Aug
23

Could the Rangers trade Mats Zuccarello for help on defense?

August 23, 2016, by
It might be much easier to find a trade partner for Mats Zuccarello than Rick Nash this late in the summer

It might be much easier to find a trade partner for Mats Zuccarello than Rick Nash this late in the summer

Now that the Blueshirts have pulled off another late-summer coup and added coveted prospect Jimmy Vesey to their lineup for the coming season, the club is loaded with forwards and many are wondering if the next domino to fall is a deal for help on defense.

But though the Rangers are well equipped to trade from their excess depth, finding a trade partner will be no easy task. This late in the summer teams have basically assembled the rosters they intend to bring to training camp. Adding free agent scraps is one thing, but making a blockbuster move at this point is extremely rare.

You can point to the Derick Brassard/Mika Zibanejad trade as evidence that teams often discuss moves for weeks and months ahead of time before consummating them, but though the Blueshirts may have floated some hypothetical scenarios, they couldn’t have known that they’d ultimately land Vesey and be in this position.

The popular thought all offseason has been that the team could unload Rick Nash for a standout blueliner – be it Kevin Shattenkirk or one of Anaheim’s slew of blossoming youngsters.

But though Nash remains a star caliber player, he’s also now 32 years old, coming off a disappointing and injury-riddled season, possesses a modified no-trade clause and carries a lofty $7.8 million cap hit with even more dollars actually owed to him.

At base level he’s still a player that all 30 teams in the league would love to have on their roster. But given those factors, the list of teams that could actually pull off a move for Nash is very short. And finding one of those that is able to part with a D-man that would improve the Rangers might be just about impossible, even if New York greases the wheels by eating some of Nash’s salary.

So what other options does the front office have? Well, clearly there has been a concerted effort to get younger up front – so it seems highly unlikely the Blueshirts would part with one of the RFAs they’ve just re-upped. Heck, Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes were part of the allure for Vesey to join the club to begin with.

Mika Zibanejad and Derek Stepan are building blocks and not going anywhere, and the free agents the club just signed – Michael Grabner, Josh Jooris and Nathan Gerbe have very little value. Jesper Fast and Oscar Lindberg could probably be had, but neither would bring back a real impact player.

There’s one more possibility – and it’s an awful one for many to even consider: Mats Zuccarello.

Obviously Zuccarello is a huge fan favorite and an important player to the roster makeup. But he’s about to turn 29 and not as much of a part of the organization’s long-term plans. He’s also on a very reasonable contract with three years remaining at a $4.5 million cap hit – that’s a figure that would be much easier to match with the cost of a D-man the Blueshirts might hope to acquire.

Now as with Nash, dealing Zuccarello would create some problems for New York on the ice. Zuccarello is a vital cog to the power play – which is already a major question mark with Derick Brassard and Keith Yandle gone. Zuccarello is also probably the team’s top proven playmaker – and where the club once had way too many pass-first players, that’s now more of a rare luxury. So it’s not as if moving Zuccarello for defensive help is a no-brainer, but it’s worth weighing the cost-benefit analysis.

Moving Zuccarello would result in fan riot regardless of the return, but Jeff Gorton’s job is to make tough decisions and improve the roster any way possible. At this point, dangling Zuccarello on the trade market might be his only realistic option.

178 comments

  1. Mark says:

    Blasphemy!

  2. pas44 says:

    Interesting post!

    I would trade Mats, Steph, Nash, or just about any forward(s) that could strengthen the back end.

    It comes down to return, would Mats bring back the same as another forward?

    The “G-Man”, my first attempt at a nick name for Gordan, has done a nice job thus far… Let’s see what happens, if anything, prior to camp!

    LGR!!!!!

  3. amy says:

    I don’t see Gorton trading Zucc for this reason he does score goals and he is great on the shootout. but I do see a trade for shattenkirk use either Nash or Steph to get Kevin or see what else is out there

    • Kevin Baumer says:

      Plenty of other goal scorers now on the roster – including the other guy you mentioned, Mr. Nash. Shootout is hardly something you build a team around

      • NorthRanger says:

        It’s not just about scoring the goals…someone has to give the clever passes, and Zuccarello is the best to do just that. Nash would be the trading source…

  4. Walt says:

    Kevin

    Slow day at the office????????????

    I guess if the return is what we need, then the trade will be made, but I’d hold my nose when it gets done !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Kevin Baumer says:

      Would not be pleasant. But there’s a case to be made…

    • Fotiu is God says:

      Hey Coach Walt, Bobby B.: chi è questo mama Luca? E perché è di Kevin così caldo al commercio, Zuke, i nostri semi-italiano/bundle norvegese di amore e di energia?

      Una piccola meraviglia ha richiamato due dozzine di pollice in giù.

