back end, envision Hutchinson as part of their NHL club next year.