This past Tuesday I briefly spoke about the rumors surrounding Marian Gaborik and his apparent position on the trading block. As I said in the post, Gaborik’s skill set fits any system. Should he not be traded, I’d be perfectly fine with it. However, if we could land someone who fits the key ingredients to the Rangers team template (e.g., balance, skating ability, effort), then I’d be willing to move him.
In case you missed that post during the Blue Seat Blogs blackout of 2013, I humbly suggest you read it. Do it now. I’ll wait.
Whether or not you believe the “sources” to these rumors is your own judgment call. Personally, I think Kreider’s recall could determine Gaborik’s fate, if of course there’s a team interested in Marian that isn’t on his NTC. Why pay a guy $7.5M to be a 30 goal scorer on some nights (and a ghost on other nights) when you can pay Kreider $1.3M to be our coveted power forward in training?
Over the next few weeks, if Chris impresses offensively and isn’t a defensive liability, the loss of Gaborik may be worth it from a roster perspective and a cap perspective. If you still don’t buy the rumors, for the sake of the exercise, let’s see what kind of trades involving Gaborik may actually work.
Forget the b.s. Larry Brooks spews suggesting Torts employs some defensive system that stifles the club’s ability to produce offense. It’s garbage. As I’ve detailed many times, Torts wants the Rangers playing aggressive/below the dots hockey. He wants them hounding the puck in the OZ, not sitting back and trapping.
None of the “available” forwards fit the Rangers template better than Ryane Clowe. Clowe would be a good winger to have on a line with Miller at center and Kreider on the opposite wing. Clowe is listed at 6’2 225 lbs and plays a style similar to Callahan, with a little bit less scoring production. Obviously this isn’t a straight up one-for-one deal, but it could be an intriguing option. He has an expiring $3.6M contract without any no-trade clauses.
He’s been rumored to be on the block since Bruce Garrioch learned how to type. He’d fit our template, but I don’t think he’ll ever play for anyone other than Calgary. It’s too bad because a talent like that should be promoted to a wider audience. Maybe he’ll be ready to move on this year, but who knows.
Boyle is the puck mover we’ve been missing on the blueline. Should the Rangers acquire him, the powerplay would likely improve immediately. He’s not the goal scorer he was in his prime, but he can still QB a powerplay and he distributes the puck better than most. Boyle is also familiar with Torts’ system and the two have a good relationship.
In 2008, Torts publicly criticized Tampa’s (at the time) dysfunctional ownership for trading Boyle to San Jose. Even though Boyle hasn’t played for Torts in years, San Jose’s system is very similar to the Rangers, with defensemen pinching aggressively and joining the rush to produce more offense. From a cap perspective, Boyle has one year left on his contract at a $6.6M dent, so there’s also some savings there.
If the Lightning continue to sink, one would think Stevie Y could be open to moving Martin St. Louis. Although he has two inexpensive seasons left at $5.6M, Tampa’s time to win the Cup certainly isn’t now. They have too many holes. Gaborik likely doesn’t solve that problem alone, but perhaps Gaborik and Brian Boyle packaged together do.
Boyle would probably fit nicely on team like Tampa. They run a 1-3-1 neutral zone trap, a system that doesn’t require the level of skating the Rangers system requires. Plus one has to think at age 37 – yet still producing above a point per game pace – St. Louis could be looking for one last run at glory.
In the end, all of this likely depends on the play of Kreider. In order to stay with the big club, he has to elevate his game to at least the level J.T. Miller is playing at. If he starts popping goals, moving Gaborik may not be the stretch we all thought it would be. I know I will be watching them carefully.