Monday, July 6, 2009

Tread Carefully Mr. Sather ...

As is being widely reported, restricted free agents Ryan Callahan and Nik Zherdev are taking the Rangers to salary arbitration. Steve Zipay does a fantastic job spelling it out and explaining what that means.

Arbitration is a tricky thing and the Rangers aren't the least bit afraid to go in with all guns blazing - who can forget hearing that they called Sean Avery "a detriment to the team" when he brought them to arbitration two summers ago?

Sean Avery, however, was a very different player than Cally and Z are now. Vicious barbs could cause serious damage to both.

Callahan surely has a youthful cockiness after a strong regular season and his team's vocal refusal to include him in any trades for scoring help or cap relief. But at the same time, Cally contributed just two goals in the series against the Caps - a fact he or his rep would need to refute with his team-leading 24 hits but considering how badly the Rangers needed goals, their number would weigh considerably more. Whatever dirt the team decides to dish will need to be tempered with what they see as his upside: does he have leadership potential? superstar potential? can he score 35 goals? Zip believes that the team won't let the negotiations go to arbitration with Cally and that would certainly seem like the way to go as the kid could be a cornerstone of the franchise down the line.

The conversation with Z will also have to be done with an eye towards the future. Likely, it is a future without Zherdev as soon as Grachev is NHL-ready. Seeing as Andrew Gross and company raved what Jess has been saying all along - that Grachev is scary-good and close to making the show - the Rangers can unleash their arsenal at Z. Call him lazy, call him uncoachable, call him out on his playoff disappearance. To do that, however, they have to pray that Tortorella can put the shattered pieces of the Ukrainian's psyche back together enough to get one last productive campaign out of him before kicking him to the KHL.

Like seemingly everything else this summer, this is sure to hold a few surprises so stay tuned!


NYR34 said...

What's the actual numbers on what Callahan's looking to get? He's certainly valuable (just as Dubi is) in ways sometimes not seen on the scoresheet.

Zherdev is a head case, plain and simple. For all the flashes of genius he's shown during the last season, his work ethinc has left a lot to be desired, and I wonder if Tortorella's influence improves him or just mentally breaks him down further.

Canyon of Blueshirts said...

I think Z might get moved, especially if the Rangers feel Grachev might be able to make the transition to the NHL. I don't think he'll make the team just b/c he's only 19 and has only played one year of NA hockey.

I'm still hoping Rozsival gets moved, I think the Panthers could make sense as a trading partner.

Scotty Hockey said...

NYR - check Zip's page, I think he broke the numbers down - something like 600k...

Ryan - I agree on Rozy and Florida's need for defense now that J-Bo is gone but what do they have that we need? My fingers are crossed for some kind of magic to ship him to Dallas for Richards. I know it won't happen, but it's a nice dream.

Canyon of Blueshirts said...

Florida could use him, especially since McCabe is only getting older and Leopold has a one year deal. Truthfully, I don't care what we get in return for him, a mid round pick w/e. The Rangers need the cap space and they can find some one year contracts in free agency.

Word is Hicks is in deep and the Stars aren't in the position to take on salary. Sure they lose almost $3 m if Richards is moved for him, but they could probably find a better deal. Especially since the bar has been set with the Gomez trade.

s2404 said...

My ideal pick up this off season would be Alex Tanguay. He's reliable, hard working and a damn solid playmaker with a sniper of a shot.
I've seen him play in Calgary, and was sad to see him go but the media made it seem like the presure really got to him...don't know if it was that, or if he was expected to put up 50 goals rather than 50 assists.
Kind of pricey, but as a player who's a natural centre but forced to play the wing I think he could fit in NY.

Anonymous said...

Zipay nails my thoughts pretty well on the Zherdev deal. I like him and always defend him, but for all the haters, who do we replace him with?

Everyone on that list is too expesnive or aging and over the hill. We can't get that kind point production (and he's a lock for near 60 pretty much every season at least) for his price.