Three shrewd mid-season trades helped put Rangers in Cup Finals

June 2, 2014, by
Sather spent wisely. (Photo credit: Jim McIsaac)

This man deserves credit. (Photo credit: Jim McIsaac)

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.

March 5, 2014: Rangers acquire Martin St. Louis for Ryan Callahan and two 1st round picks

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.

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Categories : Trades


  1. bayman says:

    Klein leads the team with a +7 during the playoffs, despite playing on the third D pair. ‘Nuff said.

  2. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    I’d like to add the Diaz pick up as a solid deadline deal. That depth has come in handy, and little was lost when he’s had to sub in for injuries/suspensions. No more Hamrlik disasters.

  3. ROBERT MINTZ says:

    For a guy who flies under the radar, does anyone notice that Kevin Klein leads the team in plus minus?

    I actually like Diaz over J Moore by the way. He brings something to the powerplay.

    • Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

      One is a righty shot (Diaz) and the other is a lefty shot (Moore). If anything you’d insert Diaz for Klein. In this case both are playing and since the team overall is short on righty shots. Having 2 righty shots on the bottom Defense pair doesn’t hurt too much. It’s only for one more game.

  4. Dave says:

    I was considering adding Diaz, but he wasn’t going to be playing if Moore wasn’t suspended. He provides some great depth, and I’m not discounting that pickup by any means, but these three additions played much larger roles.

  5. Leatherneckinlv says:

    I am still not a fan of the St Louis trade but will say I am glad it was done. The Rangers need to win the cup to offset the assets lost. Without a cup to me it is a disaster. The repercussions of this trade will be felt a few years from now.
    The real trade that solidified this Stanley Cup run though was last year when we got Brassard, Moore and Dorsett. They brought the depth we sorely missed.
    My thoughts are what the game plan is the next couple of years? Is Richards going to get bought out when we win the Cup? Is Staal going to stay? Will the Rangers make moves to go after Niskinen and Stastny? Will the Rangers give McIlrath a heavy look see next year? Can the Rangers snatch Tokarski? I was very impressed with his poise.
    What are the plans for Haggerty, Kristo, Lindberg, fast and Allen? There is a healthy situation, only draw back is we have no major impact players in that group but we do have solid depth.
    I truly believe we need to get at least one 1st round pick back in the next two years.
    Frankly after the season is over and if the Rangers do not have any information on Staal’s desire then he should be traded. A trade to the Oilers would be where I would look into at for their third round pick and a solid roster player. Staal could be replaced by Allen and Skeij down the line.
    Roster subtractions for me would be Richards for Stastny, Stralman for McIlrath, Dorsett for Beach and Carcillo for Lindberg/Kristo/Haggerty.
    I would resign Boyle, Pouliot, Zuccarello, Moore and Brassard.

    The Brassard line has to be the best third line in the NHL and the 4th line of Moore, Boyle and Beach replacing Dorsett a very formidable 4th line.
    I seriously believe that Beach is a better fit than Dorsett. He is bigger, has the touch and has a team that will get him going after the road block he has had.

    The key going forward after we win the cup is what Staal’s intentions are. He can be a chip to hit the gin card with

    • mattimar says:

      Dont know why you received so many thumbs down. Perhaps the timing of your note is not good, since they are making a strong run for the Cup. I don’t want to go down that path (the future) just yet but tend to agree with your Staal comments. Lets just hope he plays great against the Kings and then we can all comment on the future after the parade.

  6. SalMerc says:

    What all this speaks to is the “team effort”. While everyone wants to be a standout, they have bought into the “team first” mentality. MSL. Poliout, Diaz, Klein, all are good, but the total here is more than the sum of the parts.I am sure MSL wants to be a first liner, as does Pouliot. I am sure Klein believes he is a 2nd pair defenseman, but they play their role, add value and all provide a consistent wave of attack and defense that few other teams can boast.

