The most recent example of high-priced free agents not working out for the New York Rangers is still in the organization. Defenceman Wade Redden is now playing for the Connecticut Whale as the highest-paid player in the history of the American Hockey League.
Ranger general manager Glen Sather, a High River, Alta, native who admits to a weakness for "Western Canada players," signed free-agent Redden to a monster deal in which the former Brandon Wheat Kings star could pick up $31-million over the next five years while still playing in the minors.
Sather says the responsibility is entirely his - "That's part of the deal of being GM" - but adds that he remains baffled at Redden's astonishing demise as a player. Redden, after all, had once been kept by the Ottawa Senators over Zdeno Chara, whom they let go to the Boston Bruins.
When the Rangers discussed the possibility of signing Redden of Lloydminster, Sask., the belief was he could run the power play, kill penalties, provide that critical first pass out of a zone and score himself when necessary.
"We never saw any of that," Sather says.