      Io dico Bobby B. paga lui una visita a nome dei Cavalieri di Colombo…

      Andiamo Rangers!

      • paulronty says:

        Non so perche Kevin vuole mandare via Zucchie, il piccolo miracolo del monde. Ha diventato matto? Forse lui ha una malattia della testa o forse lui vuole fare arrabiati gli ammiratori di Rangers. Il BOBBY B & DMAC devono fare una visita brutto. Il Zucchie e fondamentale grandissimo!

        • Fotiu is God says:

          Doc Paul: il Mio rispetto per Lei che già era strastopheric ora è arrivato a La Cintura di Kuiper.

          Noi insegneremo queste teste di brocca, e gli anticlericale di McIlrather. Dio benedice.

          -Il Suo capo, Fotiu

          • paulronty says:

            Capo, sto studiare l’italiano sul Internet a Duolingo. Voglio parlare italiano meglio quando uno giorno io e mia moglie visitiamo Italia dove era nato il mio caro padre. Ciao!

            • Walt says:

              Paul

              Maria and I will be departing for Italy again in Sept, and will also go to Dubrovnic for a few days as well. If you need advice on places to visit, just ask, we’ve been back and forth some ten years in a row !!!!!!!!!

        • Fotiu is God says:

          Paulie: Pensa che Eddie-Eddie-Eddie capisce italiano?

          Lui sarebbe la mia scelta più logica fra il BSBers.

      • HARLEMBLUES says:

        The sounds of my youth 118th 2nd and 3rd avenues . Pasty around the corner on 2nd.

        • Walt says:

          Harlemblues, welcome to the paisano club…. We should get together some day for a nice plate of pasta !!!!!!!!!!!! Me, I’m from Naples, came at the age of six, and return to the old country every year since we retired…………

          • Fotiu is God says:

            … And my family came from Trieste-Udine (Mom’s), and Sicily (Dad’s), Walt. The latter, from a village called Vizzini.

            While I won’t be in Italia as you are, I’ll raise a glass of the goods to you and The Mrs tomorrow night from Boston’s North End.

            Then I haul for Toronto to see my son, Nicky. My nine- year old goaltending phenom. Gonna’ talk to Doc Paul about representing him.

            • paulronty says:

              Hey my Mom is from Udine too!!! She was born in Canada but went back to Italy as a child for a time. My dad was born in the Marche(Fano or Ancona, not sure which) and came to Canada at age 17. He was the King Of The Jungle and ran a restaurant(homemade Italian food from Mamma) in Wasaga Beach aka sin city where I spent every summer in bare feet. Hey Fotiu, no problem, hypnotizing goalies is my specialty. Nicky will be impregnable after that!!! Walt, when we go I’ll be sure to consult. Man, they just had some terrible earthquake there I saw this morning.

              • Walt says:

                Paul

                We go to Ancona, my brother in law imports shoes from Italy, and works with a factory there called Stefano Castelli. He travels there three times a year for his orders, and the people are great. We were taken out for dinner the first time we traveled there, and ate an eigth course fish dinner. I asked if it was Christmas Eve, and they laughed at me, because they enjoy there fresh fish regularly, while I can’t get any fresh at all in central Pa.

                I knew we had a reason we clicked together, nice to know both you, and Nicky’s background !!!!!!!!!

            • Walt says:

              Holy shit !!!!

              Maria’s family is from Vizzini, and Scordia, we visited them some 6 years ago. Vizzini is a beautiful little town, very close to Mt Etna, and we drove in from Messina, down to Catania, into Vizzini. The family treated us so wonderfully, I loved them all. My brother in law was friends with the town priest, Father Aldo, who took us on a tour of the old church in town, after climing some 150 steps. That was tough for me, I just had my knee replaced some 4 months earlier. It’s really a small world, maybe your related to her family, the Cavallo’s.

              Never been to Triest, but Udine is way up north, not far from Vennis, and the Austrian border near a town called Vilock, Austria. Been there as well !!!!!!

              • Fotiu is God says:

                Safe travels, Coach.

                Italy’s in my prayers tonight. Woe.

                And this coda: my grandmother Theresa Valente came from Udine on The Lusitania, believe in 1897… borrowed money from what was then called The Black Hand when she arrived in The Bronx.

                That loan became a successful fruit and vegetable stand at Arthur Avenue. That side of the family pretty much anchored around Fordham Road. Pop’s side, Edison Ave.

              • Walt says:

                Nick

                Those are great roots you come from my friend…….They all worked hard for their families, and took pride in their children’s success, as we do ourselves today. Can’t wait to get there in about three weeks !!!!!!!!!

