Regarding Wade Redden, Rangers May Add Insult To Non-Injury
Sucks to suck, apparently. An article out yesterday from TSN’s Bob McKenzie (except and linked below) takes a look at what options our Rangers have on the table for dealing with Wade Redden. Devotees will remember Redden as the man signed to an inflated 6-year contract worth a whopping $39 million, of which his actual worth is about 1/78th. He floundered about on MSG ice for two seasons before it was clear that the former NHL All-Star’s bloated contract and diminished skill set were not going to be acknowledged in John Tortorella’s line up. So off to Hartford he was shipped. And there he stayed, eventually being named captain of the Rangers’ AHL team. But that captain might now be barred from playing this season in that cultural hotbed we call Hartford.
The original article is worth the quick read, but I’ll go ahead and spoil the specifics right here and now – the Rangers have three options, according to TSN. Trade him (unlikely, and even if it was possible it would surely cost us some prospects in a package), buy him out after this season is done (which is inherently risky considering that if he gets injured, he can’t get bought out), or literally not play him at all. If they tell Redden to take a seat for the season, they avoid the risk of him getting injured and can still stomach the cap hit he’ll cost them for 2013. Now for a guy who honestly believes he could still be playing in the NHL (Redden’s belief, not mine), I don’t know if there’s a bigger insult. He couldn’t play with the Whale during the lockout for some legal reason, so the man’s been training in his home town getting ready for the day when he’s no longer shackled to an organization that would rather eat cash than hand him a Blueshirt. He honestly believes he can find a spot on one of the other 29 NHL teams; all he’s got to do is stay sharp and bide his time. Well try staying sharp when you’re forced into quarantine by your current employer. Like I said, sucks to suck.
What I find funniest about this whole thing is that neither the Rangers nor TSN is even considering option number four – actually giving him a roster spot in New York. Would it really be that remarkable if the man came back to Madison Square Garden and proved himself more capable than current defensive liabilities Stu Bickel and Anton Stralman? Is it literally that unfathomable that Wade Redden could possibly be a better, more productive hockey player for our New York Rangers than, say, Steve Eminger? What aspect of his admittedly awful play simply can’t mesh with Tortorella’s game plan? Is he not willing to block shots or something? How about we tie him to the net like Bombay did with Goldberg in the original Mighty Ducks and pelt him with slapshots from the blueline. ”This doesn’t hurt!”, he’ll scream as he laughs maniacally, “I can take it!” Truth is, he’s likely played his last game wearing the famous Rangers sweater, so let’s just assume he’s being shut down for the season. And before he even gets injured, no less. Now that really hurts.
TSN – Now that the CBA has been ratified by NHL owners, the New York Rangers have to decide how to proceed with Wade Redden. There’s a provision in the new CBA that doesn’t allow the hiding of NHL contracts in the minors, save the first $900,000. So Redden, with a cap hit of $6.5 million in each of this season and next, means the Rangers are now faced with using valuable cap space on a player who is not remotely part of coach John Tortorella’s plans.
It would be nice for the Rangers to entirely get rid of Redden’s cap hit this season and next but what’s behind Door No. 1 isn’t an attractive option. That is, give up an asset or assets (draft picks and/or prospects) as inducements to get another team with lots of cap space to take Redden in a trade. Door No. 2 would be to send Redden to the AHL, absorb his $5 million-plus cap hit this season, which they have room for because teams can spend to $70M this season, and then use a compliance buyout this summer to erase the problem for next season. But that route is fraught with peril. If Redden were to get hurt in the AHL this season and the injury carried over to the summer, an injured player cannot be bought out. Were that to happen, the Rangers could get saddled with Redden’s full $6.5M cap hit next season and under no circumstances can they allow that to occur. Next year’s cap shrinks to $64.3M and it would be a disaster if the Rangers had to account for Redden’s $5M+ instead of having no cap hit on a compliance buyout.
Which bring us to Door No. 3. The only other option for the Rangers is to take Redden’s cap hit this season but not play him. Not in New York. Not in the AHL. Not anywhere. Put him in bubble wrap, cold storage and call it a year. Make sure his cheques show up on time and wait for the compliance buyout period this summer and cut all ties.