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Who could be trade bait?

(Scott Levy/NHLI/Getty Images)

(Scott Levy/NHLI/Getty Images)

Acting GM Jeff Gorton is on record as saying the Rangers plan to be aggressive on the trade market to try to improve the club by the April 3rd trade deadline.  Marian Gaborik is obviously the biggest name being floated in rumors, but it’s difficult to find a good fit and it’s probably more likely than not that Gabby finishes the season with the Blueshirts.  That said, it’s common knowledge that New York would like to add a top-four defenseman and a top-nine forward to help replenish the depth that was lost during the offseason and has crippled the team all season.

With so many teams still in playoff contention in this lockout-shortened season, trade prices appear to be sky high, even for rentals.  So who could New York offer in trade packages over the coming weeks outside of Gaborik?

Brian Boyle – The checking center has struggled this season and has fallen out of favor with coach John Tortorella, despite Tortorella’s repeated insistence that the Rangers “need” Boyle.  Boyle is a tremendous defensive center, but he’s been a complete non-factor offensively and his skating has always been an issue.  Boyle might not fetch a lot, but there is always interest in defensive centers this time of year, especially one with a very affordable one-year, $1.7 million remaining on his contract.

Taylor Pyatt – After scoring three goals in his first four games with the Rangers, Pyatt has fallen completely off the map and has registered just six points.  He is simply way too slow and has little value for the club going forward.  That said, Pyatt is a streaky scorer and did produce in the playoffs for Phoenix last year.  Like Boyle, Pyatt is moveable given the affordable one-year, $1.55 million remaining on his deal.

Michael St. Croix – St. Croix has put up monster numbers in the WHL over the last two seasons and his value may never be higher.  There’s still concern that St. Croix will ever be able to play both ways in the NHL, so he’s a bit of a risk in that if St. Croix doesn’t prove the ability to score at the next level, he may not make it at all.  Considering the Rangers’ top-six is relatively set in stone and Tortorella demands that all of his forwards be responsible defensively, St. Croix could be expendable.

Shane McColgan – The Rangers still haven’t signed the 2011 fifth-round pick to a contract, so right now he has little value on the trade market.  That said, McColgan has shown considerable improvement and is an intriguing prospect despite his 5-9, 165 lb. stature.  That size issue may incline New York to attempt to deal McColgan given the team’s struggles to develop other small players in recent years.

Christian Thomas – Like with St. Croix, Thomas is a guy that is going to need to play in an offensive role and he’s unlikely to unseat the Rangers penciled in for those spots for the next few years.  Like McColgan, Thomas is an undersized guy.  A respectable showing in a cameo with the Rangers earlier this year may have piqued the interest of scouts, so Thomas could be used in a package.

Draft picks – The Rangers don’t have a first-round pick thanks to the Rick Nash trade, but they do have three third-round picks this year (they’ll get a fourth if they don’t make the Stanley Cup Finals).  That’s obviously a surplus and solid ammunition.

And that’s about everything of any value I could see the Rangers moving.  Top prospects like Dylan McIlrath, Brady Skjei, Boo Nieves, Oscar Lindberg and Jesper Fast aren’t going anywhere.  The Rangers are shallow on depth at the NHL level to begin with, so it’s hard to imagine them moving any major contributors.  This is about the extent of the list.

So unless the Rangers are prepared to move Gaborik, putting together a package to obtain anything worthwhile might be awfully tricky.  Boyle and a third might get another top-nine forward, but beyond that…

Thoughts?

23 Responses to “Who could be trade bait?”

  1. Bloomer says:

    St.Croix is a magician with the puck, huge upside I think twice before I moved him. Unless you have a shutdown checking center in the pipeline ready to take Boyle spot I wouldn’t move him either. Expendable are some of the softies the Rangers have on their roster who earn big bucks and take up lot of cap space.

    • Dave says:

      They will think twice, but his defensive game has been the biggest question mark.

    • Kevin says:

      Gotta give to get Bloomer! The softies on the roster will fetch nothing in return

      • Dave says:

        Gaborik, who people consider a “softie” is the only asset that can really be moved. Richards can’t be moved because of that contract. I just don’t know who the other “softies” are that Bloomer is referring to.

        Just a note: I really think Richards is just having a down year. I also think that Gaborik’s shoulder hasn’t fully healed yet.

        • James says:

          I think Richie is playing concussed and not telling anyone,and may not even know himself no legs eye hand coordination, passes off the mark. To many things going bad. This is exactley like Stall was at the end of the season before last! Remember

  2. ranger17 says:

    Would Boyle and Thomas or Boyle an a 3rd get us Ryan Clowe

  3. Walt says:

    I love Boyle, but he has been a bust since his bud Prust was let go. He can score, 20 goals two seasons ago, play-offs last season, but he has done nothing this year.

    If we can get a top nine scoring forward, or solid d-man, bye bye Brian! But that is a big IF!!

    As for Pyatt, he skates like a diesel truck in first gear. He is big, but as soft as a prtezel that you can get at the garden. Why we went after him, and let Mitchell go, oh well, we can’t cry over spilled milk. Do you think we can get a bucket of pucks in return for him?

    Now for the kids, like stated by you Kevin, they are small, and some are not defensivly sound, what will they bring back? It will be interesting to see what moves are made.

    By the way, the Pens made themselves much tougher with the addition of Morrow from Dallas, and Murrey from San Jose. You have to give credit to Shero, as a GM he has made some bold moves in a short period of time. With these two, and Neil last season, he’s made the Pens a tougher team!!

  4. Kevin says:

    I don’t think you send them for rentals in an ideal world, but with Pitt sending one of its top prospects in Morrow for a rental, that’s going to be the going rate this year

    • Dave says:

      Pitt had depth (Maata, Pouliot) that made Morrow expendable. Rangers don’t really have that. They’ve developed their prospects too quickly and have a bit of a hole in their system right now.

      • Kevin says:

        Agreed that NYR can’t really afford to move those guys, but that is the going rate. if they actually intend to make moves, there isn’t really another way, except moving Gabby

        • Dave says:

          Well right now we haven’t seen an NHL-for-NHL deal other than Powe for Rupp. That market could be different.

  5. ranger17 says:

    Clowe would not be a rental . We need to get some toughness on this team . If Boyle would just use his size he could become that guy , but he seems like he is affraid to hurt some one . Has Nash ever knocked any one out , seems everyone just shies away from him and nobody wants to tangle with him . Never remember him for being hard to play against . Remember Andy Bathgate nobody ever wanted any part of him either but he never played tough

    • Dave says:

      I’d love Clowe, but I really want to see if that shoulder issue is bigger than people are making it out to be.

  6. Jared says:

    I dont think trading boyle would be a good idea. While I do not like him and do not think he is playing well, I do not think that the rangers have enough quality penalty killers to afford to trade boyle.

    Not only is he a penalty kill center but he is a center nonetheless and faceoffs has seem to be an issue for the rangers. As much as I would like to see boyle move, I think the rangers will keep him.

    (also he has a cheap contract that will help later on).

  7. ranger17 says:

    Boyle is one of the best 4th line centers in hockey . Good on draws and very good PKer . Key being 4th liner only on this team

  8. Chuck A says:

    So, if Gabby’s 75%, and Richards (& others) are having a down year, why not be sellers and plan for next year? LA Kings resurrection story aside, a Cup does not at all seem feasible this year.

    • Dave says:

      Anything’s possible with the best goalie in the world in net, and two slumping stars shooting well below career averages. If Hank gets hot and BR/Gab progress back to mean, Rangers could be dangerous.

  9. Dave says:

    Surprised no one has said much about McColgan.