Musings: The Deadline Day Edition

February 23, 2012, by

Reasons to Trust Mr Sather: Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Ryan McDonagh, Mike Del Zotto, Mike Sauer. Thanks to Glen Sather and the Rangers scouting department this club has a wealth of depth on the blue line, with a fair bit in reserve. Note that top 5; all young and all have ability either side of the puck.

You may have noted the direction that first point was going in. Rick Nash. If the rumoured package for Nash does indeed include Dylan McIlrath you don’t let it break down because of his inclusion. I’m sure he’ll be a fine player but thanks to the depth discussed above, he’s a luxury the team can afford to move.

Christian Thomas in a Nash package as well? Also Fine. If Nash became a Ranger – and with Kreider deemed untouchable – not to mention Gaborik, Anisimov, Stepan and Callahan firmly entrenched in the top six (at present), Thomas becomes buried on the depth chart and like McIlrath is a luxury the team can afford to move. All thanks to quality drafting and patience in the organisation folks.

Assuming the Rangers current roster wants to show Sather, his staff and the coaching team no major changes are needed they’re sure going about it the wrong way aren’t they? Three poor games in a row, team wide poor decision making and once again an over reliance on shot blocking and a certain goaltender in net.

Dear Brandon Dubinsky, you must really like the thought of playing out your contract in Ohio. Hey, at least the rock and roll Hall of Fame is a short drive away. When the Rangers are trying to make the playoffs, at this rate you’ll be getting tickets to see Guns N Roses inducted. Buck your ideas up.

The Rangers made Marc-Andre Fleury look good the other night; far too much perimeter play. It’s one thing to get pucks on net but there really is no point if you’re not creating traffic, looking for rebounds and generally making a goalie’s night harder than Fleury’s.

Back to Deadline day thoughts: The Rangers do not need to address the defense. Even if Mike Sauer’s not particularly close to returning, the Rangers block shots, do a good job of allowing Lundqvist to see most shots and are better at moving bodies than most give them credit for. I’d rather use assets to upgrade the offense instead of trying to make a great unit even better.

I really want to know who has the final say on the powerplay. Tortorella? Obviously Allaire is in charge of the league’s best goaltending unit. Does Mike Sullivan assume responsibility? Is it shared amongst the coaching duo or do the ‘special assistants’ (guys like Messier) have a major influence? I know it’s hard to grumble too much given the team’s record but there is plenty of talent on the roster to at least have a top 15 powerplay unit. Maybe changes need to be made elsewhere. Maybe…

Gaborik has 4 goals in his last 20 games. He’s not finishing but he’s still playing well. He’s making plays, creating goals and getting assists. The lack of goal scoring may be because teams are zoning in on him now that goal scoring has begun to dry up elsewhere. Could a Nash-like addition free Gaborik up some more? Absolutely

Question Time

  • Are you vehemently behind keeping Brandon Dubinsky and his 6 goals for 4.2m?
  • Do you start Martin Biron against the Islanders or, given the team’s recent play, do you go ‘all-in’ to make sure you get a win (and go with the King)?
  • Do you think the Rangers make a major addition before the deadline?
  • Which of the top four defensemen on the current roster, not inc. Sauer due to injury, is the most expendable all things considered? (i.e. skill set, age, reliance, upside)
  • Can the Rangers win multiple playoff rounds without adding more scoring?

Food for thought: Despite the roster purge of 2003-04 and given the way the Rangers entire organisation has developed in the past five years, is this potentially the most fundamentally-changing deadline day in the Sather era?

Without question, the Islanders game is huge Friday night for so many reasons. Above all (regardless of deadline day potential) the team needs to avoid any losing streaks getting out of hand. Especially given how the Devils and Pens have been playing.

Final Thought: Antoine Vermette. Steve Downie. Their trades have nothing to do with the Rangers? Wrong. Brandon Dubinsky is better than both players. He also has more upside. Yet Vermette essentially got shipped out for a 2nd plus change while Downie got moved for a package that included a first round pick. When discussions about Nash come to a head Sather can point to these two players’ value in regard to Dubinsky and that could help establish a package for Nash – or any other significant trade. The Vermette and Downie deals have a massive knock on effect to the likes of Dubinsky. Any good GM will have taken note.


  1. Walt says:

    Good post, very much of a thought provoker!!!!

    As much as I love Dubi, the time may be here for a change of sceen for him, and the team. He plays with his emotions on his shoulders, but hasn’t produced much offensivly. He carries a very big contract for his production, and playing on the third line, way too expensive.

