Thu 10 Dec 2009
As the Rangers season slowly burns away, Glen Sather and John Tortorella continue to fiddle with the roster. The Blueshirts have sent Matt Gilroy and Chad Johnson to Hartford and recalled Matt Zaba to backup Henrik Lundqvist.
The Johnson/Zaba swap makes sense because the Wolf Pack have three straight home games this weekend and Johnson might get a chance to play in one or two of them while Zaba sits in the bench when the Rangers host Buffalo on Saturday.
The Gilroy move is a horse of a different color.
The 25-year-old Hobey Baker Award winner has not shown the offensive game he displayed during training camp (four goals and two assists in 30 games), but his defensive play has gotten better as the season has progressed. In fact, the MSG analysts were praising Gilroy for his play prior to the Chicago game last night. They commented that it was Gilroy who was paired with Ilkka Heikkinen during the Finland native’s two game stint as a replacement for Wade Redden.
The bottom line is that the timing on Gilroy’s demotion is all wrong. It appears as if he is being made a scapegoat for the overtime loss to Chicago because he was beaten (and badly I might add) by Dustin Byfuglien. However, if the rest of the defensemen were held to the same standard, then Rangers management would have to install a turnstile in order to accommodate all of the changes needed on the Rangers blue line.
The Gilroy demotion wreaks of a coach who is trying to make an example of a rookie because he does not want to do so with his veterans – the same thing that past coaches like Colin Campbell and Tom Renney were vilified for doing. Wakeup calls are meaningless when they are done to rookies. If Sather and Tortorella want to start issuing wakeup calls, they is some veteran dead wood that needs to go before a Gilroy is sent down.
I have seen it argued in various blogs that sending Gilroy down and playing Heikkinen will give the Rangers a pro-rated $1 million salary cushion – thus pointing to a possible trade. Frankly, I think this idea is simply a red herring.
The idea of freeing cap space for a trade might be the case as long as the Rangers have no plans to recall Gilroy this season. If they recall him and send Heikkinen down, then the salary cushion is gone. If (and it is a big if) the Rangers made this move to free cap space, then I have a better way for them to free up more salary cap space.
If the Rangers waive, demote, trade, or even shoot into space both Donald Brashear and Aaron Voros, they would be able to save a pro-rated $2.4 million towards the cap – or double the space they are getting through the Gilroy demotion. With Torts giving his fourth line nothing more than token shifts throughout the game, neither player serves as a deterrent against opponents – just ask Henrik Lundqvist about that.
If the Rangers wanted to truly loosen up cap space, they would simply demote Michal Rozsival and/or Wade Redden. To be honest with you, I have been pleasantly surprised at the way Redden has stepped up his play. Then again, after last year, he had nowhere to go but up. with that said, he is till overpaid, but that is not his fault – it is the President/GM’s fault.
Of course, a Rozsival or Redden demotion is not going to happen because management will not allow it – despite the fact that management is the one who put the Rangers in this mess in the first place. The Rangers are doomed to spin their wheels until the same type of accountability that Tortorella preaches is demanded from management.
As a result, the Rangers will continue to be a team that is not good enough to seriously challenge for the Stanley Cup and not bad enough to go into the tank and receive a top three draft pick.
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