Here is the 3rd installment of our expanded NHL Trade Deadline coverage. We’ll be posting team outlooks leading up to trade deadline over the next couple weeks from a variety of contributing writers.
In an era of armchair video game General Managers, it’s hard not to pick through every trade rumor with a fine-toothed comb to improve your team’s “overall” rating by lobbying for any player you believe would be an upgrade. This of course does not take chemistry into consideration, and with the New York Rangers building towards contention, it may be best to leave the roster alone. At the all-star break the team sits atop the Eastern Conference in points, and has the highest winning percentage in the NHL.
When the New York Rangers’ CEO James Dolan appeared at the podium before reporters after a win against the Nashville Predators a short time ago, he explained that he and General Manager Glen Sather’s plan was finally coming to fruition.
“In 2004, things weren’t going so well,” Dolan explained hitting the nail on the obvious head. “We decided to re-do the strategy… It’s all about the system that [Glen Sather] built. It’s about the farm system, and the scouting system and development. It’s about going with the kids, and sticking with that philosophy.”
Needless to say, when the man signing the paychecks starts buying into the team philosophy, it seems like an awful idea to betray what has gotten the team this far.
The Rangers are however, not without holes. The most glaring problem is their power play (or lack of). The signing of Brad Richards was supposed to eliminate the albatross of a powerplay that has plagued this organization for years. It may be correlated to the coaching, and the strategy in place, but a minor move may come down near the deadline if the powerplay continues to struggle.
A player like Ryan Smyth for the right price may solve a few issues the team currently has. With Brandon Dubinsky struggling to get his name on the score sheet, and second top-6 left winger may put the offense into elitism. Smyth has made it very well-known though that he loves Edmonton, and would like to be there for the foreseeable future.
Don’t be surprised to see the Rangers make a move for a veteran winger if he could be had for very cheap. Roster players, and top prospects seem to be off-limits, and rightfully so. The Rangers do not want to dig themselves into another decade long hole as they have done in the past.
The Rangers can also comfortably add salary at the deadline. They have a dead weight contract in Wojtek Wolski, who can be burried in the minors or shipped out giving them the flexibility to add almost any salary for the rest of the year
Truthfully there is no singular talent out there that would make sense for the Rangers to sell the farm to get. Especially with some top-flight players potentially heading to free-agency this upcoming off-season. A minor move makes the most sense for the Rangers, a-la last year’s 7th round pick for John Mitchell.