  5. Peter says:

    All of the reasons cited for Zucc being an attractive trade chit argue for retaining him as well. Under those circumstances trading Zucc, while not unthinkable, would require real value in return. I am not a stats guy, but my impression is that Mats makes the players around him better. Therefore, I think Gorton would need a great offer to part with him.

    • Kevin Baumer says:

      Well, yes. But you could make the same case for the other tradable options, too. It’s a question of what maximizes return and where you can afford to take a hit

    • BrooklynVic says:

      No he would need an unthinkable offer because you don’t trade a very productive cog on your team that is coat controlled well for you. It seems he’s expendable by a salary standpoint but from the on ice numbers and the way he’s cost controlled I wouldn’t even think it

    • Walt says:

      Pete

      Very well stated, and agree 100%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

      • Kevin says:

        No argument that Zuc doesn’t have value and is on a good contract. Quite the opposite, but that’s why he can fetch a good return. Expendable? Depends on who’s coming back

    • Mike says:

      Zucc gives 150% every time on the ice. He was on top in points scored last year and provided the spark frequently to get his line and the team to the next level. He is a fan favorite and won the McDonald award last year. I would give up Mark or Girardi before Mats.

  6. Mikeyyy says:

    Nash girardi or Staal no other trades

    No need to trade a good asset who took a home team discount to stay.

  7. Hatrick Swayze says:

    Interesting look. Solid line of logic to name Zuc as a very plausible piece to be dealt. It would upset me very much. Very very much. But I fully agree with your take on how he may make the most sense if the end game is landing us an impact d man.

    Linking this to yesterday’s discussion- that trade right now would be very fruitless unless Staal or Girardi were to be moved or agree to waive their NMC. The reality is that Staal and Girardi take up 2 of 3 spots on who we protect at the expansion draft. McDonagh will be protected with the last spot. Whoeever we were to trade Zuc for would ultimately be exposed next year. So in theory, Zuc makes a tremendous amount of sense given the reality/landscape of the NHL, but I would not expect any wing for defenseman swap unless something happens with Staal or Girardi as well.

    • Kevin Baumer says:

      Unless that someone is Shattenkirk, who, without being under contract for the next season, would not count even though he’d likely re-sign.

      And there’s also the possibility of buying out G or swinging a salary dump deal before then

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        Buying out Girardi is one thing, but trading an established top 6 winger with an affordable contract for a rental is a bad idea. You need to get a younger, cost controlled defensemen if you’re making that deal (and then buy out Girardi to protect the new player in the expansion draft).

  8. Bloomer says:

    Zuc is a very entertaining hockey player to watch. For a team with an one-dimension (fast break) offense, Mats is sorely needed to add some creativity. If the Rangers want trade bait offer up Nash and take back some of his over paid salary. They can afford it.

    • Kevin Baumer says:

      Would be very curious to hear how other teams value Nash vs. Zuc at this point. Eating salary is one thing but there are other aspects to consider

  9. Agentsmith says:

    Not the post I was expecting on this site…. but… u know where I stand with tiny zucchini

    • Fotiu is God says:

      Grab a torch, AgentS… Wanna pitchfork with that?

      You tell me: How do you trade a half Norski/half Italo sub-bantamweight juggernaut who tells Ron Duguay, or Davey Maloney–between periods–with a huge, ridiculously endearing ear-to-ear smile, how much he “Misses Momma’s meatloaf!”

  10. Andy says:

    I would not even entertain this idea unless it was a bigger trade that included Girardi or Staal as part of the package. it’s that simple.
    We really need a puck moving D man(preferably a right handed shot) , but we need at least one of Staal/Girardi out in order to have a spot and cap space to sign whoever we bring in down the road.
    Unfortunately for Zucc he did us a solid by taking the contract he took so he could stay with the team. He could have gotten more if he had gone to UFA. The down side of doing the right thing is; he could very well be traded because he’s a bargain and does not have a no trade.

    • Kevin says:

      Zuc has value, but enough to attach another $5m to and still get something decent back? Not sure about that. Asking any team to take on basically $10m of salary at this point is next to impossible.

  11. 43 says:

    Last two posts have been nothing short of absurd, hyperbolically atypical of BSB. Guess when it’s still summer, when free agency’s over, and when even the Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes are over, nothing left to do but grasp at straws for content. Yet, this recent speculation has been an abrupt and marked shift.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      How is it absurd? No one is advocating to trade Zuc. Just zooming out, looking at the team and saying ‘hey, given a few recent moves, the recent trend of getting younger and the fact that we may still want to address our blueline it looks like Zuc could be a likely candidate to be shopped’ isn’t absurd.

      No one is predicting anything, it’s an exploratory piece. It isn’t speculation of a pending move.

