Three shrewd mid-season trades helped put Rangers in Cup FinalsJune 2, 2014, by
When teams make deep runs into the playoffs, the one thing they usually have in common is success from trades made throughout the season. I’m not talking about moves made in the offseason, of which Glen Sather made a few (Dominic Moore, Benoit Pouliot), I’m referring to in-season moves made after identifying team needs.
The Rangers were no different from any other team. There were significant flaws in the team that were easily identifiable by most either before the season began (toughness/physicality), or something that became apparent as the season went by (right handed defenseman, primary scoring). If it’s something we were identifying here, you can bet your life savings that Slats and company identified it as well.
This is what a good GM does (and yes, Slats is a good GM in the cap era). Slats identified these holes and made three trades in 2014 that addressed each need.
January 4, 2014: Rangers send a 2014 7th round pick to LA for Dan Carcillo
In response to the injury to Derek Dorsett, the Rangers acquired Carcillo from LA for a 2014 7th round pick (conditions were that Carcillo remain on the roster for the season, which he did). Carcillo’s addition, at the time of the deal, was somewhat curious, as the Rangers already had Arron Asham in Hartford. However it was very obvious that Carcillo was a step up from Asham, playing in 31 regular season games and contributing three goals. However it wasn’t until the playoffs when his impact was really felt. Alain Vigneault inserted Carcillo after a Game Two loss to Philly, and he immediately scored a goal and got under the Flyers’ skin.
Carcillo was scratched for Game Six, another loss, before coming back for Game Seven and scoring again to help the Rangers advance. He has been suspended for ten games for abuse of a linesman, but has appealed the suspension.
January 22, 2014: Rangers acquire Kevin Klein for Michael Del Zotto
The Rangers finally used a big trade chip to fill a huge hole when they acquired Klein from the Nashville Predators. Klein was the right-handed defenseman they really needed to play with John Moore, but he was also the defensive-minded and physical guy they needed on the blue line. Klein is not a #fancystats darling by any means, but he has been very unspectacular since his arrival. That’s a compliment for a guy like Klein, whose job is to be solid defensively. When a guy like him is noticed, 99% of the time it is not good. The exception came over the past few games in the Conference Final, when Klein started getting a lot of offensive opportunities while still playing sound defensive hockey.
Klein has scored just twice with the Rangers, but one of them came in Game Five against Pittsburgh to help spark that miraculous comeback.
The Rangers sorely needed a scoring right-winger, and were at odds with their captain and his contract demands. The trade itself was unpopular for multiple reasons –to the point where I was questioning why you trade the captain of a team on the up-swing– but it was something that needed to be done. St. Louis was a clear offensive upgrade over Callahan, but the price was steep. St. Louis scored just one regular season goal for the Rangers while Callahan flourished, making this trade look like a dud.
But the Rangers didn’t acquire MSL for his regular season output. They acquired him for the playoffs. And in the playoffs he has shone. MSL is currently tied for the team lead in goals (6) and points (13). He’s been a rallying point for the Rangers, and it’s very clear he’s a leader in the locker room as well.
These are the only three trades the Rangers made this season that affected the main roster, and all three have paid off significantly. These three acquisitions have played critical roles in this playoff run (in addition to two low-key free agent signings), and highlights how Slats was able to identify and fill holes on a team with Stanley Cup aspirations."Three shrewd mid-season trades helped put Rangers in Cup Finals",