New York Rangers’ Definitive Deadline Blue-Print for Success
With under a month remaining until the New York Rangers meet the Trade Deadline, expect flurries of trades to begin to happen. The Rangers may be a part of that wave, and it’s essential they handle this year’s Deadline correctly. Last year’s was a debacle with the acquisition of Eric Staal, but Jeff Gorton righted the ship some in the off-season.
Let’s take a look at the blue-print for blue-shirt deadline success.
Step One- Understanding Context-
It is essential that the Rangers understand where they stand in the NHL today. New York is on the precipice of being an elite team again, but they are not quite there yet. This can lead to desperate moves, which are nearly always the moves that hurt the most.
Last season’s acquisition of Eric Staal was made under the line of thinking that the Rangers were legitimate Stanley Cup contenders. Staal did not fill any hole on the roster, and the Rangers were not legitimate contenders anyway.
Predictably, the deal was a wreck and the Rangers bowed out early, having lost assets for a player they never needed. If New York deals for a veteran for the sake of dealing for a veteran, it will be Eric Staal all over again.
This year, New York has a chance to win the Cup, but the chances are not great. Even if the Rangers make some moves to increase those chances, in all likelihood they will not be able to catch up to the likes of the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.
That context is sorely needed when making acquisitions, as if the Rangers make “win-now” moves like acquiring expiring contracts for high assets, they will be shooting themselves in the feet once again. That brings us to….
Step Two- Avoiding the Monster Move-
Kevin Shattenkirk comes to mind here, as despite his contract expiring at the end of the season, the St. Louis Blues will be able to ask for the world for him. The Rangers will be tempted to give that up, as he is another example of a player that can be deemed the “missing link” when in reality the Rangers have plenty of roster issues.
Thus, the point of avoiding the monster move.
As Blue Line Station spoke about here, the Rangers have far too many roster holes to believe themselves an elite team this season. Acquiring Kevin Shattenkirk would be a nice move, but it would not remove the fact that the Rangers have at best two or three top six defensemen. That will be exploited by teams in the postseason, and the Rangers will have sacrificed assets for a player that will likely be available in the off-season.
No thanks. The Rangers must consider their roster when wheeling and dealing, which may mean….
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Step Three- Keeping an Open Mind-
Trading NHL players when in the midst of a Cup run is impossible for any team to get behind, but the Rangers must do so. Blue Line Station spoke to this line of thinking here.
It’s essential for the Rangers to gain assets, either to use for the ensuing off-season, or even in trades this Trade Deadline. The Rangers have far too many forwards to ignore the possibility of moving one or two or even three without losing their depth.
There can be simultaneous attempts to win now and attempts to better the future. That means no mortgaging the future, no mortgaging the present, and a willingness to consider any and all trades offered. As for what we would do….
Step Four- The Final Verdict-
The first trade would be Kevin Klein to the Edmonton Oilers for Eric Gryba. Whatever other pieces (minor assets or cash going one way or the other) can be included, but that’s the bulk of the trade. We discussed such a deal here.
The second trade would be Brandon Pirri and a mid-round draft pick OR a fringe-prospect and a mid-round draft pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Brian Boyle. We discussed such a deal here.
Next, Oscar Lindberg and a mid-round draft pick for Cody Franson. We discussed Franson’s trade potential here.
All other trades would be considered, but these would be the definitive moves we would like to make.
The final roster:
Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello
Pavel Buchnevich-Mika Zibanejad-Rick Nash
Michael Grabner-Kevin Hayes-J.T. Miller
Jimmy Vesey-Brian Boyle-Jesper Fast
Ryan McDonagh-Brady Skjei
Nick Holden-Cody Franson
Marc Staal-Adam Clendening/Eric Gryba/Dan Girardi
The Rangers will have the perfect four lines to compete for the Stanley Cup, a good enough defense to avoid having no chance, and plenty of assets moving ahead. Kevin Shattenkirk can still be signed in the off-season, and Dan Girardi can be bought out, with Kevin Klein already gone.
This team could win the Stanley Cup, but it would be difficult. 2018 would sure look promising though, and this season would sure be a lot of fun, still.