    The fact that the main young kids are being protected is great news. Kreider, Miller, McD, MDZ, should be Rangers for years to come. Thomas, Dubi, a first round pick, and possibly McIlrath for Nash seems to make sense, as much as I hate to say it. If that is the cost of a cup, well maybe we have to bite the bullet, and make the trade. I don’t like it, but that may be our best shot at a cup, so if the Bluejackest will make this move, let’s run with it.

    The one thing people aren’t talking about, and they should be, is the Devils, Pens, and Flyers are all within a shot of first place, and we could stand to loose home ice advantage to these teams. I would rather go into the play-offs riding a winning streak, Nash in the line up, with home ice, and Hank in net, now that is a winning combo!!!! Nash will take pressure off of both Richards, and Gabbi, like Neal is doing for the Pens.

    • mark says:

      We will all be sorry in a few years when McIlrath
      comes into MSG and becomes the next Scott Stevens.I understand that you have to give to get, but this kids is something the Rangers have lacked for a long time on defense. A position that is stacked (defense) could still use a big presence. I would not trade McIlrath or Kreider, everyone else, ok include them in the deal or make another deal.

    • redranger says:

      keep dubi and ship out either Gaborick or Arte dubi is a much better fit in torts system of play than arte. Don’t forget he led the team in scoring last as well as on and off the ice

  2. The Suit says:

    1. Been saying for months, I’d probably keep Dubi at least temporarily. I’d rather trade him when he’s providing more offense. It boosts his value on the market. A 20 goal scorer is worth more than a 10 goal scorer.

    2. Indifferent over who starts in net.

    3. If the Rangers make any moves, it will probably be moves for depth. There isn’t much of a supply of elite players on the market and there is a ton of demand. The cost is too high until other moves are being made.

    4. I wouldn’t break up the big four this season. Maybe down the road if McIlrath or Erixon impress.

    5. I think the Rangers can win multiple rounds depending on who they get matched up against.

  3. jerry says:

    chris..i think you hit it right on here..i have no problem with trading dubi,thomas,macilrath/or zucc,and a first..thats a great offer.macilrath is the hardest for me in that package but you have to give to get..or offer up zucc and delete mac.

    • jerry says:

      or take mac out and add erixon…

      • Chris F says:

        Yes, Erixson, for sure. Highly touted, I know, but he failed to impress during his brief stint with the Rangers this year. I don’t think he warrants the “untouchable” status.

        • Chris says:

          Very very few players are untouchable. As the million dollar man used to say: everyone’s got a price!

        • Blueshirt in Paris says:

          A lot of scouts, not just NYR ones, have Erixon as one of the top dmen prospects in the world. As much as I love McIlraths game he is not even in the same conversation

  4. Mark says:

    Unfortunately Dubinsky’s stock is probably lower than it’s ever been, but if he is the focal point of any trade that lands us a big time player I say pull the trigger.

    Start the King. The Islander’s are a team that has high aspirations and could albeit unlikely sneak into the playoffs. If they do they get us first round. I know we are head and shoulders better than them, but there is something about playing the isles in the first round that would get me a little more nervous than any of the other bubble teams.

    For the sake of the power play I hope they make an addition. I don’t know if it needs to be the big rick Nash splash, but something needs to be done. I like the Selane or Whitney idea, but if the package included Thomas, McIlrath or Erixon, and naturally Dubi for Nash… is say get that trade done. Keep Stepan, McD, Del Zotto… but any package of our prospects not named Kreider and this deal should get done.

    Out of the top 4 I think the most expendable would be Girardi. I know I am going to get killed for that, but Staal’s stock is way down back from a concussion and healthy he is a much better player than Girardi. Del Zotto and McDonaugh seem to be key fixtures on our Blueline and stay at home defenseman aren’t terribly hard to find. I AM NOT SAYING TRDE GIRARDI, just merely answering the question asked. I agree with Suit, this and next year are not years that we should move any main players on our blueline.

    It all depends on matchups. I don’t like going into a playoff round knowing the score will be close, anything can happen. A bad bounce, a bad call, a blown coverage. With some more scoring comes more wiggle room. Look at the Caps the past few years. Without their scoring depth they would have been ousted by us, a much lesser team.

  5. Chris says:

    Interesting how people
    Interpret questions; I wasn’t advocating splitting up the D now necessarily; just gauging who people feel would be most expendable…

  6. B.C. says:

    I would be all for shipping out Woywitka (or Bickel) and Wolski and maybe a high draft pick for Ales Hemsky, who apparently wants 4-5 years and is set to become a free agent in the summer (EDM doesn’t want to give him that contract length plus $). He is a goal scorer that maybe we can swap Wolski out for because we certainly will not resign him in the summer. The cap numbers more or less work out as well. A bit optimistic but Sather can do it. Thoughts?

