Back in the offseason I spoke frequently about the Rangers need to acquire players who fit their team template. The three main ingredients needed to restock the Rangers were roster balance, skating, and effort. As the deadline approaches, the Rangers should stick to those three ingredients when evaluating their own team and what’s available on the marketplace.
As for Tortorella, you may not like his personality and you may disagree with his coaching systems and strategies, but whether he stays or goes (I vote he stays!), the foundation he’s laid for this roster should and likely will remain intact. With that said, let’s look at few pieces and see where upgrades could potentially be made.
I’ve said it in almost every post-season report card I’ve written about Gaborik, but his skill set can fit any team concept. It’s not just the fact he can score goals, it’s how he scores goals. Gabby doesn’t want the puck until the last third of the ice. When he’s on a roll, he’s snapping shots the second he receives the puck. Executing the creative stuff like Nash, Ovie, or a Malkin isn’t in his wheelhouse. Problems start to occur when he physically (often due to injuries) or mentally (due to his own head) can’t get to the area of open ice needed to get that shot off the way it has to.
So what does this mean for his future as a Ranger?
It all depends on who’s available, for how much, and if a team expresses interest that he’s willing to accept a trade to. The Rangers are still looking for balance. If there’s a player, or a package of players that will bring back offense, plus our key ingredients (balance, speed, and effort), then I’d consider moving him. However, if there’s no deal to be made, I wouldn’t overreact either. All of those missed shots are bound to start going in at some point.
Should his play not turnaround, I could see where this amnesty buyout talk might pick up steam, but that’s months away. At this point his contact is immovable, so he likely stays through the deadline.
Boyle is a solid defensive center, but as Dave and I have said time and again, he’s best served as a 4C, not a 3C. Of course, Halpern is doing just fine as a 4C and at a much lower cost. In my opinion, Boyle doesn’t bring offensive balance, his skating isn’t strong, and his effort level is hit and miss.
The Rangers could use some pop on offense in our bottom 6, as Powe (0 goals), Halpern (0 goals), Miller (2 goals), Pyatt (4 goals), and Haley/Bicks (0 goals), aren’t cutting it offensively. However, all of those guys possess the other ingredients. Obviously Boyle on his own won’t generate much interest, but a package could be worth exploring.
I know a small contingent of Rangers fans have already moved on from hoping he’ll live up to the hype. I’m not one of those tweeners because Kreider’s potential hits on all of those ingredients. Once he fixes a few of those defensive issues in the AHL, he’ll be up here contributing. Additionally, if Gaborik actually were to get moved, this would all but cement the fact that Chris would be taking Marian’s role.
There isn’t one player on defense I would trade at the deadline. We’re thin on defense till Staal gets back, so there’s no point trading any of our full-time blueliners.
As for everyone else, the rest fit our team concept and have played well under Tortorella’s tutelage. This team is far from perfect, but if we make a few moves to upgrade our offense without sacrificing these main ingredients, a Cup will be ours sooner than our current record would indicate.