Trade bait

Package deal?
Package deal?

It’s no secret Glen Sather has been shopping Michael Del Zotto for weeks. Unfortunately, the names attached to the trade rumors (e.g, Gardiner, Franson, Wiercioch, etc.) aren’t really anything to get excited about.

It seems MDZ’s trade value has plummeted this season and all we could apparently get in return are bottom-pairing d-men who are also in and out of their respective lineups. I mean you know things are bad when GM’s are hanging up on you over names like Marc Methot and Raphael Diaz.

With the Olympic roster freeze just over a month away and the trade deadline about a month thereafter, Sather still has time. However, the likelihood of MDZ turning his game around to the point where his value could fetch an elite player or prospect remains a pipe dream. If Sather really wants to upgrade this team significantly, players are likely going to have to be packaged together, which brings us to the point of today’s post.

Who on this team is good enough to have value on the trade market, but isn’t considered an untouchable or a critical piece to our championship aspirations?

Carl Hagelin:

This pick will probably anger many of you and cause some internet hate to be thrown in my direction. It’s ok. I can deal.  Look, I love Carl Hagelin. His speed makes him a tough matchup. His forechecking ability drew raves from the previous regime and ultimately prevented him from riding the bus up I-84.

With that said, some times players get lost in the shuffle due to numbers, coaching changes, etc. Unfortunately for Carl, he isn’t being relied upon the same as last year. Carl hasn’t been used on the PP at all after getting about a minute a game last season. His even strength ice-time has also been cut about 2 mins a game, and yet he is one of the few players on this team maintaining his year over year production.

As a left-winger, Chris Kreider and Benoit Pouliot have climbed ahead of him on the depth chart. Both have been locked on the top 6 of late, and Pouliot specifically has been getting time on the second power play unit (1:30/game).

J.T. Miller:

Miller has been sent back and forth to the AHL seven times in his short career, two more than Kreider. He is another guy I really like as he has an in your face game, but can also make plays. He can also slot in at any forward position, which makes him very versatile.

Still, despite his ability and his upside, AV has said aloud that he doesn’t know what to do with JT. Is he a top six player? Is he a bottom six player? Does he belong in Hartford or in the Show?

Questions like these are hard to answer when you’re in and out of the lineup. Although Miller doesn’t have a substantial body of work at the NHL level, you’d have to think more physical teams that rely on heavy forechecking may value JT higher than we do.

Derick Brassard:

Brassard is another player that I probably wouldn’t be quick to move in a trade if MDZ had value on his own. Brass was also one guy I figured would have faired better under AV than the previous regime, especially since he is getting more offensive zone face-offs (43% vs. 31% last year).

This season he’s putting up about 0.55 pts per game, which is right in line with his career average. However, if Sather is going to be aggressive at the deadline and looking to acquire a top 4 right-handed defensemen, salary and skill will have to go the other way.

For his production, Brass is a little expensive. He carries a $3.2m cap hit, which isn’t cheap for someone on pace for 12 goals. Though he’s been playing better of late, he’s still not a three zone player and he is mediocre on the draw (47%) — two things you really need from a second/third line center. Forget moving him to LW; his lack of forechecking and physicality precludes him from being a long-term option there.

Aside from these guys, I’m not sure I’d be looking to trade anyone else at this point. A few people have mentioned moving Girardi, and his time will come, I can’t see Sather trading him at this point. He’s a right-handed defensemen who eats minutes and shuts down the league’s best. That’s a tough skill to come by.

Others have also mentioned moving Boyle. He skills are redundant and definitely coachable (thank you Torts), but he wouldn’t net us more than a second round pick or depth player. If we’re looking to seriously upgrade our roster, a Boyle and MDZ package won’t get us there.

The Suit

Sports exec sharing insights/opinions on the Rangers, the League, and the game at large.

The Suit has 351 posts and counting. See all posts by The Suit

32 thoughts on “Trade bait

  • Jan 6, 2014 at 8:19 am

    no to miller/brass
    yes to hags (in right deal) an dz of course

    • Jan 6, 2014 at 8:31 am

      agree, yes to hagelin, no to miller, and brassard???.
      very short down the middle, centers, and trading brassard for a D man would leave us even shorter. A hope to fill that spot might be miller, next year.
      question, how much value does a fast bring.
      good post

      • Jan 6, 2014 at 10:52 am

        Thanks. Fast would probably net us a mid round pick. He was a 6th a rounder, but he had some success in the SEL after being drafted and I think he’s been decent in the AHL.

        • Jan 6, 2014 at 11:27 am

          He’s also dealing with a few ankle injuries.

