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07-19-2004, 04:30 PM
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You need veterans to help the young guys, as well as keep your team somewhat respectable. I don't get why some people think "rebuilding" means you put your best 18 prospects out there. Bottom line is most of our young guys are not NHL ready, and bringing them to the big show now will only hurt them in the long run.

It is better to sign a veteran or two and let the young guys who are ready play the roles they are best at, than it is to sign no one and let your prospects get embarassed every night. In certain cases, taking playing time away from a young player is the right thing to do. If your young guys aren't ready to make the jump, you need a veteran to fill that hole and the young guys can develop further in the minors or juniors.

For example, it's amazing how some people think Montoya or Blackburn can start for the Rangers. Both are atleast a year away from even being able to play at the NHL level...Montoya because of his age and Blackburn because of his health/lack of playing time. The right thing to do is let some combination of Dunham, Valiquette, Labarbera or a UFA get you through the next couple of years until Montoya is old enough to take on this challenge, or Blackburn is again sharp enough to play at this level. Look at Lehtonen... when the Thrashers drafted him in 2002, he was probably the best goalie they had in the organization. But they let guys like Nurminen play, they signed Dafoe for better or for worse. Now, 2 years later Lehtonen has developed in the minors and juniors and is poised to start playing regularly in the NHL.

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