  7. leatherneckinlv says:

    A little synopsis of what the Rangers could have looked like had they drafted better and made wise trades in the mid 70’s to 80’s.

    1975- Ratelle, Park and Middleton are not traded and Doug Jarvis is selected over Wayne Dillon.
    1976- Don Murdoch with the 1st pick, 2nd pick Randy Carlyle instead of Dave Farrish
    1977- Mike Bossy is selected over Lucien Deblois, Ron Duguay in the 1st round, 2nd pick is Rod Langway instead of Mike Keating
    1978- Fred Shero is not signed and we keep our 1st Pick and select Ken Linesman, 2nd pick remains Don Maloney
    1979- Brian Propp is selected instead of Doug Sulliman, Dave Christian selected over Ed Hospodar
    1980- Barry Beck trade still happens and we select Barry Pederson instead of Jim Malone, 2nd round we still select Mike Allison
    1981- Draft remains unchanged with the selections of James Patrick and Jan Erixon
    1982- We select Dave Andreychuk instead of Chris Kontos, 2nd pick remains Tomas Sandstrom
    1983- We select Jeff Beukeboom instead of Dave Gagner, 2nd pick we select Peter Zezel instead of Randy Heath
    1984- our selection is Kevin Hatcher instead of Terry Carckner, 2nd selection is Patrick Roy over Ramio Helminen
    1985- Our selections remain the same in Ulf Dahlen in the 1st and Mike Richter in the 2nd

    When you look at the names that could have been instead of what was it becomes very clear how drafting and wise trades are the way to build a strong team for years to come

    1975 the roster would have had Soetart and Davidson in goal. On defense we would have had Greschner, Maloney, McEwen, Park on defense. Forwards would have had the following players, Ratelle, Tkaczuk, Gilbert, Stemkowski,Eddie Johnstone, Vickers, Hickey, Middleton and Doug Jarvis instead of Wayne Dillion as a base. Fast forward to 1980’s and add the players drafted as well as these players who were on the club in Fotiu, Dore, Nilsson, Hedberg, Laidlaw, Kotsopoulos, Weeks, Ruotsalainen, Pavelich, McClanahan, Hanlon, Ftorek, Larouche, Brooke, McPhee, Kelly Miller and Vanbeisbrouck. How many Cups would this Ranger Organization have won?

    Potential 1985 Roster would have been

    In Goal- Patrick Roy and Vanbeisbrouck

    On Defense

    Beck and Ruotsalainen, Carlyle and Beukeboom and Langway and Laidlaw and Kevin Hatcher or Greschner


    Andreychuk, Larouche and Bossy

    Sandstrom, Linseman and Brooke

    Don Maloney, Pavelich and McClanhan

    Propp, Jarvis and Christian

    and Middleton, Erixon, Hedberg, McPhee, Dahlen, Pederson, Fotiu to change up the roster

    What my objective in writing this, is that building a team starts with drafting not trades and free agent signings. The assets are there for the right trades and Ufa signings. This team would have had one traded player in Beck and one key Ufa signing in Larouche. I hope we make no trades and continue on the path of growing from within. I would not mind the signing of Zach Parise because it wont cost us a deletion of assets like a Ryan or Nash trade would. So why sacrifice what the organization is doing now by drafting well to replace the very few short comings we have now?

    • leatherneckinlv says:

      this was also meant as a fun piece in alternate history and a glimpse to what can be. We have a focused Sather and Gordie now…stay the course

  8. leatherneckinlv says:

    In regards to your post the Rangers players are being targeted for trade rumors which also has an effect on the team in the form of distractions and gossip among themselves. As close as they are they must feel apprehension, tension and any other gambit of emotions solely due for the entertainment pleasures of writers and fans. I will worry about losing streaks after the deadline and not now. Have we lost more than 3 games consecutively all year? Are we still not holding the best record in the east? Have they faltered to the point of worry? No they have not and in fact demonstrated the opposite in consistency, resiliency, fortitude and desire

    • Justin says:

      Leather, I’m going to preface this by saying I fully understand that your post was simply a fun exercise in “what could have been”. With that said, there is nothing more than trivia to be gained by picking apart prior drafts and trades.

      When examining circumstances this way, you have the infallible benefit of hindsight. You can probably look back at the draft and find even the most successful teams could have swapped out picks that didn’t work out for current superstars. When these decisions are made, they are done with the best current information available.

