Thursday, September 9, 2010
Where O' Where Can Wade Go?
Since it is almost a foregone conclusion that the latest defensive target of derision Wade Redden will be sent somewhere this fall, where should it be? He jumped right from juniors to the NHL and, unlike many NHLers (you know, the ones who cared about keeping their skill set intact), Wade didn't play during the lockout so there is no familiar destination to send him to. You would have figure that he will have a say in where he goes so just where can the Rangers ship him? Let's look at the options:
1 - Hartford: Should something go horribly wrong, the Blueshirts could bring him back to Broadway from the AHL team in no time at all. But, geography aside, do you want Redden's bitterness infecting the Pack? Torts talked about some bad eggs in the locker room last season and, let's face it, everyone is inferring that he meant Redden. And on the other side, what could possibly make Wade decide to positively influence the youth of the franchise who has spurned him so?
2- Russia: The KHL is always looking for NHL talent and, let's face it, it would be fun to send Redden to Siberia. But I can't imagine Jagr being willing to play alongside him so it would have to be another team. Redden, at one time, had the skill set that has made Kevin Dallman the best defenseman in Russia so some team would be willing to gamble on him ... especially with the Rangers footing some of the bill. Darius Kasparaitis was sent to SKA St. Petersburg, a team that now features Wade's old Ottawa teammate Alexei Yashin. Unfortunately for Redden, they are already stacked on defense with former NHLers Sergei Zubov, Andrei Zyzuin, Denis Grebeshkov and Vitaly Vishnevski. There are more teams but when you look into Russian hockey, you see talk about the K being a physically and mentally tough league for foreigners so there goes that destination for our six million dollar softie.
3 - Sweden: Surely Daniel Alfredsson could get Wade a gig in the Elitserien - he's people who know people. Alfredsson played in Frolunda but since we like Henrik Lundqvist's final squad, we wouldn't want to send Wade there. Redden was added to the Rangers at the same time as Markus Naslund, who is still in action in Modo, but since we are liking MZA we should keep that pipeline of talent open. Former Senator Andreas Dackell is the captain in Brynas so that may be a fit. If Redden was cut after the final preseason game, he would have already missed five of their league games. But, you know, I read somewhere that the Swedes are trying to cut down on imports in an effort to boost their homegrown talent so perhaps we will have to keep looking.
4 - Germany: Wade's wiki points out that he is friends with Lee Goren, who happens to play for the Straubing Tigers of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga. The import-friendly DEL has been a solid home for washed up NHLers for years, from Mike Bullard to Dave McLlwain to Jeff Friesen. But now it seems to primarily take North American journeymen who are sick of the minor league grind. Believe it or not, Wade may actually (shockingly) be too skilled for their league. There is awesomeness to be had - the Hannover Scorpions are the home to Olympic hero Tore Vikingstad - but frankly there is no fit for Redden in Deutschland.
5 - Switzerland: This is my guess. If Switzerland would be willing to accept the Nazis' gold and other secrets, surely the country can take Wade Redden off the Rangers' hands. The level of play, the limited number of games and the laid back atmosphere is perfect for the overpaid former NHL star who couldn't take the pressure - something Wade's old running mate Alexander Daigle found out and loves.
So now that we narrowed it down to the Swiss National League A, let's figure out what team he could go to. Daigle played for three different teams last season Davos, Fribourg-Gotteron and Langnau. He was Davos property but they had loaned him to Langnau. As near as I can tell, the former NHL No. 1 pick is not listed on any of the three teams' rosters for this fall; maybe he is waiting for Wade to be assigned to a team by the Rangers and then will join him (haha).
It is rumoured, by the way, that Fribourg-Gotteron is the team taking Cristobal Huet off of Chicago's hands although he is not on their official roster. But that roster has eight defenseman already on it, so they are probably out.
Former NHL journeyman Marty Murray played alongside Redden back in their Brandon (WHL) days and spent 07-08 in Lugano, a team that might be a good fit for our fair blueliner. Lugano has several former NHLers in Hnat Domenichelli, Petteri Nummelin, Dave Aebischer and Ben Clymer. But Lugano has no ties with the Rangers. SC Bern, as we saw two years ago at the Victoria Cup, does. Unfortunately though, their depth chart lists nine defenders and it might be tough for Wade to beat out Philippe Furrer, Travis Roche or Joel Kwiatkowski out for a top spot. Seeing as Bern took the top spot in the table last spring, perhaps one of the teams right behind them would be willing to take on Redden's baggage if they think he can put them over the top.
EV Zug just picked up Glen Metropolit and feature Jussi Markkanen in net; Markkanen certainly is familiar with playing behind incompetent Blueshirt blueliners so perhaps Redden can fit there. Genève has Brian Pothier, another Senator running-mate of Reddens, but head coach Chris McSorley was a minor league tough guy and can't imagine he would want Wade. SCB's biggest rival is Davos and that side can certainly use him. They don't have much in the way of names - the von Arx brothers, the other Petr Sykora and Peter Sejna being the ones that jump out. Seeing as Davos hosted Joe Thornton and Rick Nash during the lockout, perhaps the ski city is the perfect fit.
So that is my selection, HC Davos. But, ya know what? Anywhere other than here is fine with me. Let's just end this sad chapter of Ranger history and pretend that it didn't happen. Sure it would stop a direct line of jeer-worthy jokes on the Ranger blueline (Pilon, Poti, Malik, Redden) but I for one would be quite willing to start a season without hating someone on my own team.