New York Rangers: Moves the Blue Line Station staff wish NYR could redo: Part 1
These are the events in the past few years that the writers here at Blue Line Station wish that the New York Rangers never got themselves into over the past few years.
It’s Christmas day. You open all of your gifts, and while you love a lot of them, there are some that make you scratch your head and think, “why would they ever get me this?”
So you go to the store the next morning with a bag with your misfit gifts in one hand and your receipts in the other, looking to salvage what you can of these misfortunate items.
That’s what the team here at Blue Line Station has done. Yesterday we talked about the gifts or moves the Rangers should make in the coming months and now we are going to talk about the gifts or events that we wish the Rangers never endured.
John Williams: The Marc Staal Eye Injury
Since the whole Dan Girardi contract extension has been overdone, I am going to fix my aim on another Rangers’ defenseman. If I had my choice, I would return Marc Staal’s eye injury. On March 5th, 2013, Staal took a brutal Kimmo Timonen slap shot to his right eye, causing him to miss the rest of that season, half of the 2013-2014 season as well as causing permanent damage to his eye.
While he’s been able to play since coming back, Staal hasn’t been the same. His play has suffered over the past few years to the point where he was right next to Dan Girardi on the list of Rangers’ whipping boys.
It is unknown how much of a factor the eye injury still is to Staal, but one could imagine that it is still a factor, although his play has improved over the past year. The fact of the matter is this; not only was the injury a horrible setback for the Rangers, but it also has and will continue to negatively impact a good guy like Staal going forward in his life.
Tony Griffo: The Carl Hagelin Trade
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The move I wish the Rangers could take back is that of trading away Carl Hagelin. At the conclusion of the 2014-2015 season, the New York Rangers faced a quandary with the salary cap. So, in a move to try to keep under that cap, they traded away Hagelin an RFA at the time.
He was dealt to the Anaheim Ducks for Emerson Etem who had a smaller cap hit then Hagelin, but nowhere near as good a player. The trade was not well received by New York Rangers fans and to make matters worse, Etem was sent down to Hartford.
In January of 2016, insult was added to injury, as Anaheim dealt Hagelin to Pittsburgh for David Perron and Adam Clendening. The Rangers also made a trade that January, sending Etem to the Vancouver Canucks for Nicklas Jensen. Hagelin went on to win a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh and Nicklas Jensen is playing at Hartford of the AHL right now. I don’t have to ask who won these trades, do I? This is one that Glen Sather, Jeff Gorton and the entire Rangers fan base want back.
Brandon Cohen: The Injury to Michael Sauer
The Rangers moment I would like to return is Dion Phaneuf‘s career-ending hit on Michael Sauer. Phaneuf’s hit was not only dirty and irresponsible, but also caused a ripple effect in the Rangers lineup. Sauer filled the role of “defensive defenseman” for the Rangers, as well as playing on the right side.
Sauer was an up and coming defenseman that the Rangers badly needed, but because Phaneuf made a reckless play, his career ended and the team suffered. To compensate for the lack of Sauer, New York eventually signed Dan Girardi to a massive, misguided contract extension.
Perhaps if Sauer stayed aboard, New York would not have been able to afford, or would not have felt the need to keep Girardi on the roster. Sauer would have filled the homegrown defenseman role in addition to the defensive defenseman role. Michael Sauer should be in the Rangers top four today. Instead, he is out of the NHL.
Both the Rangers and Sauer deserve better than that.
George Ruggiero: Dan Girardi’s contract
Much of the griping about the Rangers’ defense and cap troubles could have been avoided. On February 28, 2014, Dan Girardi was signed to a massive six-year, $33 million contract extension. Later that year, fellow right-handed defenseman Anton Stralman signed a five-year, $22 million deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Stralman’s departure could be directly correlated to Girardi’s extension, as the cap space needed to sign both players was being taken up by one. Only now is the team seeing the consequences of this move. Stralman has become a key component in a strong Lightning defense, and Girardi’s play has worsened and digressed considerably. Now, I can only sit here and wish that the Rangers decided to stick with Stralman.
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