It’s the time in hockey season where rumours are rampant. Ryan Callahan is apparently already half way out the door, the Rangers are apparently in bed with Martin St Louis and apparently Glen Sather will ‘check in’ on Ryan Kesler. All of these rumours have legs to some degree, so when you hear Derek Stepan’s name mooted as a piece Vancouver may want back for any Kesler deal, it does make you question the moving pieces.
The Rangers, for the long term, cannot afford to move Stepan. Not just because he is a home grown, quality player but because too much change is never a good thing. Consider the likely departure of Brad Richards in the summer. Consider also the expiring contracts of Brian Boyle and Dominic Moore. Then throw into the mix the still uncertain future of Derick Brassard (How much is enough? Is he even kept?). There is a legitimate chance in all of this then that the Rangers entire center ice unit changes. Until you realize no team in their right mind would change an entire position over one deadline/off-season. Right, Glen?…
Successful teams have continuity. They make changes but they don’t blow up and start again, and expect to have prolonged success. Derek Stepan may be playing out an inconsistent season, but he’s a quality young player at an affordable price who is a vital part of this organisation. Would Ryan Kesler be a great addition? Absolutely. A quality American center who can play big minutes in every situation at a pretty cheap price, at least for the next 2 years? Sign me up.
If the Rangers want to continue to build toward a Stanley Cup and Glen Sather feels Ryan Kesler will help bring a Cup to NYC; then it needs to be Stepan and Kesler, not Stepan or Kesler. Its one thing to consider swapping captains. It’s another to continually rip apart the core of your franchise. The deadline is certainly a time for change and for tinkering with your roster, it’s not for radical overhauls.