      • 43 says:

        The article answers this question:

        “Zuccarello is a vital cog to the power play – which is already a major question mark with Derick Brassard and Keith Yandle gone. Zuccarello is also probably the team’s top proven playmaker – and where the club once had way too many pass-first players, that’s now more of a rare luxury.”

        You trade from positions of strength to address weaknesses. Yet, a trade should never create a weakness nor further weaken an already ailing part of a team.

        But even though Zuccarello has a bargain of a contract, he’s almost thirty, so we should trade him.

        Yes, it’s pure speculation, but it’s errant speculation. But in the end, does it even matter? Is in nothing more than mere filler content.

        • Kevin Baumer says:

          It’s pretty hard to build a perfect roster with no weaknesses. I think getting a quality D-man on the roster might be a more pressing need than this, but that’s my opinion.

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          No. You are taking leaps here.

          Show me where it says we *should* trade him. That is very different from saying that he could be the odd man out, should the organization look to move a W for a D.

          It is not speculation. Nor is the logic errant.

          If you don’t want filler content, I’d suggest not reading a hockey blog on August 23rd.

          • 43 says:

            That’s the thing though, is this blog almost never posts filler. 99% of the content on this site is killer. Thorough and well-informed and thought out. Yet this article and yesterday’s ridiculous article, which was convinced the Blues would trade Shattenkirk for almost nothing, strikes me as uninformed and lazy.

            This article’s title poses the question, could Zuccarello be traded in order for defensive help? It contemplates some options, then settles on Zuccarello being the likely odd man out, although through the contemplation, the article arrives at this thought, “Zuccarello is a vital cog to the power play – which is already a major question mark with Derick Brassard and Keith Yandle gone. Zuccarello is also probably the team’s top proven playmaker – and where the club once had way too many pass-first players, that’s now more of a rare luxury.” This statement indicates enough reasoning that Zuccarello could not be the odd man out as he is one of the teams most important players. Therefore, this whole article seems extraneous.

            Besides, the obvious trade bait to fetch a defenseman is Rick Nash. Everyone knows that. The article could’ve been called: “Which player is the odd man out in a trade for defensive help?” The ensuing article would’ve been two words: “Rick Nash.”

            • Dave says:

              Simply just sounds like a difference of opinion. This post is Kevin’s, and the above comment is yours.

              • 43 says:

                Part of that comment, the part which makes the strongest case regarding why Zuccarello shouldn’t be traded, belongs to Kevin, though.

              • Dave says:

                Pretty sure Kevin doesn’t want Zucc to be traded. He’s just exploring the option that he might bring back a great return to fix the blue line.

            • Hatrick Swayze says:

              “The popular thought all offseason has been that the team could unload Rick Nash for a standout blueliner – be it Kevin Shattenkirk or one of Anaheim’s slew of blossoming youngsters.
              But though Nash remains a star caliber player, he’s also now 32 years old, coming off a disappointing and injury-riddled season, possesses a modified no-trade clause and carries a lofty $7.8 million cap hit with even more dollars actually owed to him.
              At base level he’s still a player that all 30 teams in the league would love to have on their roster. But given those factors, the list of teams that could actually pull off a move for Nash is very short. And finding one of those that is able to part with a D-man that would improve the Rangers might be just about impossible, even if New York greases the wheels by eating some of Nash’s salary.
              So what other options does the front office have?”

              Thus, this article is born. It isn’t lazy or uninformed.

              It may not have been you, but 2 weeks ago someone said- “enough with the BS Vesey articles, he isn’t coming here, move on!” Well, look at what materialized. Who knows, maybe in 2 months a winger not named Rick Nash gets traded. At that point, might this article no longer be considered uninformed and lazy? I just don’t understand why you’re so salty about an exploratory article with a solid line of logic.

              • 43 says:

                I fail to see a concrete correlation between a potential Zuccarello trade and the Vesey signing. Signing Vesey was a tangible, real world possibility. Simply because a few comments expressed doubt that he would sign here and then he ended up signing here doesn’t speak to the credibility of the blog, but to the credibility of reality. I do however recall a few articles published on BSB also expressing doubt about a Vesey signing…

                With the Zuc trade, I jus’t cannot see that as solid logic for a few reasons. Aside from dedicating too much cap to the defensive unit and creating a logjam that wouldn’t “let the kids play,” primarily, a Zuc trade will just exacerbate the offensive woes this team still has to account for even with Zuc in the lineup.

            • Mike says:

              Exactly on target. Agree

    • Dave says:

      This isn’t speculation at all. It’s just spitballing that the best value to address the blue line issues could come from Zucc.

  12. Stranger Nation says:

    Zucc, Nash and Klein are the best trade chips which means there are plenty of reasons to keep them but their relative value on the market given Commish Gorton with some value to move. Huge Klein fan, less so Zucc and Nash needs to go.
    .
    This is not a Stanley Cup winning team regardless of the Henk ‘window’. Moving these assets for 1st pair backline help for McD and younger top 6 forward talent is a smart move.

