Think back to the 2011 trade deadline. The New York Rangers were not yet regarded as an elite team; in fact, they were fighting for a playoff berth, a fight that lasted until the final day of the regular season.
Glen Sather had engaged in trade talks with Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk regarding soon-to-be free agent Brad Richards. Sather could have had the coveted center, provided he was willing to part with Marc Staal, Derek Stepan and Brandon Dubinsky, the ransom demanded by Nieuwendyk according to Larry Brooks.*
Sather showed restraint, kept his young pieces and watched as the Blueshirts were dispatched by the Washington Capitals in five games. Richards quickly signed with the Blueshirts on July 2nd.
While it can be argued that Sather’s patience was aided by a common belief that Richards would end up in New York sooner or later anyway, the decision did help shape the direction of the franchise.
Obviously Staal and Stepan both play critical roles for the club and Sather’s ability to retain those building blocks was wise. But holding onto Dubinsky also enabled Sather to acquire Rick Nash – another instance of Sather’s patience.
Dubinsky was part of the package for Nash and although the Rangers may have been able to appease Columbus with a different piece in the eventual Nash deal, including Dubinsky’s salary was a necessary component to the trade from Sather’s point of view.
It’s also true that the Rangers may have had the assets to deal for both Richards and Nash in trades, but it wouldn’t have happened without decimating the depth of the organization.
The simple lesson: sometimes the best moves are the ones you don’t make.
*The Post appears to have taken the story down, so this copied version is the best I could recover.