By John from Philly
As a rabid New York sports fan, living in Philadelphia is like being behind enemy lines. I’m forced to watch the hated enemy rise to great highest but then relish its slide back to reality.
Like the Flyers, the Rangers have been handcuffed by the salary cap. Unlike the Rangers, the Flyers found a way to squeak into the playoffs and run all the way to the Stanly Cup Finals.
Like the Rangers the Flyers didn’t make any notable moves on March 3rd (but I must applaud Mr. Slather for his genius movement of Ales Kotalik and Chris Higgins about a month before the deadline date) but they still had a successful year all in all.
We all know who the Rangers are handcuffed by, and we all know the effects that it has on the team year each year. The organization can’t bring in top end scoring or even quality roll players each year during the free agency period.
Buying out these contracts would be more costly then just letting them play out for the next 4 years. So whom does Mr. Sather bring in to help the team out? None other than Todd White.
Now I’m sure Mr. White is a nice guy but I’ve heard that he is in the discussion for our number one center. He really wouldn’t stand a chance playing along side offence talents like Marian Gaborik and Alex Frolov.
Lets look at his numbers for the past 3 years with the Atlanta Thrashers. (Number provided by hockey-refernce.com):
2007-08: 74 games, 14g, 23a, 37 pts.
2008-09: 82 games, 22g, 51a, 73 pts.
2009-10: 65 games, 7g, 19a, 26 pts.
The 2008-2009 season was a good year for him playing a full 82 game season and netting 73 points. Those are good numbers but he is an inconsistent producer. I know this is a small sample size but 73 points is the highest point total of his career, it is also the only time he has played a full 82 game season. Why don’t we look within the division once more to the Flyers and see what their top center produced in the past 3 years:
2007-08: 73 games, 28g, 47a, 75 pts.
2008-09: 79 games, 30g, 50a, 80 pts.
2009-10: 82 games, 31g, 31a, 62 pts.
This is Mike Richards numbers for the past 3 years. Granted he isn’t the first line center every night (he will usually be switched around with Jeff Crater and Danny Breire on the top line from time to time) but as far as I’m concerned his is the Flyers best all-around center. He penalty kills and was the leading forward for AOI for those 3 years. The numbers really speak for themselves. Last year he had a down year but he has so many intangibles that make us for seasons like that.
Bringing Todd White in would just be taking up a roster spot for a young player that could, one day develop into a player like a Make Richards.
Unlike Alexander Frolov, who is in the prime of his carrier, White is in his twilight years and doesn’t really have a chance to come back next year.
I know the deal that brought White over was a good one (dumping Brash and Rissmiller) but as far as I’m concerned he should be headed right to Hartford.
What the Rangers would be doing if they put him on the roster on opening day is hoping that he would have a year like 2008.
This brings me to what the Rangers have been doing for the past few years. We hoped the Ales Kotalik would go back to his scoring ways on the power play by being reunited with Chris Drury. We were hoping that Matt Gilroy would be able to handle an 82 game NHL season right out of college. And we were hoping the Donald Brashier would be as mean and nasty as he was on teams like, you guessed it, the Flyers.
This year, as a fan base, we are hoping that our youngsters get a chance to play on the big squad and develop into the heart and soul of this organization. We have talent within but some of it is a long way from being ready to seriously compete with the best of them.
I myself know that this process of bringing in the new kids is going to take a while but I think it will be worth the wait, because, if done right, the Lord Stanley’s Cup could be a possibility.
When we didn’t make the playoffs this year I was glad quite frankly. I wouldn’t have to deal with the tease of competing for the Cup and the pain of failing. I also thought that there would be a change in philosophy within the organization if we didn’t make the playoffs for the first time since the lockout.
It seems that the Rangers organization is content with mediocrity year after year.