So maybe everyone was getting ahead of themselves in thinking Mats Sundin was going to give the Rangers a plum discount purely out of a desire to win and the kindness of his heart. According to Larry Brooks, the free agent center “is still looking to get paid”:http://www.nypost.com/seven/12182008/sports/rangers/sundin_awaits_rangers_6m_offer_144718.htm.
If Sundin is indeed seeking $6 million pro-rated from the Rangers, that would still be considerably less than the $10 million on the table from the Canucks, but it would also be enough that Glen Sather would have to work some magic to clear space for him.
In other words, forget about a simple waive of Petr Prucha and Dan Fritsche, and start thinking about options far more dramatic—like, for instance, a trade of a core player (yes, there’s always the panacea of dispensing of a defenseman’s bulky contract, but that’s a longshot. More on that in a second).
And that’s when you start asking yourself if whether it’s all worth it. While no one is going to confuse this three-game winning streak with signs that the Rangers are Cup-ready, you do have to be leery of moves that completely shake the foundation of a group that, while certainly flawed, does have a pretty good record.
In the salary cap world, you always have to give up something to get something. I get that. But part of what has made Sundin so attractive these past few weeks is that the Rangers didn’t seem to have to give up an objectionable amount. Now you wonder if that’s actually the case.
How about that Michal Rozsival? For that matter, how about a number of players on this trip who seem to have shaken out of their respective slumps—from Rozsival to Nigel Dawes to Chris Drury? For the record, if we see Dmitri Kalinin net a couple against the Sharks on Saturday, then we know the Rangers will be pushing for more California trips on the schedule for next year.
When it comes to Rozsival, it may take a game like this to break the vicious cycle he’s been immersed in all season—sluggish play (injury-related or not) leading to sagging confidence, which of course, leads to more mediocre play. Maybe there’s still a long way to go, but the Rangers at least could point to a game like last night and say this is what they had hoped for when they re-signed him over the summer.
And at the risk of sounding sinister, you wonder if a game like last night might make enough of an impression on other teams that they’d be willing to now take on Rozsival’s contract.
Unlikely, sure. But it put this way: it couldn’t have hurt.