Monday, August 30, 2010
Sather Signs A Sabre
It is not on the official Ranger website yet but all of the NHL writers on Twitter have announced that the Rangers have signed Tim Kennedy to what is expected to be a one-year, one-way, $550,000 deal.
Now that I got my initial outrage out, it looks like an actual solid signing. That is, when you consider where the franchise is and what its goals are. All of the Ranger actions run contrary to what they have said in public and show one thing: they are not going to give any of the kids a shot this season. The roster that has been methodically built this summer ensures that the Blueshirts will be competitive for the eighth spot this season - par for the course. However, they will give them a chance either in 2011 or 2012, quite likely 2012. Once he rids himself of Wade Redden, Glen Sather will have a team that can survive any possible labour stoppage when the CBA comes up. It will be young, it will be skilled and it will be pretty cheap. It will look good in the renovated Garden and justify the massive price increases that will come along with it.
But that is then and this is now. Now we have yet another capable third or fourth line player with something to prove. Kennedy skates hard, is defensively responsible and should be good for a dozen or so goals. He went through three seasons of college, one of the AHL and one in the NHL. He took Buffalo to arbitration, was justifiably awarded a $1 mill and the Sabres walked away. The Blueshirts are getting him for a little more than half that. Not bad.
The aforementioned outrage of mine stems from what the impact of the deal is. It all but assures Dale Weise will be back in Hartford and it puts even more pressure on Sean Avery. I think Weise worked hard enough last year that he should be rewarded with a shot and the added pressure will hurt Avery. Sean walks a fine line as is, now that he has to earn his job night after night, it will either knock him back to the ineffective form of last season or over the line to the craziness that led to his banishment. An in-form Sean Avery, as we have seen, is far more valuable to the franchise than a soldier like Kennedy.
A lot of the Sabre fans I know really liked Kennedy and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if he builds a following here in New York. We love our hard-hat guys. We just don't enjoy the mediocrity that has become acceptable fare for the Garden brass.