Wow, is that a redundant headline or what? I mean, every opening day of free agency of Glen Sather's term has been disappointing to some degree or another. As the saying goes Trader Sather is a genius, Signer Sather is a fool.
And that fool continued to trouble Ranger fans as he tinkered with the team's roster. While he can't be blamed for Brandon Prust's greed, he can be hung for his idea of a replacement: Arron Asham. As he did with Donald Brashear, Sather signed one of the most loathed members of the opposition (who is all but certain to disappoint). Check that, two of the most loathed members - he also added Islander Micheal Haley.
Given that Asham has be-Deviled, be-Flyered, be-Penguined, be-Islandered the Blueshirts in the past all we can hope is that he does the same dirty, infuriating things against everyone else.
The signs are not good, especially when compared to the man he is replacing. In his career Asham has played in MSG 27 times and racked up all of one goal, one assist and 33 PIM. Asham has not played a full 82 game campaign his entire career; despite his injuries Prust did the last two seasons. Prust had nine shorthanded points in his last 164 games; Asham has three in 756. Asham blocked 40 total shots over the last three years, Prust blocked 51 this season. HOWEVER, the one good quality they share is that their teammates respond when they fight. I've mentioned the Prust stat a few thousand times and the Pens went 6-1-1 last season when Asham dropped the gloves (and he won too, going 7-1 in those bouts).
As for Haley, he is no more than a minor league neanderthal. With the group of prospects hitting Hartford this fall, it will be Haley's job to protect them. He has a long record with a good number of victories so hopefully he will intimidate the other teams into giving the kids who have futures some room.
Sadly Jonathan Audy-Marchessault won't be among them. The mite-sized scorer earned himself a spot in the Ranger franchise, earned himself a spot in the AHL All Star Game and Sather let him get away. It would have been nice to see JAM get a real shot with the Rangers, but that unlikely with Torts so at least Columbus will use him.
Another guy who had no future with the Rangers was Chad Johnson. Dos Nueve never earned the organization's trust but our old pal Maloney saw something and picked him up for the Coyotes. Like Al Montoya, he can go try to ply his trade in the desert.
John Mitchell is headed to the mountains as Colorado handed him a two-year deal. Tortorella may have loved him but few others did as he made some glaring mistakes and added virtually no offense.
Following that thread, Stu Bickel was re-signed by the Rangers. Tortorella's scapegoat, Stu will be back for two more seasons - or roughly a half hour of ice time - under the head coach's reign.
Kris Newbury also decided to return, taking a two-year, two-way contract. Heard he was a good team guy with the Whale so that will be good for the future Blue.
The near future is certain to see more moves, whether they be signings or trades. Gabby will be out for a while and, given the type of surgery, may never be the player he was again. So there is a mighty Nash/Parise/Whoever-sized hole in the lineup. It will be interesting to see which side of Sather addresses it.