Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It's Official! Rangers & Flames Make Trade

The trade between the Rangers and Flames which was expected to be announced late Sunday night was finally announced late Monday night. [Take a look at the timeline of events here]

According to TSN:
The deal, which sees Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust heading to Manhattan in exchange for Chris Higgins and Ales Kotalik, was reportedly held up because the Flames wanted Jokinen in the lineup for Monday night's game against Philadelphia.  Jokinen played just over 15 minutes, took three shots on net and finished at a minus-one.  Prust skated just over seven minutes.
It's believed that Calgary were the ones who held up the deal because they wanted Jokinen to play against the Flyers on Monday night. That seems a little bizarre because not only are you trading away a player that you obviously think is going to help you win a hockey game, you also risk the chance of that same player getting injured in the game and causing the trade to break down completly.

It's still unknown when Higgins and Kotalik will join the Flames team, but it is expected to be sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday. Meanwhile, Prust and Jokinen will be meeting up with the Rangers in Los Angeles this morning and will likely both be in the lineup tonight to face the Kings.

A look at the contract situations:

  • Ales Kotalik has 2 more years left on his contract after this season, each season for $3M.
  • Chris Higgins is currenty on a one year deal that pays him $2.25M this season, he'll be a UFA come July.
  • Brandon Prust who is in the final year of his two year contract, is making $525K this season and will be an RFA this summer.
  • Olli Jokinen is also in the final year of his four year contract, currently making $5.25M and will be a UFA this summer.
Bottom line, from a Rangers perspective is they got Ales Kotalik's $3M cap hit off the books for the next two seasons. If they decide to re-sign Prust and/or Jokinen then so be it, but Sather's primary purpose here was to get some cap space cleared in my opinion.

On a side note, to all of the Rangers fans who are still bashing Kotalik, drop it already. Glen Sather signed him to a contract which unfortunately turned out to be way more than he deserved. His time in New York was not successful (outside of maybe the first month of the season). However, think about how much worse this could have been. How would you feel if you found out that this deal collapsed because Kotalik refused to waive his partial "No Trade" clause? It was well within Kotalik's right to refuse to go to Calgary, but he didn't. In the end, I'm damn thankful that he decided to not enforce part of the contract that Sather must have been willing to sign just a few months ago. He's off to Calgary now where I wish him nothing but the best. There's no bitter taste in my mouth because I see the Rangers as the clear winners of this trade.

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1 comment:

j said...

He became a really easy scapegoat in recent days. A bad fit with this team, for whatever reason, but not exactly the lemon he's been made out to be. At the end of the day, NYR saves money, Kotalik maybe gets to play hockey, we (hopefully) stop pretending he was the sole reason the season is tanking. Everybody wins.