Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Why Sather Didn't Claim Mitchell Off Waivers Last Week

The Rangers lone move yesterday was to send a 7th round pick to Toronto for center John Mitchell. I honestly know very little about Mitchell beyond what I've been reading on the internet messageboards. It sounds like Mitchell is about the closest thing we can get to another Erik Christensen (enough said!). He's a decent sized center that is soft, is decent on faceoffs and not very good at much else besides scoring the odd shootout goal.

So, why did Sather give up a late round draft pick when he could've had him just two weeks ago off waivers for nothing? I'm not 100% sure, but I do have two educated guesses:

1. If the Rangers had claimed Mitchell off waivers he would either have to stay in New York or clear waivers to be sent down to the AHL. If Sather's intentions are to play Mitchell in Connecticut (as it looks like they are) then if he had claimed him in early February the Rangers would've had to put him back on waivers to get him down to the minors.

2. Sather didn't want to harm the Rangers waiver priority right before the deadline. In years past teams have dumped some decent players on waivers right before the deadline, usually for cap reasons. If Sather claimed Mitchell and the Rangers dropped their priority in the waiver order, then it could've came back to bite Sather had a better player been placed on waivers.

Either way, John Mitchell is likely destined for the Whale. Hopefully we don't have to find out why the Leafs fans mockingly referred to him as "Johnny Malkin." And, hopefully soon enough Erik Christensen will be down in Connecticut showing their fans how similar the two are. The last thing the Rangers needed was another soft perimeter forward.

But, at least Sather didn't make the mistake of overpaying for Brad Richards.

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