      You definitely cannot use this method as a reliable foundation for advocating drafting and development as opposed to free agency and trades, because if it was that easy, everyone would do it. You completely ignore the context of those transactions; organizational need, window for contending, budgetary restrictions, preferences of management, etc.

      Trades and free agency are completely valid ways to construct a team as long as there is a foundation of drafting and development. If a team is build to contend perennially, it makes it difficult to gain access to marquee talent at the top of the draft, and thus must rely on finding diamonds in the rough with later picks. I love the blue collar foundation the Rangers are built on, but they need an infusion of skill. I’m not advocating one particular move (say, Nash v. Parise), but what I do know is, you cannot win the Cup without a healthy dose of skilled players. Unfortunately, drafting in the bottom 15 every year does not infuse the franchise with that type of talent.

      • leatherneckinlv says:

        That was in the 70’s and 80’s…what you say did not apply back then. Poor drafting is consistently demonstrated by the Rangers back then. And I would go so far as to say that it was also a way of appeasing the Esposito era and to try and justify a mistake made back then. I in fact also recall the uproar when those trades were made.

        • leatherneckinlv says:

          I do think a Parise signing is much better than a trading for Nash and to lose all those players on yes a gamble. ie Holik, Drury, Lindros, list goes on and on with players who came here and did nothing but get rich.

  9. Chris F says:

    What a depressing post…

    3 poorly played games. Dubinsky’s disappearing act. Horrendous Power Play. Gaborik’s declining goal scoring.

    You almost made me start to want Nash.

    *Snapped out of it*

    No major moves needed! If the Rangers falter and have an early playoff exit, so be it. I’ll take that if our future assets remain intact: Kreider, Thomas, Bourque, McIlrath, etc. along with the existing core of the current Rangers: MDZ, McD, Steps, Sauer, Dubinsky, etc.

    • The Suit says:

      liked the *snapped out of it*, silk tie

    • Chris says:

      It’s not depressing it’s factual. Gaborik isn’t scoring but I complimented his general play. Don’t pick just to make a point.
      The PP does stink! Fact.
      I even conplimented Dubinsky in relation to other players, conplimented Sather and the scouting department and said Mcilrath will be a fine player wherever he ends up… So I’m struggling to see how it’s a totally depressing post.

      I just don’t Live in cloud-coo-koo-land!

      • wwpd says:

        not sure if he goes or stays but regarding Dubinsky i fully expect GM will at least extract a value close to the player he thinks he has as the guy who got a 4 year $16+ million deal last summer, and not sell him at a discount just because of an off year. i think sather believes in Dubi which is why he got that contract and, for better or worse in the past we have seen that glen hasn’t given up on his big contract “mistakes” too easily. Dubinksy will be valued on the quality of a bounce back to form next year.

      • Chris F says:


        I wasn’t picking apart the validity of your assertions. The Rangers are in a bit of a slide; Dubinsky has been irrelevant as of late; the Power Play does stink; and Gaborik’s scoring has been down.

        But, in reading your post, I came away with a very gloomy feel for where this team is heading. And it made me second guess my gut instinct pertaining to Nash.

        All things considered, though, I have to still stand by my sentiment that no fundamental changes should occur to this team.

        I want to see the organization stay intact and on track and see where this goes over the next couple of years. I’m less concerned with a 2012 Stanley Cup championship than I am with a Rangers organization that competes at the elite level for years to come.

        I had my 15 minutes of glory in ’94, and it was followed up by a decade of heart-wrenching, frustrating ineptitude. I’m excited for this team for this first time in a long time. I think I speak for most Rangers fans in stating that we deserve a long-term elite squad representing our beloved city.

  10. Elynn says:

    I want to preface this by saying that I love, love, love Gaborik, he’s one of my favorite current Rangers, he’s not a prima donna scorer, he plays hard and is a class act/great teammate. That being said, he has a serious injury history and without his scoring talent we would be screwed. Rick Nash not only covers that this season, but he’s locked up for years to come and just entering his prime. These guys simply do not come along often, and Sather knows this, that’s why the NY Rangers have been in every Nash rumor for weeks now. Other than Dubi, I don’t think any current Ranger should be included, but after that this deal needs to be made. I know a lot of you guys want to stay the course and wait on the “potential,” but sometimes you have to bite the bullet and make the deal for the elite talent. This really shouldn’t be a debate, I’d even consider Hagelin and/or Mitchell in this deal. Growing a farm system is for two main reasons, building your franchise from within AND the ability to make a trade like this. It’s time for the latter in this instance, trades like this do not come around often and, as I wrote before, I think Sather knows it.