  13. rangermom says:

    Gotta give to get. I would trade ANYONE on the roster for the right player(s) coming back. And this makes sense, if unpopular. Besides, all Zucc’s BFFs are gone, anyway. Who wants Sad Zuccarello wandering aimlessly around the ice? (Kidding, people.)

  14. Irishguy42 says:

    If the trade value is good, I’d do it. No question.

    I love Zucc, but it’s a business. If the Rangers end up being all the better post-trade, then it needs to happen.

  15. ken says:

    Doesn’t make much sense to me to give up assets to acquire a guy we can sign as a free agent next off season! He has already said that he doesn’t want to play anywhere else but here!

    • Kevin Baumer says:

      That’s a leap – it’s more there have been whispers about his preference. But again, that’s the challenge facing the NYR front office. Get younger and extend the window, but still win NOW. Simply waiting a year as Hank grows older isn’t necessarily something they’re comfortable with

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        “Simply waiting a year as Hank grows older isn’t necessarily something they’re comfortable with”

        – That may be true, but I think they’ve also learned a few lessons with the “win now” deadline trades they’ve made the past few years. Just the impression I get watching the team operation this offseason. Zucc for Shattenkirk just doesn’t make much sense.

        Good asset management means trading a quality cost controlled asset for another quality cost controlled asset.

  16. HARLEMBLUES says:

    Here’s a FCKN trade for you Stepan. Trade Stepan. You trade Stepan,DannyG and Staal and get fair value. This team would be heading down CUP lane. We need a STUD center and Mika may turn out to be that guy. Stepan is not. You don’t win the CUP without STUD center fact check that. Trade MZA yeah right . Trade the heart and soul of the team that’ still produces at a fair market value. This team needs more MZA like players. It’s called BALLS,SKILLS and I can SKATE. Get rid of Stepan because this team doesn’t win a CuP with him being our number one center and he’s over paid. Trade MZA yeah right. Be creative and get G and Staal out of here. Benjainm Buttons They are not. TRADE STEP.

    • SalMerc says:

      I am with you 1000%. If Hayes is a center, and Vesey is a center and Big Z is a center, then why rid ourselves of a fan fave and a passing genius like Zucc? Rid ourselves of the one-dimensional, stone-handed #2 center (generous rating here) we have, couple him with Stall or Girardi and bring back a legit top line defender. This is the guy you move, not Zucc.

      This site shows way too much love for Stepan, instead of a heart and soul guy who give 110% every game like Zucc!

      • Fotiu is God says:

        Grab a torch, Sal.

        Here’s a pitchfork.

        Feel that?.. Solid, one-piece construction. Maple. Believe it’s a Louisville Slugger.

    • paulronty says:

      Ya, I’m with you too, but it may still happen since apparently Minny would love to acquire Stepan. G-Man might also be able to include Staal in the deal, since his brother is there now aqnd it’s close to home in Thuder Bay. Never know if they are still talking.

      • Fotiu is God says:

        True dat, Doc.

        You and I have both been on board with moving Stepan home. So long as its Marco Scandella–and Jason Zucker?–coming this way. Perhaps part of more complex, multi-team transaction; say Nash to St. Lou, with Marc Staal rejoining brother Eric.

        Dumba’s clearly off the table.

        • HARLEMBLUES says:

          Ab but what about Nino ?

          • Fotiu is God says:

            I’m lining up with you, Blues.

            But Nino’s got all sorts of serious upside. Unless one of these halfwits, say Paul Holmgren, Bobby Clarke, or Garth Snow takes over as The Wild GM, Nino’s staying put.

            By the by, didn’t Snow choose him, as Isle’s GM a pick before ours?

            Oh, hey man, need to address more pressing matters: can I fit you for a torch and pitchfork? What do you take in a pitchfork, Blues: 36-ounce?

            I got this Barry Bonds pitchfork. Its juiced. On closeout.

        • paulronty says:

          I’m trying to remember but I think I originally proposed Stepan, Klein & a 3rd for Coyle, Scandella, Tuch & a 2nd. So we just switch Staal for Klein & voila the trade is on.

    • bernmeister says:

      Agree we need upgrade besides Stepan earns NMC after this year, should trade before he gets injured so we are not effed.

      Need to get younger, cheaper.
      Must strategize to avoid effects of expansion draft

      Trade NMCs – to be discussed later
      try to get ELCs exempt assets

      should be Stepan + picks to Car for Pesce + Murphy + picks +

      Trade McD + for trouba + (we win on flip of 2 picks also), flip him to buf in a big deal that does
      Trouba + Staal + for Reinhart + EKane +

      Trouba gives buf an option re: Ristolainen
      we move NMC Staal, get another 1C

      gamble on LD
      w/Skjei = next McD
      Holden
      Graves

      assuming no pickup

      trade vets keep younger core

  17. mattstake says:

    you forgot to mention he’s the toughest guy on the team too. Fans love this guy, no way they trade him.

