With his best poker face Glen Sather again proved to be a mastermind of making something big out of nothing. The Rangers club who have rallied to play much better hockey in his stearing at the helm and the return of many key veterans (Leetch and Bure) pulled of some major league deals. Aside from the point that Anson Carter who is as good as billed, can finally give the Rangers that winger who can properly use 200 pounds on the boards is coming to town the Rangers added highly regarded Edmonton Oiler prospect Ales Pisa a 6’0″ 195 pounder out of the Czech Republic in return for Radek Dvorak whom has seemingly regained his “lost on the ice” style that he carried with San Jose and the Panthers and mid-season signee Cory Cross a lanky defender who has played for Tampa, Chicago and Toronto in his career. Cross was a steadying presence on defense and even helped Darius Kasparitis remember to “stay home, play smart” but Cross was not an exciting player. Pisa may log some ice time but this depends on the player, Sylvain Lefebrve whom Sather could not dump for anything at the deadline or even last season, and how much he will play and where?
On other fronts the Rangers then sent goalie prospect Johan Holmqvist to Minnesota via Hartford and to Houston for young defender Lawrence Nycholat a 6-0 190 pounder out of Calgary. Nycholat was a popular player in Houston of the AHL and regarded by some scouts as their best defender. Nycholat is a puck moving defender like someone the Rangers just dumped Mike Mottau, same size, offense first.
Janne Laukannen was lost to Tampa as he was exposed at the waiver wire for a reconditioning assignment. The Bolts were looking for a defender and were repelled when Glen Wesley went to Toronto and Aaron Miller resigned with L.A.
In all the Rangers kept Jamie Lundmark and Fedor Tjutin while shedding Cross, Dvorak, Holmqvist and Laukannen. But one of the biggest needs remains on defense. Kasparitis has been painful all season the same with the cooling Lefebrve and old Dave Karpa. The cupboard is not that full on the blueline. Tjutin, Bryce Lampman, Nycholat and Mike Wilson are around but of all these only Lampman and Tjutin seem to have a shot and neither fits the bill as a punishing physical defense first blueliner. This area needs to be addressed in the offseason.