Over the past few years, the New York Rangers have been plagued with a string of players who are much better before they come to New York and then turn out mediocre once they come to the Rangers.
Whether this is because of the pressure of playing in New York, that the players do not fit into the game play strategy of the Rangers, or that the players just are too old and are past their prime when they come to the Rangers, it is obvious that the millions of dollars spent by the Rangers can definitely be better utilized.
The man mostly to blame for this is Rangers general manager Glen Sather, who oversees all personnel decisions within the organization. Sather has been at the helm of the Rangers organization since 2000, in which time the Rangers have made the playoffs seven times in the span of 13 seasons. At roughly .500 for making the playoffs that statistic could be worse, but with the financial support that the Rangers have and the affinity for always being the best — as New York expects nothing less — that statistic is unacceptable.
While Sather has drafted some rookies that turned out to be star players — most notably goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and captain Ryan Callahan — he has signed some free agents and made some trades that are borderline mediocre decisions at best.
The beginning of Sather’s career as Rangers GM was riddled with signings of aging veterans that were past their prime but highly valued due to their prior success. After missing the playoffs for four straight seasons, the Rangers attempted to change their strategy and begin to rebuild by finding talented youth. This paid off for a few seasons, as the Rangers made key draft picks and signings of young players which led to a string of playoff appearances but never made it past the second round of the playoffs.
However, the plan to stick with young players quickly changed again when Sather decided to sign aging, injury-prone Chris Drury, Brendan Shanahan and Scott Gomez. The Rangers began to slide again, missing the playoffs in 2010. They quickly made a trade for superstar Marian Gaborik who, despite injury concerns, became one of the best players in years for the Rangers.
After almost winning the President’s Trophy and making it to the conference finals in 2011-12, the Rangers were looking as if they would be serious contenders for the Stanley Cup in 2012-13; however due to a few ill-advised trades and the lockout shortened season, the Rangers lost to the Boston Bruins in the second round of the playoffs.
Sather decided that the Rangers should first trade for superstar Rick Nash. This was a good trade that added some serious offensive skill, however, where Sather might have gone wrong and a place where fans call for his resignation is the trading of then superstar Marian Gaborik for Derek Brassard, Derek Dorsett, and John Moore. This trade got rid of the Rangers’ leading goal scorer for the past few seasons and brought in Nash who has struggled since his trade to New York.
Sather has seen a lot of criticism over his tenure as Rangers GM; however, his job is not easy. It’s easy to say that he should have done this or that, but when the team begins to struggle to reach that next level, like the Rangers have, then it might be time for a change even though those in the organization are doing fairly well.
For the sake of the organization, perhaps the Rangers need a fresh perspective at the general manager position.