    • Kevin Baumer says:

      Not sure fan enthusiasm for a player has much impact on the front office’s efforts to improve. See Dubinsky, Brandon. Leetch, Brian.

      • Ray says:

        At least here, Dubinsky was almost a pariah when dealt. Yes, he had been popular (as had been Girardi and Staal), but there was lots of griping about his salary.

        And Leetch’s career was essentially behind him and the team was truly broken.

        Of course, the Rangers also traded Jean Ratelle and Brad Park.

      • Dave says:

        Callahan, Ryan.

        • Fotiu is God says:

          Fotiu, Nicky.

          Hospodar, Boxcar.

          Amonte, Tony (a.k.a. The Buffet Assassin).

          DeBrusk, Louie.

        • paulronty says:

          Andy Bathgate & Eddie “tears in his eyes” Giacomin–Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            November 2, 1975. As Bill Chadwick said to Jim Gordon, “Jim, I’ve never seen anything more emotional in all my years in sports!”

  18. paulronty says:

    I think G-Man will wait until training camp to see how the D performs in preseason to decide if he has any other moves he wants to make, unless he’s still talking to Minny(Richter?)

    • pas44 says:

      thats 1 for G-man.

      and up top I was;t married to dealing Steph, Kevin needs to drink less coffee. All I was mentioning is, if a package with Steph brings back something better then other deals, perhaps…

      I like Steph, but he is missing something in terms of being the #1 sort of guy…

      all I’m saying is kick the tires on it…

      G-MAN!

      ya heard it hear first… 😉

      LGR!!!!

    • Richter1994 says:

      3 guys have been mentioned in chatter for trade: Nash, Zuc, and Stepan. Will it happen? May be not, but they have been “discussed” for sure.

  19. Ray says:

    No, no, no, no

    1. So you want to trade from forward depth to address the defense. We have a baseline for that. See what Edmonton got for Taylor Hall.

    2. There are stats that say the Ranger defense stinks and stats that say it is fine. As it stands, the Rangers have seven NHL-quality dmen and Graves in the pipeline. JFTR, I thought the Rangers were thin up front before the Vesey signing.

    3. In my no doubt misguided opinion, Zuccarello is the second most valuable Ranger (the first is obvious and the third is Lundqvist).

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      The first being McDonagh?

      • Ray says:

        Of course. I think almost all rational Ranger fans who don’t place Hank #1 would choose McDonagh.

        Interestingly, if you use goal-based stats instead of shot-based stats (and to do this exclusively is not recommended), there is a good argument that Ryan was the best defenseman in the NHL last year at even strength.

    • Dave says:

      Which stats say the defense is fine? I must have missed that.

      • Ray says:

        5 on 5, as a pair, McDonagh-Girardi were +1.31 goals per 60. Among pairs that played 500+ minutes, they narrowly beat out Stralman-Hedman for the top spot. Using GF%, they narrowly trailed Stralman-Hedman and were merely 2nd out of 53.

        And yes, using Corsi%, they were 53rd. Making sense of this is not so simple as saying some stats are enlightened and some are dumb.
        In a sense, GF% tells us what happened and Corsi% tells us what should have happened (and by implication what should happen in the future). But when the indicators are so disjointed, one has to wonder.

        And when the team’s two goaltenders turn in roughly the same performance three years in a row, it isn’t just the tender keeping the puck out of the net.

        • HARLEMBLUES says:

          That’s why you look at the TAPE and not stats. Unless you make up a stat to show your guy should get a huge raise. Stats are full of SH💥T.

    • Kevin says:

      Because Edmonton made a dumb deal all Forward for Defense trades are now a mistake? Not sure I see that logic

      • Ray says:

        First of all, there is no doubt that good right dmen are in short supply. Now Edmonton wanted a right dman to join Klepfbom on their first pair and were willing to deal Taylor Hall. They made what was in their opinion the best possible trade. Had an obviously better choice been available, they would have taken it.

        Trade value is a funny thing. Occasionally trading Lundqvist has been mentioned and it has been pointed out that the Rangers would not get much back. This seems absurd, but it is a simple fact of life that goalies aren’t worth much. Meanwhile, top flight right dmen are like gold.

  20. Richter1994 says:

    Kevin, as unpopular as this article is, you are spot on. Zucc has high value based on his contract and the fact that he does not have any trade restrictions makes him a trade possibility.

