Hello, I am New York Rangers defenseman Wade Redden. For those of you who don't know, I was a 2nd overall draft pick by the Islanders in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. Since then I have played 11 NHL seasons with the Ottawa Senators. My career started well as a promising young offensive-defenseman. I scored 30-50 points in most seasons and my +/- usually hovered around +20. But the during the last two seasons my production dropped off. I still scored a lot, but not as much as I used to, and my plus-minus took a tumble. Of course, my team had a dissapointing loss to Buffalo in the Conference Finals two years ago, and an all out collapse last season. After tensions with my team, fans and front office, I felt it was best to part ways with Ottawa.
In the offseason i signed a big deal with the Rangers. Many people question that deal, but mostly because they don't know, or believe in what I bring to the table. Yes, i am overpaid, but every player in the league is. Maybe my contract is a bit too long, but I wanted job security, and in this market where quality players are in such high demand, I took advantage of it. Other teams offered me about as much as the Rangers did, so don't say Sather is crazy. Addtionally, the Rangers filled a large need by acquiring me and needed to pay a lot for it.
But more about me. Senators fans seem to blame me for last season's collapse. I tend to think Ray Emery was more to blame for his on and off the ice behavior. Once the goaltender position becomes weak, the defensemen tend to look bad. The entire team became unglued, so to speak, and it was all downhill from there. I could have done better, so the blame is partially on me, but I don't think a solid career and reputation should be knocked down by a couple of seasons. Of course, Senators fans are starved for a championship and I don't blame them for becoming frustrated very quickly. I just feel, and many objective people will agree with me, that I am a solid defenseman who bring a lot of offensive prowess to a team.
I get critisized a lot for my defense. In truth, it isn't all that bad. I play pretty well defending the puck, but my struggles really come when I get the puck along the endboards. The forecheck pressures me and I feel backed in a corner. It becomes hard for me to make a quick, good decision and that forces a lot of turnovers. But when the opposition has the puck, I play positionally sound hockey and don't give up a lot of chances. I am also a bit shaky in front of the net because its difficult to position with a lot of bodies in front. I guess I thrive in open ice. The power play is also my specialty. At the point, I can make good decisions, good passes and a darn good shot if I say so myself. I can carry the puck through the neutral zone well and create chances in that way.
I am not claiming to be Brian Leetch, he is in a league of his own. But like most offensive defensemen, I am not perfect on the back end. But the rangers didnt want me for defense because they have great guys like Staal and Danny who do that. They needed a guy who could start the rush and quarterback the power play. So yeah, I will mess up a couple times. But before you boo me, New York, remember what I am here for and what my role is, and evaluate if I fulfill that. For now, I am contributing and we are winning. Hopefully the success we are having as a team pleases you and don't doubt that we will try our hardest to keep it going. For the next six years, I am your man and I hope I can help this team be as good as it can be. And if we win a couple Cups while I am here, you may just have a #6 jersey hanging from the rafters, shaky defense nonwithstanding.
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Note: This article was not really written by Wade Redden