Fairness in the game of hockey constitutes two things: a team giving a player a set amount of money and that player living up to the salary he is being paid.
For the last two seasons, Wade Redden has been the epitome of a contractual disaster. The contract he was signed to was for six years at a total of $39 million. This move not only handicaps the team to this day, but it also worsened Glen Sather’s already unraveling reputation with Rangers fans and hockey writers around the league.
Fans shudder at Redden’s name.
He has been invisible on offense, marginal on defense, and his physicality has been virtually nonexistent.
In 156 games, Redden has a grand total of five goals and 35 assists. For the students of the game out there, that is less than the amount of points scored by the hated Tom Poti in a single season, for the Rangers in 2002/03.
That said, it would seem that the Rangers have every right to waive Wade Redden, and it has been discussed all over the web since Glen Sather said in an interview that it was not out of the question. In fact, it is almost certain that Redden will be banished to Hartford, and being that he is 33 years old and at least four years away from becoming a free agent, this would basically spell the end of his career in the NHL.
But do the Rangers have the right to do that?
Economically, and looking at it from a business standpoint, absolutely. But looking at it morally? That’s where it gets icky.
I am all for the Rangers getting rid of Redden in any way, shape, or form they can, but in a way, I feel bad for the guy.
No one put a gun to his head when he signed the most lucrative contract of his career, even though he probably knew himself he was not worth it. Whether you blame him, Sather, or both, that is immaterial. The fact is, waiving Redden would end his career.
I wish there would be a trade suitor out there for him, but that is almost impossible. It would have to be waiving, and there would be no chance to recall him because should the Rangers try it, a team could nab him on re-entry waivers and leave the Rangers on the hook for half his salary, an amount he is actually worth.
If Redden was making $3 million a season, fans would not be angry. They may not love him, but they could tolerate him.
Sure Redden would still be playing in Hartford and raking in the cash, but for a player who has been in the NHL since he was 19 years old, he has only known life in the NHL. He has never once been sent down to the minors in his career spanning 13 NHL seasons and 994 games.
Here would be a veteran riding a bus with kids and getting coached like a child when he deserves a little bit more than that. Obviously he is not worth the money, but he is still an NHL-caliber player, and on this Rangers defensive corps, is good enough to have a spot in the top-six.
It’s too bad the CBA does not allow for teams to shave a players salary in half after a certain number of years, because if that were the case, he would still have a job.
Redden’s career has been one that deserves recognition, not disgust, but unfortunately, that’s how it may end come September. I do hope that as much as Ranger fans and management have grown to dislike him, the situation will still be treated professionally and Wade treated with dignity. All NHL veterans deserve that, and Redden is one of them.