Monday, August 2, 2010

Sather Does It Again: Trades Brashear & Rissmiller

The speculation started late last night when Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune posted on Twitter that the Atlanta Thrashers had traded center Todd White to the New York Rangers. The rest of the trade was not announced until after 10am this morning, so that left Rangers fans speculating who had been sent the other way. Many thought that defenseman Michal Rozsival had to be part of the deal and that it was a cap space clearer for the Rangers. I had a gut feeling right away that Rozsival would not be part of the package. However, I wasn't expecting the players that were involved.

The Rangers acquired Todd White in exchange for Donald Brashear and Patrick Rissmiller. Pretty much immediately after the trade it was reported that the Thrashers were placing Brashear on waivers with the intention of buying him out tomorrow if when he clears.

As many of you probably know, since Donald Brashear had signed his contract when he was older than 35, his contract for next season was going to count against the Rangers cap regardless of whether or not he actually played in the NHL or AHL. So, if Brashear stayed in New York and played the entire season in Hartford as was the plan barring a trade, the Rangers would have had $1.4M counted against their salary cap.

That was not the case for Rissmiller who has only played in two games for the Rangers in the two seasons since he signed that three year, three million dollar contract to leave San Jose. He has spent the majority of his time since signing that contract playing in Hartford and with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL. Rissmiller has only one year left and then will become a UFA. He'll get a shot at cracking the Thrashers lineup.

Todd White is a $2.375M cap hit if he plays in New York next season. However, the Rangers also have the option of sending White to Hartford and alleviating themselves of that money off their cap. Although White is 35 now, he signed his current contract prior to his 35th birthday. There are several reasons why White may not be destined to Hartford this season. Despite the fact that he is 35 years old, two seasons ago he had 73 points (even if that was playing alongside Kovalchuk). White also has a history with Marian Gaborik, playing in Minnesota for two seasons prior to going to Atlanta. The question is, will the Rangers have the cap space to give White a shot at making the roster and are the Rangers willing to take away yet another spot in the lineup for a young player to get some decent NHL minutes.

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