    My gut tells me that Nash is the guy to go if the opportunity to upgrade the back end presents itself, but Nash’s contract is a tough pill for other teams to swallow, especially at 32 years of age and a lot of mileage on him.

    Don’t be surprised if it is Zucc. I am not saying it will happen but don’t think the Rangers are not exploring the possibility. Zucc is not “untouchable” by any means.

    Like it or not, just the reality of the situation. Good article Kevin as it is outside the box thinking but realistic thinking nonetheless.

    • Richter1994 says:

      I think some of you have to differentiate between opinion and reality.

      • Kevin says:

        Thank you! You’d think I was the biggest Zucc hater in the world, which is the farthest thing from the truth

        • Richter1994 says:

          Kevo, you wrote about something that is not as far fetched as people think. It is DEFINITELY a possibility if the right deal is out there.

          Who saw the Brass/Zib deal coming? No one, and that took a month to put together.

  21. Andrew W says:

    I’d be much more perceptive to the idea of trading Zucc for D help if i didn’t just spend close to $200 on a Zuccarello jersey lmao. Potentially silly personal financial decisions aside, dangling Zuc to see what sort of return he’d garner makes sense. I’d be particularly open to trading him if we could package one of the overpaid traffic cones with him in a deal that brings back a legit upgrade on the blue line.

    • Andrew W says:

      And emphasis on the “dangling” him makes sense. I realized after re-reading my post i may have come across as if i’m advocating trading him, which is definitely not the opinion I hold. But to me there is no such thing as an untradable asset, and if you get a big enough haul for a guy that makes sense for your team, then trade him. It would need to be one hell of a deal though for me to be happy about parting ways with Zuc.

  22. Greg B says:

    I know its unpopular but I think the front office and AV still have the “last kick at the can” mentality. To me this means they are going to let the first quarter/half of the season play out and see where we are.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      That was last year. Then they traded Brassard for Zinebajad. Tack on the departures of Boyle, Moore and E Staal along with the additions of Buchevnich and Vesey….and we can ascertain that mgmt will have a very different outlook with personnel decisions this year as opposed to the last few.

      • Kevin says:

        That’s been basically every year over the last 3, it’s the NYC mentality. But I while they are always going for it, they’ve done a great job balancing a competitive roster now while adding plenty of young talent up front with an eye toward the future. Hopefully, that extends this window.

  23. Blue Seat says:

    Anybody able to name a defense-man that is worth trading for Zuc, and actually might be available?

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Both Calgary and Anaheim have blue line depth that perhaps could make for a realistic trading partner. Names of interest: Brodie, Hamilton / Lindholm, Vantanen, Fowler, Theodore

      Not necessarily 1 for 1 swaps, but potential players of interest off the top of my head.

      Nashville also has a sexy blueline. Guys not named Josi or Subban like Ellis perhaps.

    • Richter1994 says:

      Might be available? These “might” be available for the right price:

      Shatty
      Trouba
      Dumba
      Ellis

      • Richter1994 says:

        and before you jump all over me for Dumba and Ellis, just remember that both Minny and Nashville are looking for more scoring badly. Zucc would be a very comfortable contract for both teams and you have to give to get.

  24. Ryan says:

    BLASPHEMOUS MOCKERY AND UTTER DEBAUCHERY!! I have been a Rangers Fan for almost 25 years..THEY LOSE ZUCC, THEY LOSE ME!! SORRY TO MY IDOLS OF THE ’94 CUP TEAM, BUT IT WOULD BE INSANITY TO MOVE ZUCC.. WHOEVER WROTE THIS BLOG IS A MORON. I DON’T GIVE A BLEEP ABOUT “HYPOTHETICALS!!” 29 IS NOT OLD..EVEN IN HOCKEY. LOOK AT PEOPLE LIKE HOWE, CHELIOS, BORQUE, AND JAGR, JUST TO NAME A FEW..

    • Fotiu is God says:

      Grab a torch. Join the mob.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      So Underscore or Rock or whoever is actually named Ryan. Cue evil laugh (muuwuaaa muuuwuuaaaaa). Begin triangulation process now…..

      • Fotiu is God says:

        One thing I appreciate about you, Hatrick, is the intellectual heft/Big Picture Perspective you bring to bear.

        Stick tap.

    • Dave says:

      You weren’t mad, you were just talking in all caps.

    • LIRangersFan88 says:

      You’ll be watching opening night if they trade Zucc. Everyone is tradable for the right deal. That’s why we are fans and not GM’s.

  25. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    First of all, kudos to Kevin on a brilliantly thought out approach. I’m not sure why anyone would object to the article per se. I mean, it’s August, what else is there to do other than speculate?

    And I completely agree with RangersMom, I’d entertain trading anyone that can make the team better. No one, other than those who simply aren’t moveable due to NMCs, should be considered off limits.

