Sather has done a great job in NY. Everyone says Maloney this, Maloney that. Maloney was here in 1997 during the Neil Smith era. He was here at the beginning of the Sather era as well. When Sather got here, the team was a mess. The farm system had nothing.
Then he started building the farm system while putting a team of overpaid millionaires on the ice to keep people coming to the arena (probably under Dolan's orders). Soon when the farm system started to get stocked up with quality prospects the lockout hit. The season before the lockout Sather knew it was time to start rebuilding and moving on the next phase so he traded away all of the overpaid bums (Leetch excluded from the bum statement ) that we had for picks and prospects. He also aquired Jaromir Jagr whom he would build the 1st phase of his rebuilding structure around. After the lockout concluded the Rangers had a completely new look and eventually turned into what we have today.
I still think Sather, not Maloney was largely responsible for what is here today. If Maloney was so much involved in this team then he would still be here. However, the Rangers let him go without any fight and guess what? Messier isn't here as of yet either. So this wasn't a big plot to get Messier here as AGM. Sather is the kind of GM that relies heavily on his scouts for the most part in the drafting game. We have some of the best scouts in the game. Sather knew who he was hiring. He built the Edmonton dynasty, he knew what he was doing.
I can't wait until two years from now Cherepanov comes up, Staal's here full time, Jagr's still here, Lundqvist will be starting to hit his prime. This team will be scary. If Prucha is still around he'll be starting to get to his prime, Callahan, Sauer will probably be here, Avery will be in his prime, Girardi will be even better. Just wait, I can see this team winning the cup in two years.
I really hope Jagr is still here, but I doubt it.
Call me a pessimist, but I think there's a 50% chance he's gone after this year, and almost certainly gone after '09.
To give credit where credit is due one only has to look at the pure stupidity of the other GMs staring with pick #4. The credit to Sather is that after being rebuffed in his efforts to move up to pick this kid in the 1st place is that he read the market condition for this kid correctly. Sather is a great poker player and he just sat there nd let the kid for into his lap. As others have pointed out, all anyone had to do was to to the kid's agent but obviously few did and those that did obviously didn't take the agent at his word.
Slats has done an excellent job at bring in the right people that completely revamped this organization. Few around here will acknowledge that fact. The key now is with Maloney gone and Tim Murray another likely departure will be his ability to fill those slots with similar talent. Personally I would like to see Gordie Clark as the AGM and Tim Murray staying and taking over as Chief Scout.