Friday, November 12, 2010

Real Reason Behind Byers Trade; Redden For Captain?

With the trade of Dane Byers yesterday the Rangers not only gave up one of the leading scorers for the anemic offense in Hartford, but also the captain of the club.  Maybe it was a message to the club about the dysfunction that is going on down there and a statement on the leadership Byers was or wasn’t showing to help them get out of it, but I don’t really buy either of those.  Byers was always seen as one of the most stand-up guys in Hartford and ever the willing guy to stick up for a teammate when he deemed it necessary.

The biggest reasons I can see are the most obvious ones to me which are the Rangers poorly managed the number of veterans that are either already on or could be headed to Hartford in the near term and Byers was about to reach the veteran limit in terms of service time adding another.  In trading for Kolarik the Rangers do get a center which Hartford needs, a playmaker which they also need, but it feels as if the main reason was they also get a guy who has less games under his belt at the professional level and thus have an extra veteran slot.  I don’t believe Byers was ever going to get a shot in this organization to be a consistent NHL player so attempting to get someone in Hartford who might or at least fills their needs is not necessarily a bad thing, but in a locker room and environment as dysfunctional as Hartford has been trading the guy given the C doesn’t seem like the best idea.

With Byers being gone it leads to the obvious question of who will be the leader of the pack and get the C on his sweater.  The two Assistant Captains this season have been Kris Newbury and yes, Wade Redden.  As much as he is despised in New York and around the world by Rangers fans for his awful contract Redden would not be a bad choice to “lead the pack” as he can bring a sense of stability and been there before to the team in good times and bad.  Redden has plenty of experience wearing a letter as he spent 9 years in Ottawa with an A on his chest and being the Captain for the young players, especially on D, can help them in he will take the scrutiny for the poor play, which he is certainly used to after his years here. 

Say what you want about Redden’s contract and even his play in New York but you cannot say that Redden was ever a bad guy and it has been said that since being in Hartford he has been doing a lot of teaching and mentoring with our young defensive prospects.  In the end for Redden it will be that work that proves more valuable to the players and this organization than if he takes the C after the departure of Byers, but I believe him being granted the Captaincy of that dysfunctional ship, but maybe it can smooth some of the waters for the young guys that just need to survive without being tossed overboard.  Young leadership will need to develop along with consistency from the coaching staff in order for anything to really change there, but Byers has been deemed the sacrificial lamb and the best way to save the rest might be to give Redden the crown.