  11. Joe says:

    Trade erikson instead of Mcillrath ( Cant spell, sorry)

  12. sean says:

    Do we even know if Columbus wants dubi? This could all be talk hurting the guys play

    • Chris F says:

      It’s been widely reported that the deal that Columbus is asking for is Dubinsky/Krieder/1st Round Pick/MDZ or McDonagh.

      The report could be wrong. But its been phrased such that Columbus actually asked for those assets specifically.

  13. Walt says:

    When I posted this morning, I really didn’t expect this reaction at all. That stated, it is making all of us think out loud, and hopefully Slats reads some of the posts, because we have a very informed, intelligent fan base here, that have put out some great thoughts.

    We have a great core of players, and I must admit, the prospect of letting some of these kids go via trade sickens me. I get attached with this team, to a fault, and want nothing but the best for them.

    Letherneckinglv, your post about all the trades, drafts, etc., is the reason I am gun shy about trades at this time of the year. Over the time I have followed the Rangers, some of the worst moves in history were made, for washed up, re-treads, who never played worth a damn. Let’s hope that is in the past, long past, and whatever moves made work out for us.

  14. kgb16 says:

    I’d trade Dubi for P.A. Parenteau, a nice little piece the Rangers let slip away, if the Islanders signed him to a lower number than $4.2 mil

  15. The Suit says:

    Brooks is reporting that Sather will not trade Kreider, MDZ, McDonagh, or Miller for Nash.

    No mention of McIlrath. Interesting…

  16. Mike B says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you… very insightful blog. I don’t understand people saying that the Rangers shouldn’t go after Nash. Really? The guy is 27 years old and…wait for it…is an established superstar! If all you have to give up is Dubi, a prospect and a pick or two…jump on that ship and start sailing. Dubinsky played right to his potential last year and is playing well below it in the first year of a deal that pays him $4.2mm annually. Yeah, but he’s great in a room, you say? Is there some kind of report out there that Rick Nash is some kind of locker room cancer? Nash is a huge upgrade over Dubinsky, because he has the PROVEN ABILITY to score 40+ goals, like you said, would free up Gaborik to be the silent assassin that he is known to be, and would fit well in Torts system of responsible play while going for it when it’s available. I read somewhere that some think that there won’t be enough touches for Richards, Gabby and Nash if they are all on the same team, that’s a bunch of BS. Here’s what adding Nash does. He gets put on a line with Richards, what is Richards, a playmaking center, what has Nash never played with, a PLAYMAKING CENTER! That’s why Columbus went out and got Carter, remember everybody saying how great it was going to be for Nash this year because he had never played with a Center who could match his skill. Well, Carter wasn’t that kind of player so he did not work out with Nash, but you know what, Richards is exactly that kind of player! If Nash is a Ranger, in his first full season playing with Richards (as long as Torts doesn’t screw with the lines too much and lets them gel) he pots at least 40, probably 50 or more, and you know what, that opens up Gabby because opposing teams don’t know who to focus on each night and he probably pots another 40. This is a no brainer. As long as you only have to move one player off the current roster because you don’t want to mess with chemistry too much, get the darn thing done. As for the money, that can be worked out too, and don’t forget, the CBA is up this year and money may not be as much of a factor as you think.

    • Chris.C says:

      What a bunch of Crap. Think i read that somewhere also about Richards and Gabby. 40 or 50 + more trash. leave it at the road.

      • Mike B says:

        Adding Nash creates huge problems for the opposition trying to figure out who to put their shut down line against. The NHL is a matchup league. When you create matchup problems, you create opportunity, which leads to more goals. A bunch of crap, apparently you don’t watch much hockey. Look at what Pittsburgh was able to do when Crosby and Malkin were both healthy, teams couldn’t match up against them both and both were able to flourish and, oh by the way, they won the Stanley Cup. The Rangers as composed right now are a second round exit. They need more scoring. Nash is a no-brainer.

        • Chris.C says:

          Let me see, This same type of BS talk was with Richards when he first got to NY in the first place. O he’s a PP specialist, the PP will be amazingly better (Trash, Its junk), he’ll get Gabby back to his old ways and he’ll score 50 goals. (didnt do nada with Gabby, Gabby doing it without Richards). Richards will bring us 70+ points blah blah blah (career low). Do I need to go on.. Also what in Gods creation does me “apparently you don’t watch much hockey” have to do with excatly. Do i have to watch 3 games a day? Just to make the correct statement and observation. Hmmm
          As far as the Penguins go. I could careless – Cindy Crosby will make the team better yes. Can they be stopped? Yes they can. Have we stopped them? Yes we did.
          And no Im not being carcastic.