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Sather Discusses Blueshirt Decisions of Past Week

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

Over the past week, the Rangers organization has significantly changed its look, from both a player and development standpoint. In the matter of seven days, a total of 19 new players, 13 of them under the age of 25, were added to the club via trades and waivers claims. In addition, six first or second draft choices over the next two years have also been acquired by the Blueshirts. President and General Manager Glen Sather spoke with the media following the barrage of activity on Tuesday to discuss the team's decision to head in a new direction.

Q: On trading defenseman Greg de Vries to Ottawa ...

GS: We certainly could have held on to him. The opportunity was there to get a player who was seven years younger (Karel Rachunek) and to get another real good prospect in the deal. We think it's a good deal and that's why we did it.

Q: Did you feel that once you 'made guys available,' that there was some kind of mandate to get something for them before the deadline?

GS: We thought that this was a good time to do what we thought was necessary to do and improve the team for the future. But, the opportunity was there because there were so many teams vying for a playoff position and with such good competition between the teams, we got into the market. It was a good time for us to do this.

Q: You acquired a lot of draft picks in the 2004 NHL Draft. Are you confident that this upcoming draft is going to be deep enough to work those picks or is this for future moves?

GS: Well, we ended up with two additional picks in the 2005 Draft as well and an extra first rounder next year, as well as four total second round picks next year. But as you get closer to the Draft, there's lots of ways to use these draft picks. Whether it's for making a deal for another player or moving up in the Draft. There are lots of things you can do with these assets. The way it worked out, we feel that we did real well.

Q: Can you characterize what led you to say that we're going to do this extensive of a trade-off at the deadline instead of making one or two moves and keeping a core group of guys together to move forward?

GS: First of all, the opportunity was there to do what we did do. There were some opportunities to get some real good assets going forward. That's why we did what we did now.

Q: In total, what do you think you accomplished this week?

GS: The way to get ahead in the league is by acquiring assets and turning them into good players. If we can draft properly and get some good players and build chemistry that we feel we will need ... If you look at other teams who have rebuilt in the past, this is how to do the re-building job. It seemed like this was the right time to do it. There were players available that we like and think they can play ... and play for us for a long time. The majority of our team was older and we tried to build a team that could compete for the Stanley Cup. For a lot of different reasons, it didn't work this year. So, instead of putting a lot of patches together, we decided that we were going to go ahead and make some changes. And that's really what we've done. We've made a lot of changes over a short period of time that we think will help this organization for a lot of years.

Q: Would it be realistic to expect you to attempt to re-sign a couple of the guys you traded - guys who've played pretty well here, such as Barnaby and Rucinsky and Simon? Or is it, do you think, necessary to present a new face that wouldn't include them either?

GS: Well, first of all, I can't comment about any of the players that we've traded because they don't belong to us any longer. But I think as all you guys know, all of the players that we traded were going to become free agents into the year, and that's really all I can say about it. I spoke to everyone that was traded and I really don't want to tell you what I said to these guys. Each guy that I talked to, I thanked him for being here, I thanked him for doing the best job that he could, and said that I was sorry it didn't work out as well as we'd all planned; and every one of the players, to a man, said pretty much the same thing - that they loved playing here and if the opportunity was here, they'd like to come back again.
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