Saturday, June 19, 2010
Why Not Arnott?
The saying goes that sometimes the biggest moves are the ones you don't make. What usually goes unsaid is that it cuts both ways.
Today the Devils reacquired Jason Arnott in a deal with Nashville for a second round pick next year and right wing Matt Halischuk, a low-level prospect. Glen Sather either did not get in on the negotiations for Arnott's services or he decided that the Predator captain wasn't worth it. Either way, the Rangers are less off for not swinging the deal.
Let's look at why:
*Adding Arnott would have given the Rangers a first line center. Having a depth chart of Arnott-Dubinsky-Anisimov-Drury would have made the middle a position of strength. (Yes, Drury would be manning the fourth line; as he showed at the Olympics, that is where he excels.)
*While his leadership was questioned in Nashville, he still brings 1,205 NHL games, 939 points and a Stanley Cup ring to the table (numbers include playoffs).
*At 6'5, 220 Arnott would have provided size the Rangers need, and at a far higher skill level than Brian Boyle. Boyle should go to Hartford, directly to Hartford, without passing go and without collecting a NHL salary.
*His experience as a big man and his particular skill set would have provided a perfect role model for Brandon Dubinsky, who did not particularly progress in his development last season.
*While waiver wire addition Erik Christensen showed some chemistry with Marian Gaborik, he certainly did not draw the defenders to him. Everyone watching knew Christy was going to look for Arnott 49 times out of 50 before taking things himself - after the defense has secured the zone. Arnott forces teams to take notice of him and is willing to go hard to the slot - something that would open more ice up for our Slovak sniper.
*With one year left on his contract, Arnott would have bought the Rangers a season for Derek Stepan to learn the pro game in either the AHL or the WHL.
*Despite a string of injuries the last few years, Arnott still has averaged better than 0.7 points per game. Drury, by the way, averaged 0.42 last season. And if those injuries were a concern, well, look at Gaborik last season.
*On the Devils, Arnott will make himself quite familiar with the front of the crease in front of Henrik. Not good. Not good at all.
As the move was not made, the Rangers are still without a top pivot. If they want to re-sign Christensen, that works but they can't give the lip service that they are going to make the playoffs and make a run for the Cup. And that is fine - this team is long (long, long, long) overdue for a rebuild. Let Prospal walk, re-sign Brodie Dupont and give him a shot at the roster, bring up Bobby and Dane and Dale (Weise), trade Rozy for picks (or a bag of pucks) and banish Redden from Broadway.
But let's face it, that is about as likely as Dolan selling the team and Sather offering an official apology for his reign of ridiculousness. It is still far, far too early to condemn him for the coming season but letting Arnott go to Jersey may be the biggest move he made.