A lot of noise has been made over the past 12 hours about Glenn Healy’s comments on Hockey Night in Canada last night. For those who missed it, Healy said the following:
If the Rangers trade (Del Zotto) it will be a D for a D because of the Stralman situation but look for the Boston Bruins to call the Rangers about Dan Girardi. That is going to happen because that is a good player and there is no deal done. He isn’t for a whole host of a ransom but it still isn’t done. If they can get a lot back they will make that move.
This is just Healy spitballing, in my opinion, and isn’t really something that would happen. With Anton Stralman out, Girardi is the Rangers last right handed shot on the blue line. Throw in the Marc Staal injury, the uncertain future of Michael Del Zotto, and the inconsistent play of John Moore and Justin Falk, the Rangers can’t afford to deal one of two guys they can count on for defense. Despite his struggles, Girardi is still a top-four defenseman, and dealing him in the current situation –to a conference rival no less– isn’t something that I see the team doing unless the return is unreal.
Don’t misunderstand, this isn’t to say that Girardi is untouchable or won’t be traded, I just don’t believe now is the time that the team to trade him, especially to a Boston Bruins team that is short on reliable defense as is. The two teams just don’t appear to be a match.
Regarding the Del Zotto rumor, Pat Leonard noted that the Rangers are probably better off holding on to him for now, in light of the Stralman injury. Del Zotto’s play lately has been better, logging over 24 minutes of ice time on Friday night. In the short term, Leonard is spot on: The Rangers can’t afford to deal him unless the return is another defenseman. They simply don’t have the depth to take another hit to the blue line.
Del Zotto has been linked to the Leafs for Jake Gardiner or Cody Franson. Those deals make sense. He’s also been linked to Ottawa for Marc Methot (makes sense because of the type of player Methot is, but Ottawa won’t do it) or Patrick Wiercioch (sideways move).
The team will make a trade to upgrade the blue line, but now may not be the appropriate time to do so. Del Zotto and Girardi are key cogs as the Rangers deal with injuries. Trade talk will heat up as the Olympic roster freeze approaches in February. The team will not make the mistake of making a trade just to be active.