I wouldn’t expect you to cry any tears for former Senators defenseman Wade Redden, but his saga has continued to be a story as the lockout has unfolded. If you haven’t followed the story since he left the Senators, here is the coles notes version:
The New York Rangers signed the unrestricted free agent to a six year, $39M contract in the summer of 2008. The contract was ridiculed around hockey as it was widely thought that Redden had lost his edge and was no longer a premiere talent after struggling his last couple of seasons in Ottawa.
Redden’s first two seasons in New York saw even more decline in his game than he had shown in Ottawa
For the third season of his contract, Redden was assigned to the Connecticut Whale of the AHL, where his $6.5M cap hit would be buried and not count against the Rangers NHL salary cap
Many people expected Redden just to retire rather than ride the bus in the AHL, but to his credit, he took the demotion in stride (although the $23M left on the contract would tend to ease that pain)
He was named captain of the Whale in March 2012.
Now, Redden is in the middle of the lockout because by not assigning him to Connecticut before the lockout began, the Rangers do not have to pay him for the duration of the work stoppage. His situation is unusual, and just another example of ownership using loopholes to their advantage.
According to a Pierre LeBrun blog post on ESPN.com that brought my attention to Redden’s situation, Redden would still like to find an NHL job at some point, and if he can do it, it would be a bigger comeback than Sheldon Souray.
Is Redden a valuable commodity? Not at his current price tag, but surely there is a spot for a veteran like that, who sits 6 games shy of 1,000 in his NHL career.
I am not going to feel sorry for Redden, or call him a victim, and I can not confirm the persistent rumors that substance abuse was a factor in his decline as a Senator, but I respect what he did for many years in Ottawa, and I hope that the new CBA addresses the issue of burying contracts, and that he at least gets an opportunity to play another season or two in the NHL.