Shhhh, don’t tell anyone in Rangers’ management about this. I happened across this top secret document on Craig’s List and traded my old Sega Genesis for it. I’ve done some research and I believe this is the only confirmed copy to escape the tight clutches of the personnel at 2 Pennsylvania Plaza.
For those of you that want to know the secret to Rangers’ legendary General Manager Glen Sather’s success, this is for you. Please, don’t share this sensitive information with fans of other teams. As Rangers’ fans, we can’t afford for this valuable piece to make it into the hands of our competition. If that were to occur our grasp on NHL supremacy will be compromised.
So without further adieu, allow me to present the following:
Glen Sather’s Guide to Becoming a Great General Manager: the New York Rangers Edition
Foreword: by Glen Sather
As I conclude my 47th season in professional hockey, one thing has become perfectly clear to me; I am still a freaking genius!!! Clearly, I am the greatest GM of all time. Sam Pollack, Jack Adams, and Harry Sinden all wish they could have been me.
Look at my track record. I won 5 Stanley Cups as President and GM of the Oilers in a 7 year span. I was the Head Coach for 4 of those. I am a Hall-of-Famer for god sakes. Can anyone else in the modern era match that level of success? I think not.
But, as they say, all good things must come to an end. I am 66 years old and am thinking more and more of retirement. My second passion after hockey, hunting, is beckoning me more and more. I have to consider the probability that this may be my final season as President and General Manager of the New York Rangers.
However, my love for the Rangers is both great and enduring. I can’t bear to leave this franchise bereft of my abilities. As such, I have undertaken the composition of this guide to be a resource for whomever Mr. Dolan bestows the honor of this position upon. (Personally, I hope one of my trusted lieutenants from years past gets this opportunity. Say, what’s John Muckler doing these days? Or Ron Low maybe?)
Section I – Free Agency
The key to building a successful franchise is to be active in free agency. Who wants to draft top talent and then wait several years for them to develop before helping my team? Not me that’s for sure. No, free agency is the ticket my friend.
Look, we are in the largest media market in the U.S.; New York City. We have it all here: the nightlife; the money; the limelight. Who can refuse all of that?
It really is quite simple. The first thing to do is to identify the marquee names on the free agent market. Notice I didn’t say marquee players; I said marquee names. A marquee name is more important to possess than a marquee player. Big names sell tickets even if the player is well past his prime on the ice.
Once you identify the biggest names available in free agency, simply offer that player a ridiculous sum of money and an insane term; more than anyone else would even consider offering. It’s a simple formula but one that’s not always easy to follow. It isn’t fun being ridiculed by your fans, contemporaries and your employees. It takes big time courage to look beyond that and pull the trigger on that kind of mega-deal.
Take my epic signing of Wade Redden for example. Redden definitely had name recognition going for him. He was a drafted 2nd overall in 1995 and was a former all-star player in Ottawa. His game had tailed off considerably since the lockout which made him a perfect fit for the Rangers according to my free agency profile.
On the first day of free agency in the summer of 2008, I stepped up and offered Wade a contract several years longer with an annual salary far in excess of anything any other team was willing to offer. Bingo!!! Wade Redden was a Ranger!!! What a move I tell you!!! That’s how you do it!!!! I added the best puck moving defenseman on the market and all it took was just a tad more than 10% of my allowance.
Some of my other genius free agent acquisitions:
Chris Drury – One helluva penalty killer and faceoff guy. Who cares if his offensive production was left somewhere in Buffalo? He’s worth whatever I pay him and all I had to do was offer him $7 million plus over 5 years and Drury was a Ranger.
Scott Gomez – A second line Center on an offensively inept team, Gomez had one very good season and that’s all it took to convince me; I was sold!!! Man, can this guy skate!!!!! He fit perfectly with Jagr and I got him for the low, low price of $7.3 million plus for his 7 primest years. An absolute bargain. Say, what happened to Gomer; I haven’t seen his name in any of our box scores this season? Does he have a brother playing in Montreal? If he does, he must be pretty good. He’s put up a goal and 4 points in 4 games against us.