      • Jan 6, 2014 at 12:13 pm

        I would package Brassard and MDZ for a trade that brought an upgrade in a New York minute. Brassard has offensive skills, yes, but he’s a defensive liability. He’s got 23 points, but is a -9 for the season, while Hags has 17 points and is a +1. Miller is bigger, stronger, and younger, and plays center.

        • Jan 6, 2014 at 3:57 pm

          No offense, but plus/minus is an awful stat. It’s widely acknowledged around the league as a terrible stat.

        • Jan 6, 2014 at 3:58 pm

          For example: Brass has 13 points on the powerplay (you don’t get a plus for that). He only has 10 even strength points.

          Meanwhile, Hags has 17 even strength points.

          There’s no correlation at all.

  • Jan 6, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Only McDonagh, Kreider, and Henrik should be considered untouchable by the fans.

    In reality, each of those 3 players should be moved if the right deal arose.

  • Jan 6, 2014 at 9:00 am

    With the developement of Oscar Lindberg, I’d move Brass before I’d touch either Miller, or Hags! I like the kid, but I like Miller better because he is a more rounded player, and has a little more spunk in his game.

    Pouliot is red hot now, but will he sustain that, or will he resort to the lazy style of play he’s shown his entire career?? Hags hustles, and is so quick, why even mention him at all??? He gives 100% every night, can you honestly say that of Ben?? Hell no!!!!

    You haven’t mentioned Staal, why not?? He is not going to be here for the rest of his playing career. He will, in due time head south to join the family, why not see what he can get us in return??

    What’s a shame is MDZ showed so much promise his rookie year, but he got caught up in the night life, and big city activities, that he got distracted, forceing the team to send him to the Pack, and he really never has been the same. He isn’t the sharpest knife in the draw when it comes to thinking, hockey smarts, and that will cost him a position on this team!!

    • Jan 6, 2014 at 10:56 am

      Staal to Carolina makes sense only till you look at their roster. There really isn’t much worth trading for other than Skinner who they’re not gonna move.

      My guess is Staal is a Ranger till he hits free agency. Anything is possible once the clock strikes 12, but till then he’ll likely be a Blueshirt.

      • Jan 6, 2014 at 11:51 am

        He’s a top-4 signed below $4 million, they aren’t sending him anywhere.

  • Jan 6, 2014 at 9:05 am

    I know many will disagree, but Suit picked the exact guys that would be available if Slats wanted to obtain a BETTER player. Suit isn’t suggesting making sideways moves or giving anybody away, but rather getting an upgrade.

    • Jan 6, 2014 at 10:53 am

      Thanks Zen. Spot on.

  • Jan 6, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Don’t consider trading Miller before he proves a stable 3rd line center, or better.

    I honestly do not think a package will improve trade scenarios. In other words, if you separate out what you get for our “good” player and what you get for Del Zotto (I don’t mean to imply he is a bad player), the value received for Del Zotto is the same as what can be obtained today.

    I have what may be a novel idea: how ’bout the GM place the burden on our new coach to extract the most value out of Del Zotto and get him to perform at a high level?

    Isn’t that part of a coach’s job description? You know, how Brian Boyle went from a near AHL player in Hartford to a top playoff performer and defensive, forechecking specialist? Or, how Brandon Prust, went from a one-dimensional enforcer to a guy relied upon as a core player? Or, an Anton Stralman who nearly signed to play in Europe before signing with the Rangers and becoming a steady #5 or #4 defenseman?

    • Jan 6, 2014 at 9:54 am

      Boyle isn’t exactly playing badly, though. I was at the game in Montreal (1-0 shutout by Talbot) and Boyle played perhaps the best defensive game I’ve seen by a Ranger forward in years. Av IS getting something out of him.

      As for Del Zotto – he lacks the hockey IQ to compete in a more wide open/Overload system. AV’s just exposed him for what he is.

    • Jan 6, 2014 at 10:59 am

      I don’t disagree AD. However, I don’t think AV is looking for the same type of 3rd line player that Torts was looking for.

      • Jan 6, 2014 at 12:06 pm

        Ahh you are probably right, and that brings us back to long-term planning and team construction. Guys like Miller and McIlrath were drafted for a certain style of hockey approved and endorsed by the GM. When we start becoming that type of hockey team, rather than make some modest modifications to the long-term plan, that same GM then deems that former style as “unwatchable” and mandates a new style, to be implemented and overseen by AV, but without a roster makeover.

        Fast forward 40+ games and, low and behold, that same GM is faced with a multi-year roster makeover.

