Harry Potter. Angus MacGyver. Glen Sather.
All 3 manage to work magic to somehow get themselves out of sticky predicaments, and you have to suspend a bit of reality to believe it. Where the similarities end are that Potter and MacGyver are fictitious characters. Sather, as we all know, is quite real.
Today, Sather somehow managed to divest himself of two more of his poor (one of them perplexing) free agent signings, by getting Atlanta Thrashers GM Rick Dudley to take forwards Donald Brashear and Patrick Rissmiller in exchange for 35-year-old center Todd White.
The Brashear signing was unpopular with the fans from the get-go, and injuries, the inability to be an effective enforcer and his going public with demands of a trade that sealed his fate once a willing trade partner was found. Rissmiller played all of 2 games in a Rangers uniform during the first 2 seasons of his 3-year, $1 million per deal. While it flies in the face of the “get younger” philosophy, it’s another addition by subtraction move by getting rid of 2 less-than-happy campers in the organization and it potentially bolsters the center position. It’s hard to know coming off injuries and a lackluster season what if anything White will be able to contribute. Maybe they catch lightning in a bottle like they did with Erik Christensen. But if it doesn’t work out for him on the NHL level, at least White and his contract can always be sent to the AHL without a cap hit.
I am not a Sather fan or apologist by any stretch of the imagination, as he continually hands out inexplicable contracts that he then has to somehow find a way to get out of. But his ability to unload on other teams has been unbelievable. Think about it with these two:
Scott Gomez -
Admittedly, I was excited when he crossed the Hudson and signed as a free agent in 2007. Problem was, he was being paid as though he were something he wasn’t – a first line center and a scorer. It was like trying to put a square peg in a round hole. In 2009, Sather found someone to take him off his hands in the form of Bob Gainey and the Montreal Canadiens. In the process he wrested away one of the Canadiens’ better defensive prospects in Ryan McDonagh. Sather used the cleared cap space to turn around and sign Marian Gaborik (who, should he manage to stay healthy, has to be considered as the best of Sather’s free agent signings). Sad thing is, Gomez probably would’ve had success feeding Gaborik the puck as his center.
Ales Kotalik -
Dumbfounded was one of the better adjectives to describe how I felt about this 2009 signing of 3 years at $3 million per and a no trade clause. After 45 games in a Rangers uniform, he finally agreed to waive his NTC after Sather found a willing trade partner in the Calgary Flames, packaging Kotalik and the struggling Christopher Higgins for Ollli Jokinen and Brandon Prust. A win-win-win for the Rangers, getting rid of Kotalik, taking back Jokinen who at the time you hoped gave some offensive help (which he didn’t) and could walk away from because of his pending free agency (which the Rangers did) and getting Prust as part of the deal.
I’d really love to know how he does it. I really don’t think it’s with paper clips and a stick of gum, a la MacGyver or a “Confundus” spell a la Harry Potter.
About the Author: Likes: Hockey, the New York Rangers, King Henrik, singing the Rangers goal song, "The Save", the sound skates make against ice, heckling Marty Brodeur. Dislikes: 3-point games, front-office mismanagement, Denis Potvin, overpriced arena beer. Interested? Follow me on Twitter: @CC_927