Donald Brashear – Some would point to my inconsequential signings of RW Marian Gaborik or C Vaclav Prospal as my finest offseason moves in the summer of 2009. Not a chance. Who was going to protect them after all; Colton Orr?!?!? Orr can’t skate or do anything of value on the ice other than fight. No, the Don was available and I jumped all over that to a tune of 2 years and $1.4 million per. Money well spent I say!!!
It doesn’t matter that the last two Cup champs built the foundation of their teams through the draft. That’s just a fluke, you’ll see. Free agency is the way to build a winner.
Section II – the Trade Market
Because of this newfangled and completely unnecessary thingy called a “salary cap,” I can’t just throw cash around like Adam “Pacman” Jones at a strip club. In the rare and unlikely event I make a mistake in free agency, I might be required to make a deal in order to clear enough cap space for me to jump face first back into my favorite activity as GM; FREE AGENCY!!!!! The hardest part in deal making is to find a trade partner that values the player as much as I do. Its phenomenal how often I attempt to engage one of my peers in negotiations and they just hang up the phone or send my call directly to voice mail. Of course, I understand; I am the smartest man in hockey and they’re just worried I will swindle them in any trade.
Fortunately there are other GM’s almost as smart as me. For example, I needed a boatload of cash to sign Brashear, Kotalik and a couple of other anonymous guys this offseason but I had this damn salary cap looming over my head. My good friend Bob Gainey needed a # 1 Center and called me asking about one of my players; some stiff whose name I can’t even recall. I think he was a draft choice of the previous GM or something. Of course that same GM had given this player a huge contract that hamstrung me. I know it had to be my predecessor because I never spend money on a worthless player.
Anyway, I had to take some of Gainey’s garbage (a couple of no-name, minor league defensemen) and a great young forward (Chris Higgins) in order for Gainey to take that player whose cap hit was crippling my team. Darn fool of a GM who committed my valuable cap space to some loser!! Hey, now that I think of it, the guy I traded to Montreal kind of resembled Scotty Gomez!!! (Man, I gotta call Torts and find out what the heck happened to Gomer.)
It definitely wasn’t easy but you can’t be afraid to make those types of decisions when building a team. Players like Brash and Kotalik don’t come available very often so it is crucial to master the art of the trade in the event you need to clear some cap space. Everything, including trades, is just a precursor to the franchise-building main event: FREE AGENCY!!!!
Section III – The Draft
The draft is a complete waste of my time. I have better things to do than scout kids that will likely never play in New York anyway. Man, if I was only allowed to trade draft picks for cap space then I wouldn’t even bother with the draft.
Anyway, it is part of the job so I have to cover it. For me, the best thing to do is also the easiest. I just let one of my minions run the draft. In a way, it’s almost like I’m running my own charity organization. I employ a bunch of scouts and pay them to travel around the world watching kids that I’ll never see in the NHL play hockey. Then I waste money on those players that my minions draft. Hey, just call me a philanthropist.
As long as my employees handle the draft and all that nonsense, it allows me more time to spend on FREE AGENCY!!!! Let’s be frank here, you don’t get players like Ryan Callahan or Brandon Dubinsky in the draft. You sign them as free agents like I did this last offseason. I can’t believe my good fortune that they were both available this offseason. Man, I am good!!!
Section IV – Cigar Smoking
This is the most unheralded part of the job. As I sit high up in my luxury box, I look so smart chomping on my Cuban cigar. The look is probably the most important characteristic of a successful GM. My look is the best in the NHL and that is the main reason I am the best GM in the NHL.
You may not like smoking, you may even believe that it isn’t healthy for you. Well, I suppose you don’t actually have to smoke it. You could just put it in your mouth and chew on it like a toothpick. The look is by far the most important part anyway.
Well, that about sums up the tricks of the GM trade. Now naturally I didn’t write down all of my secrets. I’ll need those when, in my role as President of the Rangers, I fire you and install myself back in the GM chair sometime after I tire of hunting every day. I figure you’ve got about 12 – 18 months on the job before I come calling to take back the gig I was born to do.
- Glen Sather
This was purely fictional. To my knowledge, Glen Sather has never written down his tricks of the GM trade. I pray that if one of these does indeed exist, that Mark Messier or anyone else who may ever be a candidate to one day manage the Rangers, never sees this.