In honor of the Glen Sather's recent trade for Wojtek Wolski, we are going to go through Glen Sather's best trades of his New York Ranger career. These might not have brought in the best players, but for what was dished out, these trades got back the best return.
5) The Wolski Trade: Yeah, this trade makes the list; although I will drop a disclaimer. This trade makes the list for the potential that Wolski brings to the table. If Wolski's Ranger career ends up being as short as Nik Zherdev's then I'll rescind this post, but until then I think it makes the list. The Rangers traded a declining 32-year-old Michal Rozsival (who started out this season red hot, but has been steadily declining since then) for a 24-year-old Wolski who was having an off year. The hope was that Wolski would find new life in a more offensive system and on a better team. Thus far he has a goal in three games, but he's looked pretty good in those games. Although the jury is still out, the Rangers did save $1.2 million in cap space for next season, and they traded a fading vet for a youth with tons of potential. This is a hell of a move in my eyes.
4) The Marc Staal Trade: OK, so Sather didn't exactly trade for Staal, but he kinda did. With the Rangers sitting with the 16th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft Marc Staal started to slide. When the Rangers brass saw that he was still available at 12th overall they knew they had to make a move to get him. So they hastily (they never did expect him to fall that far) put a deal together with Atlanta. The Rangers traded their first and second overall picks, for Atlanta's first round (12 overall selection) and took Staal. The two Ranger picks ended up becoming Alex Bourret and Chad Denny respectively. Bourett had a short stint in professional hockey, but never cracked into the NHL, he's currently a point per game player in the ECHL, and is no longer Thrashers property. (Incidentally the Rangers acquired him later on his career, but that's neither here nor there.) Denny can't even crack an AHL roster let alone making it to the NHL. So the Rangers make off like bandits here. Still, had the Thrashers drafted better (although the pickings were pretty slim from 12 on in the first round) it might have been harder to swallow. Still, the Rangers got Staal, and we know how that turned out. He's one of the premiere defenseman in the league, and he's only 24.
3) The Ales Kotalik And Chris Higgins Trade: It took me about an hour to figure out wether or not this trade was better than the Gomez trade or not. In the end, more came the Rangers way in the Gomez deal so it took second place. But that's not to say that this deal wasn't eye-popping in it's own right. Kotalik was a monumental bust. He didn't back-check, he didn't hustle, his shot was only useful when he used it from the point and his point shots only hit the net about 14% of the time. If you thought that was bad Higgins was even worse. Penciled in to be a reliable 20+ goal player, Higgins went his first 15 games without a goal. He would finish his career as a Rangers with 55 games played with six goals and eight assists for 14 points. That doesn't sound very appealing, but it was enough for Sutter. Sutter took both Kotalik and Higgins for Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust. While Jokinen was a bust as well, Prust (who was another throw away) has become a huge part of the Rangers team this year and is an integral part of the team.
2) The Scott Gomez Trade: When the Rangers signed Scott Gomez and Chris Drury to mega-contracts, Rangers fans excitement was evident. Neither player ended up living to their potential, but only Drury was signed with a no movement clause. So when it came time for Sather to dump some salary, Gomez was the only moveable contract. So Glen Sather traded Gomez for Christopher Higgins, Pavel Valentenko and Ryan McDonagh. The reason why this makes number two on the list, is for what the Rangers got back. Along with removing Gomez's cap hit (five years left at a $7 million cap hit) they also acquired Habs top defensive prospect in McDonagh. McDonagh is quickly becoming a rising star on the Rangers, and is making significant strides with them. And Valentenko (who was really a throw away in the deal) really impressed in camp and seems like he can be a starter at some point over the next few years. Higgins was a huge bust, but he was only signed to a one year deal, and traded at the deadline.
1) The Jaromir Jagr trade: This is not only Sather's best deal, it honestly might be one of the most lopsided deals in the history of sports. Sather traded Ansen Carter for Jagr straight up, and Washington agreed to pay half of Jagr's salary. At the time Carter was a 20-25 goal scorer, who might score 60 points. Jagr was an NHL superstar who went from a 100+ point player to a 70+ point player is Washington. You all know the story from here, Jagr goes on to have the best season in the history of the New York Rangers. His play singlehandedly ended the Rangers seven-year playoff drought, and he put the Rangers back on the map in terms of an NHL franchise. Jagr wouldn't bring the Rangers a cup, but he gave the Rangers a winning face for the first time in a long time. Want to know Carter's contributions to the Capitals? He spent just 19 games in a Capital uniform, scoring just five goals and five assists.