All Quiet on the Rangers Front? Dessner Shines in Norway

By Evan Andriopoulos

What is Glen Sather’s next move? With Edmonton`s signing of Todd Marchant, Sather is looking for that card up his sleeve, but does he have it in Stephane Quintal? At the end of the 1999-00 season many thought Quintal would have been gone for good by now, but he is still around. Odds are he may stay, or perhaps that is what Sather wants NHL GM’s to believe to increase his value. All eyes are now on defenseman and Hobey Baker winner Mike Mottau who did not sign a deal presented by Asst. GM Don Maloney last season that would have given him 20 AHL playoff games of experience. Mottau’s agent says that he has not even heard from Sather. All NHL people believe a deal will be done in time for camp, but with Sather being a sly as ever, will he give in Mottau? Or will Mottau give in to Sather?

On other news fronts… Rangers defensive prospect Jeff Dessner showed tremendous ability against top level Norwegian players in 3 games last week. Dessner played tough in your face hockey and opened many eyes, including these two. Dessner’s one area of concern is his size. At 6-1, 195, he really may need 10 pounds to be a complete NHL defender as he looked over challenged at times in front of the net agaist VIF Hockey of Oslo. However, he did compensate with grit and toughness. Jeff appears to be a smart player that may come out and become a leading Hobey Baker candidate this season. He has excellent skating skills, his puck control is solid, and appears to be a very smart player on the ice. Another season in the WCHA will tell and help him develop into a possible NHL defender.

Claude Lemeiux is still around… he could either fill a roster spot on an aging club or end up somewhere other than New York. Rumor has it Phoenix has expressed some interest, and one cannot count out Philadelphia, Florida, or anywhere in between who has some cash floating around for an old hard nose that could bring 15-20 goals, 150 PIMS and some solid cornerwork.

PERSONAL COMMENTS ON THE CLAUDE WATCH: A few years back Claude would have been nice to have on the team or any team. Now the team (Rangers) needs to address their future. Ice time at the NHL level is needed for a couple prospects like Johan Witehall, Pavel Brendl and others before they are burned out in the minors. It is necessary to build a playoff team without denying the future…that is the most difficult part for the Rangers Management. Perhaps with the pending departure of Quintal this may allow Tomas Kloucek, Mottau, Alexei Vasiliev and Martin Richter the opportunity to play in the NHL and make mistakes as rookies do, without being dealt to other clubs to become their future. Players like Dave Gagner flourished once they were dealt, Corey Millen had a few big seasons, Kevin Miller, Kelly Miller and Mike Ridley all showed promise before being dealt, Todd Marchant is just beginning to show the world his talents and Dan Cloutier could be the next great one or not… but they need the ice time… New York needs a young superstar… Mike York is an example… While Manny Malhotra and Pavel Brendl get the press, York quietly without media had a tremendous rookie season… Can`t this be afforded to ________ (fill in the blank)?