Scouting The Deadline Part 3: Identifying Trade Partners And The DealJanuary 27, 2012, by
As we roll into the trade deadline, rumors are going to be appearing from every possible angle. Aside from judging the source (note: HFBoards is not a source), there are a few ways to tell if a rumor is legitimate or if it is just someone blowing hot air. This Scouting The Deadline series is going to be a three part series where identify and analyze the three key steps in the trade process. Today is the third and final post, and it will address identifying the ideal trade partner and that perfect deal. All three posts are now permanently pinned in the brand new GM Tactics page.
In the first two posts, we identified where the Rangers have a surplus (defensive prospects), and where they have a need (top six LW), and where other teams need help (Ducks – defensive defensemen, Coyotes – offense). We also identified what exactly the return should be for specific types of players. The key to building a successful trade is identifying where those needs for the Rangers coincide with a surplus for a trading partner; and where those surpluses for the Rangers coincide with a need for a trading partner.
This again brings us back to the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks, as mentioned above, have a big need for a defensive defenseman. Between Cam Fowler, Francois Beauchemin, and Lubomir Visnovsky, the Ducks are set in terms of blueliners that can contribute offensively. But outside of Toni Lydman, they lack that pure defensive defenseman who is capable of playing top-four minutes. The Rangers have that in abundance, with a few more on the way.
Focusing on Bobby Ryan for a second (again, I know, you must be tired of it), he fills a big need for the Rangers, and the Rangers definitely have the pieces to acquire him. While the rumored asking price is two roster players, a prospect, and a first round pick; the more likely asking price is one young roster player, one prospect, and a pick. The quality of the prospect and the quality of the pick will be determined by the quality of the roster player.
Backing away from the Ducks for a second, let’s look at the Phoenix Coyotes, who we identified have a big need for a scoring prospect. The Rangers have three big names that can fit that bill: Chris Kreider, JT Miller, and Christian Thomas. While Kreider is unlikely to be moved for any of the players on the Coyotes roster, including Shane Doan, someone like Thomas sure is intriguing to a team like Phoenix. That said, when you look at the Coyotes roster, it is tough to really find a player that jumps out at you as a guy you are willing to move Miller or Thomas for. These guys won’t be moved for rentals, as discussed in the second post in this series.
It is due to this lack of intriguing options on the Coyotes that makes any potential deal with them to be less of a blockbuster type and more of a rental for spare parts type. With so many defensemen becoming free agents, a prospect who is not as high on the Rangers depth chart (see: Valentenko, Pavel) could be equally as attractive for the Coyotes. They aren’t a perfect match, but there is a deal to be made there for a rental.
It’s never quite as simple as throwing names up on the board and saying that the deal works, but right now we have identified two teams that seem to be good trading partners, and have the tools to make it work. Now it’s a matter of identifying that perfect deal, which takes us back to knowing what you want for your assets.
“The Deal” here is not going to be top prospects or young roster players for a rental. That doesn’t fit the Rangers M.O. anymore. So you can eliminate any worries of Thomas for Whitney, or Kreider for Whitney, or Kreider for Hemsky, etc. But if the organization feels they can make a run –and every sign points to them looking like they can– then the powers that be might look to deal one of these top prospects to fill a need. After all, hockey is about winning Cups and using assets to build that Cup contender.