New York Rangers: Definitive Blue-Print for Michael Grabner’s Future

The New York Rangers saw Michael Grabner score his 24th and 25th goals last night. The goals sparked discussion of whether or not New York should sell high on Grabner, or take advantage of his scoring for their own success. It’s definitive blue-print day here at Blue Line Station, so let’s take a look at the definitive blue-print for Michael Grabner’s future.

The New York Rangers have a problem, and that problem is a solution. Yes, that makes sense, we swear. Michael Grabner is too good for the Rangers’ good. Yes, that makes sense, we swear.

Going into the season, Grabner was expected to be a bottom six player at best, scoring double digit goals if all went perfectly. Again, Grabner scored his 24th and 25th goals last night.

Now the Rangers are forced with a decision regarding Grabner. New York can sell high on Grabner at the deadline, keep him and leave him unprotected in the upcoming Expansion Draft, or trade him in the off-season.

Many want Grabner traded now to maximize the package in return for him, but that’s not the best plan. Here’s our plan for Grabner and the Rangers.

Step One- Field Offers for Grabner This Season

Yes, that contradicts the argument just made, but all offers must be fielded for all players. If the Winnipeg Jets offer Jacob Trouba for Michael Grabner straight up (they won’t) the Rangers must accept. When teams call offering ridiculous packages that favor the Rangers, the Rangers must always accept.

However, odds are the Rangers will not receive the right offer for Grabner. Moving Grabner for anything other than a sure thing would be a tremendous waste of talent and a tremendous waste of a key asset.

Step Two- Ignore the Expansion Draft at the Trade Deadline

One of the biggest concerns regarding keeping Grabner at the Trade Deadline is the upcoming Expansion Draft.

The Rangers will be allowed to protect seven forwards and three defensemen. Rick Nash must be protected and Pavel Buchnevich and Jimmy Vesey are exempt, leaving six spots for Jesper Fast, Michael Grabner, Kevin Hayes, Chris Kreider, Oscar Lindberg, J.T. Miller, Brandon Pirri, Matt Puempel, Derek Stepan, Mika Zibanejad, and Mats Zuccarello.

Hayes, Kreider, Miller, Nash Stepan, Zibanejad, and Zuccarello are all sure-things to be protected in the draft. That leaves Grabner on the outside looking in, the problem many are pointing to.

Hold on.

Step Three- Figure Everything out in the Off-Season

The New York Rangers are heavily in the market for a top four defenseman. Say New York buys out Dan Girardi as they are expected to do, that leaves a spot available for protection for a defenseman. In order to acquire that defenseman, it remains likely that the Rangers will have to move an NHL asset.

In the time before the Expansion Draft, plenty of names will be swapped around to avoid losing players for nothing. This is the time the Rangers must capitalize on.

While the preference is the Rangers trade none of the seven protected forwards listed above for a defenseman, the belief here is that New York will have to do so in order to get the player they want.

If that’s the case, a forward spot will open up for protection. Suddenly, Michael Grabner can be protected.

But say the Rangers do not need to trade a protected forward for a defenseman. Perhaps they feel strongly enough about being able to sign Kevin Shattenkirk, and/or they acquire a defenseman for a smaller package.

Then, New York can shop Grabner, Nash, and Stepan to teams with open forward spots for protection, and bring back the highest offer possible. New York would still bring in assets, be it for the present or for the future.

Step Four- Profit

We’ve covered all the bases. One option is Grabner gets traded in a theft at the deadline. Win for the Rangers. Another option is Grabner is protected. Win for the Rangers. Perhaps Grabner is dealt in the off-season for a variety of assets. Win for the Rangers.

In any of the plans, the Rangers are maximizing Grabner’s value. The only aspect left to consider is what to do with Grabner if he is protected in the Draft.

As we stated earlier, the Rangers have a legitimate shot to win the 2018 Stanley Cup Final. New York can keep Grabner as an own-rental, trade him for a player that can help them reach the promised land, or take it day by day during the season, knowing teams will always overpay for a player who recently dominated the NHL. There’s no downside in waiting and seeing.

For now, the Rangers have a brilliant speed-skater dominating opposing teams. Using this blue-print for Grabner’s future, let’s appreciate what we have here.

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