One of the things I love about hockey is the business behind the game, and the management of an organization. So when these rumors come out, I generally read them, and wonder if they actually make some sort of logical sense from a Rangers standpoint. There are two main rumors we have been hearing about lately. The first is an oldie, one that dates back at least two years in Brad Richards. The other one is relatively new one which stems from a Larry Brooks article which looks to be taken completely out of context by many around the interweb.
Starting with the new Tyutin rumor, because it’s fun to talk about the new one, Brooks states that the Rangers may have some interest:
The Rangers may have interest in re-acquiring Tyutin, a left-hand shot (who played the right side) with one more year at $2,843,750 remaining on his contract.
There is some logic here, in that the Rangers need a lefty defenseman on the third pairing. Columbus also has five lefty defensemen, Tyutin included, and just two righties. So from that standpoint, it makes sense for both teams to begin talking. But unfortunately, that is where the logic ends. Tyutin has been a healthy scratch from the Blue Jackets blue line for a few games this year, a blue line that really isn’t all that formidable after Rostislav Klesla and Marc Methot. Mike Commodore is struggling, and Jan Hejda is Jan Hejda. So if Tyutin can’t crack that lineup, why would he crack the Rangers lineup? Sure, I’d swap Steve Eminger (and his 0.2 GVT) for Fedor Tyutin (and his 0.5 GVT), maybe throw in a spare forward (not Alex Frolov, who seems to be playing better), but that’s as far as I’d go. Tyutin has the GVT edge, but Eminger has the hits and blocks edge (and by a significant margin too). However, considering the chemistry of this team, and the fact that Eminger is a blue-collar guy, does it make sense to give him up for someone who may not mesh with the club? There’s (minimal) logic for a deal like this, so let’s toss this in the “kicking the tires” category.
Back to this Brad Richards rumor, which has been the subject of many of my Twitter rants, this one makes tons of sense for the Rangers from a “win-now” perspective. If the Rangers are going to compete this season, they need a top line center, and Brad Richards is just that. However, looking at this from a Dallas perspective, unless the package blows them away, why would they trade him when they are in the thick of the Western Conference playoff picture? He is their leading scorer, one of their leaders, and plays a significant role on their team. They are hurting financially, but playoff ticket sales trump that of savings from dumping Richards (which isn’t much, because they will need to take some salary back).
Looking at what it would cost to acquire Richards, I think it’s best comparable to the Marian Hossa and Ilya Kovalchuk deals as a start. Remember, Dallas isn’t looking to deal him right now since they are winning. The general package for Hossa/Kovalchuk was a young roster player, a top prospect, a first round draft pick, and some salary pieces here and there to make it work. From the Rangers perspective, you’re starting with a package of Artem Anisimov/Michael Del Zotto, Evgeny Grachev/Ryan McDonagh, a first round pick, and probably some combination of Matt Gilroy, Erik Christensen, and maybe another piece (for salary purposes) for Richards plus a few spare parts to round out the dollar figures.
But let’s remember that Dallas isn’t looking to deal Richards while in the middle of a playoff hunt unless they get players back that help right away. So that probably means adding one of Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, Marc Staal, or Dan Girardi to the deal, with the pieces coming back from Dallas being slightly more valuable. Of course, that’s a significant overpayment for someone who is going to be a free agent at the end of the year.
These rumors are exactly what they are: rumors. The Richards deal, although it makes sense short term, is not consistent with the Rangers moves of the past five years (post-lockout). Big trades that sacrifice core youth have not been Glen Sather’s style recently. If I had to pick a rumor to believe from this, I would believe the Tyutin rumor because it’s more in tune with Sather’s specialty of late: low risk deals that address a need without sacrificing core youth. I don’t think Tyutin is the answer, but I’m not the general manager either.