  7. Hatrick Swayze says:

    Nice article. Agree in full. 3 read and react moves, all of which factor into why we have made it to the dance.

    Fair to say that one area which leaves us wanting more is depth down the middle?

    Probably will be addressed this off-season with a Richards buyout and ________ FA signing. But do you think our 4 guys down the middle are weak? Will it ultimately be our Achilles heel in the SCF?

    • Dave says:

      They aren’t weak, but they aren’t Kopitar-Richards-Stoll

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        Maybe weak was the wrong word. Boyle/Moore do their job as very solid 4th line shut down, strong at the dot, penalty killing pivots.

        Our top 3 trio of Stepan, Richards and Brassard are very 1 dimensional though.

        Things they are: offensively skilled, power play apt, puck movers.

        Things they are not: dominant in the face-off circle, big and (aside from Stepan) defensively responsible

  8. The Suit says:

    Without these moves, the Rangers probably don’t get passed Pitt, maybe even Philly. Good post.

  9. Calvin says:

    The best deal was the DelZotto/klein trade. It was a very good addition and a GREAT subtraction. Tortorella destroyed MDZ’s confidence and Klein makes very few mistakes.

  10. Sam says:

    Don’t agree with Carcillo for Asham. He’s always come through in the playoff. Great in the dressing room and he did score a series winning goal last year. He made the team and when the ____ hits the fan he gets sent down. He wasn’t the problem. Especially when the coach tells him he made the team and they want him there.

  11. FL Swarty says:

    Just wanted to share the sentiment of the Tampa community on the MSL trade. Tom Jones wrote a good column about “forgiving” Marty in The Tampa Bay Times. He got bashed and so did Marty.

    It is an interesting read so I though I would share it – Check out the comments – you have to click further to see them but it is worth it.


  12. frank cerbone says:

    Well, the MDZ & Callahan trades killed the Ranger power play. St Louis scored one goal in 19 regular season gms and Klein is never going to be a power play guy.

    MDZ played both sides on defense and a whole lot of ice time when Rangers were out Hagelin, Nash, Callahan, & Staal. That’s how guys like MDZ and a Jasper fasth get to be minus 5 players when Rangers expect them to be star players, when they are not.

    It’s easy to pad your points and your plus/minus when everybody is healthy. However, MDZ & Fasth were asked to do more than they were realistically capable of providing.

    Would Callahan in the playoffs been as productive as At Louis, maybe maybe not? Losing 2 number one draft choices, after having trading a number one last year, and a MDZ who is a former number one hurts.

    I like Klein a lot He’s a 2nd pairing defenseman, like Staal. He almost never takes a penalty, responsible defensively, reasonably physical, and a good fighter when he needs to drop the gloves (beat the crap out of Dorsett once).

    This summer Rangers have Allen & McIlrath on defense, JTMiller, Lindbergh, Fasth, Kristo, &
    Bourque at forward just about ready for the NHL.
    A couple will have to be traded, some wasted in the minors for another year, and maybe a couple promoted. Hopefully, Sather or his replacement
    (if sather wins the cup, he will retire) will make a trade with Buffalo to trade some of our NHL ready prospects for one or two of their three 2nd rd picks.

  13. frank cerbone says:

    Is St Louis worth two number one picks and Callahan; yes, if the Rangers win the Stanley Cup. If not, it’s like the Ryan Clowe deal ie. a number 2 & Number 3 for a guy that was gone after a couple of games.

    Would like to see Rangers trade for a left side defenseman Joe Morrow of Boston. He’s a lot like McDonough, maybe more physical, maybe not as gifted offensively.

    Staal’s ship has sailed; he will never be any more than a 2nd pairing defenseman, and actually I like Klein better in that salary bracket. Maybe a Klein/Stralman pairing would work at less than a Klein/Staal would cost.

  14. Between the Pipes says:

    Good Ridden to MSL… Any “Captian” that can leave their team in the midst of a playoff run isn’t fit to stick in a sick dogs A$$