Saturday, June 25, 2011
How Things Went Wrong With Hobey
The news broke today that Matt Gilroy was not qualified with the rest of the Rangers Group II restricted free agents.
Given Gilroy had a two-year, $3.5 million contract and would have to had to been qualified at $2.3 million. Financially the numbers just don't work for a player who was a third pairing blueliner ... at best. The Rangers apparently offered him another deal at a lower number but Gilroy will test the waters on July 1st.
So what went wrong?
Gilroy raised the Rangers' expectations (and the final amount of his contract) with a Hobey Baker Award-winning senior year at Boston University. Looking back, the fact that he was joined on the BU blueline by five guys who were all drafted and have all gone pro since should have brought some doubt into the equasion. Opposing schools had to worry about NHL first round selection Kevin Shattenkirk, giving Gilroy more time and space.
Hobey then raised the fans's expectations with this and this. But that came during a time the team came out of the gate flying - the Rangers opened 2009-10 with a 8-3-1 run and everyone was focused on supposed phenom Michael Del Zotto.
Del Zotto was getting prime ice time, especially with the man advantage. Gilroy was left at the bottom of the depth chart, forced to skate with Wade Redden or Michal Rozsival - not a good position to be in. A guy who was supposed to be able to carry the puck and put up points was left cleaning up his partners' mistakes and dumping the disc off the glass. This last season was even worse as he was leapfrogged by Mike Sauer and Ryan McDonagh and his minutes per game dropped well below the 15 minute mark. Gilroy did step up his game late and played some solid, if unspectacular shifts in the playoffs but they were not enough to earn another big money deal.
This fall should see Tim Erixon, Tomas Kundratek, Pavel Valentenko, Jyri Niemi and even Mikhail Pashnin challenge for spots on Broadway. Seeing as Glen Sather is considering adding a veteran on July 1st as well, well, that doesn't leave any room for Hobey. Best wishes to the Bellmore boy.