When the offseason began there were a few issues that New York Rangers General Manager Glen Sather had to dead with. One of those issues was what the Rangers were going to do with Donald Brashear. Last year, Brashear was one of the Rangers bigger free-agent signings, with the expectation being that he was going to be able to protect the newly-signed Marian Gaborik and the rest of the team.
Needless to say, that never happened. Brashear found himself getting injured after nearly every fight, and spending more time off the ice rather than on it. Brashear only played in 36 games (registering one assist in that time period) and ended up getting waived at the end of the year. Unfortunately for the Rangers, Brashear's two-year $2.8 million dollar contract was a 35+ year-old deal, which means that his $1.4 million cap hit remains under any circumstances.
After he was waived Brashear made some negative comments about the Rangers and Sather made it clear that his time as a Ranger was over. So this season Sather started looking at options to remove Brashear's $1.4 million cap hit, and the only route he could take (aside from a buyout) was a trade. Luckily, he found a suitor in the Atlanta Thrashers, and Sather shipped Brashear and Patrick Rissmiller to the Thrashers for Todd White.
White, a 35-year-old center (who also pivots as a left wing), is coming off a relatively disappointing year in which he put up seven goals and 19 assists for 26 points in 65 games. Two years ago, however, he scored a career high 73 points, notching 22 goals and 51 assists in 82 games.
White only has one year left on his contract, which will see him register as a $2.375 cap hit for the Rangers. The real key within this move, though, is the ability to drop White to the minors without facing any cap consequences. White, who will probably fight for a left wing position in training camp this year, will be a versatile forward that the Rangers can utilize in a bunch of different ways.
A lot of what we will see from White this year will be based on how impressive he is in camp and how coach John Tortorella decides to use him. Regardless of what happens with White (even if he is sent to Hartford) this move was a no brainer. At worst the Rangers can remove his cap hit. At best he is a cheap acquisition who will be a veteran presence on a young Rangers team this year.
White is a veteran of 43 NHL playoff games, registering eight goals and three assists for 11 points in those games. While those numbers don't exactly blow you away there is no doubting that it's valuable to have a guy who has "been there" in the locker room. When the long grind of a season begins to wear on a team, and frustration beings to set in, it's good to have veterans in the locker room who can steady the ship.
Regardless this was another no brainer move for Sather.
Glen Sather's final grade on the Todd White trade: A