In a tough spot, Rangers get what they can for struggling Gaborik

April 4, 2013, by
Sometimes there's more to a trade than fair value.

Sometimes there’s more to a trade than fair value.

When the Rangers traded for Rick Nash in the offseason, they did so knowing that they were gutting the middle of the roster. Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov were key to solidifying the bottom six, and when The Canadiens gave Brandon Prust $10 million, three of the most important bottom-six guys were departing Broadway. It was a problem that the organization knew about, and it was a problem that they tried to address.

They brought in Taylor Pyatt, Jeff Halpern, Arron Asham in the offseason, and traded for Darroll Powe a few weeks into the shortened season. These guys were supposed to be appropriate replacements for the departed players, especially when you consider the production Nash would add to their current superstars in Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards. And therein lies the problem. Gaborik and Richards didn’t produce. The bottom-six replacements did not do their jobs. The Rangers had a black hole in the lineup that needed to be addressed.

There are only so many ways the Rangers could address a problem like that. They have cap issues for next season with Carl Hagelin, Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan, and Ryane Clowe all entering some form of free agency. They have a superstar who is underperforming and rumored to be unhappy with the treatment he had been receiving.

League GMs are not stupid. They recognized the situation the Rangers were in. They had one roster player they could deal that would address their depth issues and address their future cap issues. That roster player was Marian Gaborik. Add in the fact that many teams are concerned about the cap for next year (Gaborik carries a $7.5 million cap hit next season), and it limits his value even more.

Slats and Jeff Gorton did what they could to address their black hole. They traded for Clowe, and did not deal any roster players in the process. That was a good first step, but it did not address their center depth, and it did not address their defensive depth. However, it addresses their wing depth and their grit/toughness.

At this point, the Rangers have an underachieving winger taking up 11% of next year’s cap, no center depth, and no bottom-pairing on defense. The Blue Jackets were a natural fit, as they needed scoring and had depth players to give.

But the Rangers are not shopping Gaborik from a position of strength. They are desperate to address their black hole, and have just one tool to do so. Jarmo Kekäläinen is no fool, he knows the Rangers are desperate. That instantly hurts Gaborik’s trade value.

All that said, the Rangers addressed their needs by acquiring Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, and John Moore. Moore slides right into the bottom-pairing as a smooth skating defenseman with some offensive potential. Dorsett is hurt, but he’s bruiser who can at least skate better than Mike Rupp. In Brassard, the Rangers address their center depth with a guy who is capable of putting up 20 goals and 50 points. Whether he regains his form in New York, only time will tell.

The biggest thing to remember about this Gaborik trade was that it was necessitated by three things: 1) Next year’s cap, 2) Under performance, and 3) a black hole of a bottom-six. Those three do not add up to any sort of leverage when looking for a trade. The Rangers may not have gotten top value for Gaborik, but they addressed their three holes. Given the circumstances, the trade netted decent returns.

Categories : Analysis


  1. Hatrick Swayze says:

    Definitely the best assessment of the Rangers move(s) so far.

    At first, I was upset about losing 3 draft picks for Clowe, but I’m seeing that it may have been the lesser of 2 evils, as we don’t have the depth to deal a roster player.

    Would you have rather seen a prospect go (i.e. Borque or Thomas)??

    Draft day may not be all that exciting this year for us, however, I think that we are in a better position for next year and future years than we were last week.

    • zach says:

      Honestly, I would have rather send lesser prospects than the picks – any open positions would likely go to Miller, Kreider, Fast, Lindberg, even Newbury before Thomas or Bourque, IMO.

      Of course, San Jose may have insisted on picks, so it could be moot.

      • zach says:

        Not to mention Nieves, Fogarty, and Yogan in the pipeline…

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        Yep, I’m with you on that. Especially considering the deep draft, and I don’t think we have a pick in the top 60 right now.

    • Tim B says:

      For Clowe i would have traded:
      Jason Wilson
      Fourth Round pick
      Ryan Bourque
      Kyle Jean
      Another Fourth Round pick in next years draft

      I dont know how many contracts they can take on. I would save the early round draft picks. This would be a contract dump. None of them will likely stay on the NHL roster very long considering Bourque is a bottom 6 guy and Hagelin ans Asham are the bottom 6 LW’s. If we lose Asham than we need a fighter/toughness. Thats what Haley is for. I think Bourque can play center but thats why we have Lindberg. He can play and win faceoffs. Wilson needs to go theough waivers. Jean hasnt been the same since October where he was on a hot streak. Majority of these players are not going to the NHL. Well at least not on the Rangers roster. Maybe than can be of value to San Jose

  2. Bill says:

    Last week we were talking Gaborik for Dan Boyle now we have 3 young players with upside!
    I love the deal!

  3. RangerTex says:

    Just a question : who was more desperate to move Gaborik, Rangers or those who were advocating trading for Heatley or Dan Boyle or some other non sense?

    If they were trying to dump him, they wouldn’t have gotten the 3 assets they got and more importantly, and this was somehow ignored in this article, no cap dump.
    All and all Rangers did a lot better than the bloggers who were trying to give Gaborik away for free.

  4. Spozo says:

    Funny how a day earlier Torts had talked about needing to send JT and Kreider down to the Wolfpack. He obviously knew Slats had this trick up his sleeve a couple days ago.

