In the New York Post's weekly Sunday hockey column yesterday, Larry Brooks reported that GM Glen Sather and the New York Rangers have contacted the Nashville Predators about restricted free agent forward Alexander Radulov. The Blueshirts, in doing this, are seeking a goal scorer to replace Marian Gaborik while he is likely out for the first two months of the 2012-13 season after undergoing shoulder surgery.
Among the many problems I have with this news, the very first has to start with the Rangers even looking to replace Gaborik at all. Gaborik is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair a torn labral in his shoulder later this week, and from there will be involved in a five-month rehabilitation process. Assuming he will need some time to hit the ice before entering gameplay again, that would leave Marian looking at some time around Thanksgiving to make his season debut.
So for the Rangers, they would only be without this past season's top goal scorer for about a month and a half, which equates to around seventeen games. And remember, that is only if the National Hockey League and the NHLPA can mutually agree on a new CBA in time for the start of the 2012-13 campaign, and to be honest, it's going to take a near miracle for that to happen if negotiations are as hairy as they are being predicted to be.
Secondly, Alex Radulov will not fill the shoes of Marian Gaborik even if the Rangers went as far as to acquire the soon-to-be 26-year-old's rights and sign him to a contract. Radulov's career-high in goals was 26 back in 2006 before he bolted to the KHL, where his numbers were also less than stellar. He does not have the speed nor the wicked release that Gabby possesses, so replacing one with the other makes little sense.
And, not for nothing, but what sort of scouting report are the Rangers exactly looking at on Radulov? Because he in no way, shape or form fits into the mold of this team, especially under a head coach like John Tortorella. Radulov has massive character issues, he's more about himself than the team he plays for, he is one of the more lazy players when it comes to two-way hockey and he spends a fair share of time riding the bench.
Yeah, that Alex Radulov.
The Rangers have this kid, too, his name is Chris Kreider. Last I checked he was a fairly talented emerging star with quick speed and a slick shot. So maybe it would be a better idea to allow a reliable pre-existing Ranger who has already proven himself to this team to step up and fill the spot for the whole seventeen games, likely less, that Marian will miss. I know, it's sad that I'm left to think for this organization sometimes.
Plus, did GM Glen Sather not see the downfall of Nik Zherdev under John Tortorella several years ago? Zherdev and Radulov are practically carbon copies of each other. And not only Zherdev, but what about what happened with Artem Anisimov in this past postseason? The kid was playing less than five minutes per night because of defensive blunders, even though the effort was actually there. What will happen to a player that does not even show the will to backcheck?
Now according to Brooks, Sather is more than just "kicking tires" with this Radulov thing, which means he's putting offers on the table. It likely will not take much to lure his rights here, since Predators GM David Poile can either accept a trade or risk losing Radulov to the KHL for absolutely nothing. This just may happen.
But I shouldn't have to be the speaker of logic in this situation. Sather should know damn well by now what works and what doesn't with the current mold that has formed around this team, and there's no doubt that adding Radulov will be forcing a square into a round hole.