Last week during my musings, I briefly mentioned how some of these sites dedicated to spreading trade rumors don’t really see what makes our team successful on a game to game basis. More often than not they attach the Rangers to (supposedly) available players who don’t really fit our blueprint (i.e. Souray, Hemsky, Carter, etc).
Today I want to discuss some candidates who could potentially fit within our team concept; players who I think could succeed in our deep forechecking system and under a coach who demands that his players commit to back pressure.
Before I get started, I just want to reiterate that I still believe the Rangers can beat anybody with the personnel they currently have. I’m not opposed to standing pat at the deadline, especially since the demand for top six forwards will likely outweigh supply. However, should an opportunity present itself to acquire some depth, I might make a move if the price is right.
With that said, here are several players I think are worth working the phones for.
Dustin Penner – LW (6’4 240 lbs): The 29 year old is having a down year for the Kings offensively (11pts in 38 gp), but so is everyone else it seems on that roster. Prior to joining the Kings stifling defensive system, he typically averaged 25 goals a season for the Oilers & Ducks.
Penner isn’t going to solve our power play woes on his own, but having a big boy with a nose for the crease could help at least one aspect of it, especially against a team like the Bruins. I’m sure being on the last year of his contract ($4.2M) could motivate him if he gets a change of scenery.
Chad LaRose LW/RW (5’10 180 lbs): LaRose is more of a 30-40 point energy guy for the Canes and not someone with a lot of upside, but I think he’d fit given his ability to forecheck and work the boards. His plus/minus is ugly (-21), but his relative Corsi numbers (a good puck possession metric) puts him 3rd among Canes starters.
LaRose, who has one year left on his contract (at $1.7M), has 21 points thus far, which isn’t bad for a guy starting 43% of his starts in the OZ and only getting 14 mins/game. With the Maple Leafs also in the hunt for for a top six winger – and apparently willing to part with top prospects -pursuing a depth forward like LaRose may be the better play for us.
Dominic Moore – C/LW (5’11 185 lbs): Moore is a pain in the ass to play against. He’s one of those Avery-types who does all of the cheap BS after the whistle like bumping your goaltender, taking whacks at your limbs, etc, which invariably draws penalties. He’s pretty much no use to a non-playoff team like Tampa Bay.
Moore is a good skater, strong on faceoffs (winning 54% to date), and has some pop on offense on the cheap ($1.1M cap hit for around 30-35 points). He may not be physical enough for Torts’ liking, but he’d be an upgrade over someone like Erik Christensen.
Travis Moen – LW (6’2 215 lbs): Moen has typically been a 15-20 point role player, but this season he’s on pace to crack 30 points for the Habs. Whether or not he’s this season’s version of Brian Boyle 2010 remains to be seen, but finishing up a deal at $1.5M per, he could be worth a look. If anything maybe a guy like Moen could take Wolski’s place as a depth LW.
Kyle Quincey – LD (6’2 205 lbs): Quincey possesses some skill on the blueline for Colorado and can play the point on the power play. Though he doesn’t bring the howitzer that everyone covets, he is a good puck mover and is solid in his own end.
Quincey has been a work horse for the Avalanche, leading the team with over 22 mins a night. He is also good at blocking shots and is still only 26 years old. He is on the last year of his contract (at $3.1M), so an audition with a contender could be beneficial to both parties should the Avalanche fall out of the playoff picture.
So that’s my list, short and sweet. I know none of these names really have the appeal of a Doan or a Selanne, but until either of those guys give any indication they’re interested in being a traded, I will look elsewhere. As for what we’d be willing to give up for these guys? That I leave for you to decide. Let’s hear it…