    • VinceR says:

      Yeah, that would make sense as it was reported they had started the talks 2 or 3 days before…and it finally really heated up about 1pm yesterday.

  5. Chuck A says:

    Does anyone think Gabby’s days of good health are over?

    • VinceR says:

      I don’t think he’s completely done. However I think he will be limited as he has shown pretty consistently to have on and off seasons of health/performance (literally back and forth from season to season). So if you expected him to have prime performance for even 4 more seasons, you may be likely to get only 2 top performance seasons. 7.5m is pretty steep for that, plus the contract is up next year.

  6. Ray says:

    What the Rangers got for Gaborik was two #1 picks and an enforcer. I imagine that if you look at how all #1 picks turn out, Brassard is above average and Moore is at least average. This was a good trade. Columbus didn’t pay through the nose to get Gaborik, but they didn’t get him cheaply (and I don’t understand why they did it).

    For this season, Gaborik really was a 4th line forward (great offense, poor defense for that role) and Brassard is a big upgrade while Moore was needed. Next year Gaborik may again be Gaborik, but there is a salary cap and paying Nash, Richards, Gaborik, Lundquist makes it hard to keep intermediate players.

  7. Chris says:

    Sorry Dave, have to correct you: (Jay Feaster aside) league GMs are not stupid.

  8. Chris says:

    I actually think you’re being a little harsh on the Rangers Dave. I do think Gaborik had SOME value, he’s only just removed from a 40 goal season – even though his value may have been higher in the summer.

    That said, I think the return is impressive. Moore is still young and a good prospect that is very much what we needed on the blueline; offensively capable and a good skater. MDZ is no longer the only offensive blueline talent.

    Dorsett had 9 points for CBJ this year as a fighter/tough bottom six guy. He’s a guy that is one year removed from 12 goal season so he’s a definite uprgade from Halpern.

    Then there’s Brassard; injury prone and stuck in CBJ, if he can come close to 82 games and 50 points in CBJ I have to imagine he can do more in NY…

    all in all I think that’s a good return when you consider they got a pick back and moved cap too.

  9. Fotiu is God says:

    Solid, insightful post Dave.

    Given the context, Slats and Gorton did well. To illustrate, look at what The Wild gave up for an equally underwhelming Jason Pominville.

    Going forward to our blueline, what’s Marc Staal’s status?…

    And have we seen the last of Mike Sauer (for 2K13-14)?

  10. Chris F says:

    Well, last night’s performance by Brassard and Moore (coupled with Clowe’s performance) definitely took the sting out of the Gaborik trade for the time being.

    I’m still not sold on this deal, though. We get Dorsett, a tough-as-nails bottom six who can put up 15-20 points in a year, but we won’t see him this season with his broken clavicle. So, for this year’s run, we lose Gaborik and get Moore, an unproven 22-year old defenseman and Brassard, a potential top-six forward with some pretty decent offensive potential. Not a great return, but definitely helps the Rangers with their depth issues.

    This team now mirrors more of last year’s team, with Nash replacing Gaborik, and Clowe, Brassard and Dorsett replacing Dubinsky, Anisimov and Prust. All things told, we probably get more offensive depth and an equal amount of grit out of these turnovers.

    I definitely liked what I saw from Brassard and Moore last night, especially given the fact that they flew in and arrived at MSG less than hour before game-time. 4 points for Brassard and a goal for Moore is nice debut. Add in Clowe’s physical game, 2 goals and an assist, and obviously Rangers’ world couldn’t be happier… for the moment.

    I think Clowe is going to fit right in. Moore will do well as a bottom pair defenseman, and Dorsett, when available, seems to be a solid enforcer. I’m not sold on Brassard, though. He was not well-liked in Columbus, fans wanted him out, and I read yesterday on multiple CBJ forums that Brassard is not going to get along with Tortorella. Time will tell, but for the time being, let’s bask in the upset over Pittsburgh and getting ready for round 2 on Friday.

    • Walt says:

      It’s a new team, new city, new coach for Brassard! That may be sour grapes coming out of Columbus, time will tell.

      Dorsett told Torts that should the team make the play-offs, he will be ready. Broken clavicle, six weeks to heel, so that’s good news as well.

      Moore is a smooth skater, a former #1 pick, and has some offensive up side to him. Better than any of the other bottom pair guys we currently have. He could be a fixture here next season, with Staal coming back, we could go with Dan, MCD, MDZ, Moore, and possibly Mc Ilrath, with Emminger as our seventh d-man!

      I think that our return was as good as we could have gotten this year, and with the possibility of missing the play-offs, Slats made a good deal.

      As for Gabby, I wish him well, he did provide us some excitment over the 3 1/2 seasons here. I believe his shoulder isn’t 100%, and he may have played his best years, and is in a downward direction. Just the same, good luck Gabby, stay healthy!

      Oh, the article was well written, and thought provoking, thanks.

  11. Rangers407 says:

    Gabby only has 1 more year on his contract so that limits his trade value. We needed to make cap space for next year and get 3 guys who can play on this team. I think Sather did quite well.

  12. Lou says:

    Let’s face it, like him or not Gabby is older, was under-performing, had a hefty contract and couldn’t get along with Torts. That equals a gotta go mode.

    In return we get three young guys. Okay, maybe they under-perform too, but sure as heck like Moore over Bickel, Hamrlick, or other choices. He will fit in that slot for years. And “if” he matures and can play, we just stole a top four d-man!