        14 years as GM; 5 or 6 coaches, I forget; now 70 years old

  • Jan 6, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Hah! I was just talking the other day to my friends that I wouldn’t mind if Slats were to look around and gauge interest in Hags.

    Hags can skate, but his hands don’t match his wheels. He’ll be a dime a dozen penalty killer who’ll have a good, solid career playing on a a half-dozen teams before he retires (watch him be a perennial deadline mover).

    I say, Sell High!!! And if the offseason, Slats should ask Carolina if they’re interested in the Marc “Damaged Goods” Staal.

  • Jan 6, 2014 at 10:14 am

    I think I’d hit the brakes on moving Miller. He is a guy with size and skill. He can play a heavy fore-check game effectively, which is a type of player you want up and down the line up.

    To use a Tort’s phrase, I don’t really think he’s gotten a fair shake so far.

  • Jan 6, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Two years ago we were 2 games away from going to the finals in the Stanley Cup and management dismantle the team. This management team has not shown the ability to put together a Stanley Cup calibre team.

  • Jan 6, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Absolutely wouldn’t trade Hags. Speed is the most important thing to have in a lineup & for those who say Hags can’t score, he has 10 goals already, which is tied for second on the team,. I would not trade JT either. Trade bait— MDZ, Boyle, Brassard.

  • Jan 6, 2014 at 11:52 am

    As many have said, you entertain trading these guys for upgrades, not for sideways moves. Slats is no dummy.

  • Jan 6, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    I believe you have to give quality to get quality, or figure a way to take on or give up salary that will make you more flexible to make better deals later. That said, I feel Hags has value, MDZ does not (to others). I also think a Brassard move clears some cap space for the next move. Rarely are trades made without thinking about “what can I do next”. If our top 2 lines are set, then figure a way to add a piece that closes a gap somewhere else.

  • Jan 6, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    I think Mats Zuccarello has made Hagelin a lot more expendable. Both are small, speedy skaters that are possession nightmares for other team, but Zuccarello’s puck skills are far superior to Hagelin’s which makes Carl the better trade option

    • Jan 6, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      Why not keep both?????

      Given a shot, and placed on the same line with Nash, Hags, and Nash both could do damage to other teams!!!!!

  • Jan 6, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    JT should be untouchable. I’ve been watching him for a couple of years now through juniors. He has great skills, they need to let him play. He is at least a #2 center if not #1. I say trade anyone besides zucc McD Kreider and Miller if it brings back the right pieces.

  • Jan 6, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Where are all the goal scorers in Hartford?

    With the exception of Kristo (12-10-22 in 31 games) the rest of the lineup isn’t producing: Lindberg 7-9-16 in 33 games; Bourque 5-5-10 in 32 games; Hrivek 4-7-11 in 31 games; Fast 2-4-6 in 10 games; Jean 2-2-4 in 24 games; Dupont 1-5-6 in 25 games.

    Jean is especially disappointing. He’s supposed to be a good skating power forward who drives to the net. 2 goals isn’t going to cut it.

    • Jan 6, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      Jean got out to a hot start last year and fizzled real fast. Hrivik/Bourque aren’t going to be scorers, same with Dupont (who is 28 years old).

      I’m ok with Lindberg’s/Fast’s production. Didn’t expect them to light the lamp regularly.

      • Jan 6, 2014 at 2:40 pm

        Didn’t Jean also have at least one concussion last year that he battled through? Could explain the cratering offense

      • Jan 6, 2014 at 3:03 pm

        Lindberg is a very good defensive player, who has soft hands, and will get his share of goals!!!

  • Jan 6, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    I get what we have to trade on the NHL roster and even more in the system to get a player via trade. What about ROR! He’s able to be traded on 2/28/14. The Avs have become a defensive team under Roy. So the Rangers have that. O’Reilly is another lefty but he is another versatile forward with great speed and 2 way hockey sense. We will need to fill Richards spot in the summer. Why not add a young stud to the top 6? I would think this kind of thing would end up including other players. A 2 for 2 plus picks/prospects to somehow even out the money since ROR is over 5 mil per and 6.5 mil is the offer needed to retain him. Yikes!

  • Jan 7, 2014 at 11:47 am

    How can anyone say the Rangers should keep MDZ? Really? Cant handle a pass; cant hit the net with a shot; isnt tough in corners; always looking to get rid of puck before the hit.

    MDZ, Brassard, Pouliot all must go.

    Problem is this team has too many nice guys that like to pass and not enough balls-out in your face players.

    If there was leadership, they would not be the jekyl and hyde show.

    Get in players with character (one per line) to go along with the guys with no facial scars.

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