For as much bashing as Wade Redden has taken over his time on Broadway, you know, I have to say I honestly feel bad for him.
Not because he is making millions playing in the AHL, but because now he’s locked out of both the NHL and AHL.
Since Redden was demoted to the Connecticut Whale two years ago, he took it in stride and as a professional. Many insiders credit his leadership as the premiere reason why young stars like Michael Del Zotto and Ryan McDonagh play the way they do today.
But it seems that Redden’s patience is wearing thin, and in fact, he feels a little bitter towards the Rangers’ management for putting him in the position he is now.
“It is a pretty rare case, I guess,” Redden told ESPN.com Thursday from Kelowna, B.C., his offseason home. “My mindset now is that hopefully it’s written into the new CBA where stuff like that won’t happen or make it harder to happen so you get a guy, like, out of that situation.”
The “situation” he’s referring to is that he was stuck in Hartford of the AHL the past two seasons without any real options, a victim of the system. The Rangers didn’t want to count his $6.5 million against the salary cap after he struggled in the first two years of his six-year, $39 million contract. He has two years left on that deal, which was supposed to pay him $5 million this season and $5 million in 2013-14. But the Rangers, well within their rights, didn’t assign him to the AHL this season and therefore won’t have to pay him his $5 million salary during the lockout.
Now Redden isn’t able to play for the Whale or the Rangers. But he could possibly try to sign a one-year deal in the AHL so he at least gets to play:
Because he played in the AHL last season, Redden could sign an AHL deal just for the duration of the NHL lockout since the AHL added that criteria for players affected by the NHL lockout who played in the AHL last year.
And about that bitterness towards the Rangers: “I definitely have a sour taste in my mouth from how things went in New York,” said Redden.
Redden is very eager to return to the NHL. He said that he’s “35 now” and that wants to “get back in the league [NHL] and show what I can do.”
Don’t be surprised if a new “amnesty clause”, much like how it exists for the NBA, is included in the new CBA to prevent players from being stuck in a position like Redden.
He’s still trying to keep a positive outlook on life and his professional career, at least.
“I’m in a pretty good place right now. I’ve had a really good summer in terms of working out and I’m going to keep that up through the lockout,” he said.
He added, “I can’t complain; since I got sent down, I got two daughters, and everyone is healthy and happy. So there’s nothing really to be too upset about.”