    But that being said, as much as I like Zuc, I just don’t know if he is as valued around the league as the Rangers value him. He had amazing season last year in terms of his stats. His courage and determination in coming back from a near fatal injury was amazing and inspiring. But was last season a career year? Would you, as a rival GM, project his performance over the next few seasons to be better than last year, or perhaps a little worse? If I’m a rival GM, I’d be thinking the latter. Objectively speaking, my hunch is most GMs wouldn’t trade us assets back that would justify trading him IF the goal is to get better for this season.

    However, if, at the deadline we are well out of playoff contention and perhaps you can trade Zuc to a contender for draft picks, that would be a different story. Again, I could be completely wrong about this, but I think he’s more valuable to the Rangers than he would be elsewhere.

    I also think paulronty is absolutely correct when he says that Gorton may be waiting to see how things play out in camp before making any other moves. I’ve been adamant in saying that I doubt seriously that Girardi and Staal will be moved, and in fact I believe they both will have significant bounce back seasons.

    But let’s say in camp, some of the younger guys simply outplay them. AV and Gorton might say to them at that point…”look, it doesn’t look like you will be getting as much playing time as you once did. If I can find a trade partner to an organization you’d be willing to go to, would you accept?” In that case, it’s certainly possible that depending on how camp goes, some trades of significance could happen in camp. So, I agree with Paul on this.

    Where I continue to disagree and dig in my heels is on Stepan. Of course, if the right deal is out there, I repeat what I and Mom said before….anyone is tradeable for the right return. But I’m sorry, Stepan is far more valuable than many of you are giving him credit for. He’s only 26….barely hitting his prime. The Rangers were absolutely awful when he was injured in late November-December, and I don’t think that was a coincidence at all. If he can stay healthy, I see him having a real big season and take a big “step” forward–maybe to star status. So it would have to be one heck of a return in my view to part with Stepan.

    • paulronty says:

      OK Eddie, so what would that return look like, say it’s the Wild?

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        Good question Paul. I must confess, I’ve always been awful when it comes to proposing speculative trades, especially involving teams I don’t follow all that closely like the Wild.

        I think you and others are better at this than I am. I’d be interested in your proposal and then I can possibly counter from there.

        • paulronty says:

          You live in Minnesota(right?) & you don’t know about the Wild? My proposal is above at 4:47, see what you think.

    • Ray says:

      IIRC, Dave posted something about quality passes and Zuke was one of the top players in the league. If anything, Zuccarello is undervalued.

      That being said, as I noted above, look what Taylor Hall brought in trade. The Rangers have McDonagh and Skjei on the left. The Rangers can surely got a top flight right Dman for Zuke – if they throw in Lundqvist and Hayes.

    • Kevin says:

      Eddie – great post here. I think you might be right that Zucc’s value is not quite as high as we expect. Same goes for Nash – and many other beloved Blueshirts.

      Still can’t see why anyone would even think about trading Step. Whether you like him or not, trading your 1C and cutting the center depth to Zbad and Hayes – both with lots of development to do – makes little sense. MAYBE before Brass was jettisoned

  26. Peter says:

    Trade freakin Nash. He was brought to the Rangers to help win a Cup. He failed miserably. Hate the guys game. Loser

    • Cam says:

      Larry Brooks who I very very very rarely agree with, did accurately summarize Nash’s disasterous last year. Nash has been on the decline for at least two seasons it’s time to dump him and get a defenseman with all that money!!!!

      • paulronty says:

        Two seasons ago he scored 42 goals, that’s hardly a decline. If he is having a bad season this year, then he can be traded at the deadline, but I wouldn’t do it now. He’s a great player in my view and it’s a team game so one guy doesn’t win a Cup. We got to the Finals with him & almost got there again, and last year, it was a short series, but he was the best Ranger on the ice.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Totally disagree. While I’m open to trading Nash, and while it’s true he’s hasn’t been what we had hoped when we traded for him, he’s still arguably our best two way player. If the return isn’t really big, we blow a huge hole into this lineup.

      Again, like in the Zuc conversation, if the bottom drops out on the season and Nash can be traded for future assets, than that’s different.

      And, let’s remember, the guy two seasons ago scored 40+ goals. He had an off year due primarily to a long term injury. I’d bet good money on him bouncing back to at least 35 goals this season if he’s healthy.

      With that kind of production, I’m not trading him UNLESS the return is too good to turn down.

      • Bloomer says:

        Can Rick Nash have a bonce back year, yes possible. If he doesn’t, a 7.8 million cap space is a hefty price to pay for a 15 goal scoring 2 way player,,

    • Richter1994 says:

      Full disclosure, I’m a huge Nash fan. I think you’re being a little harsh. I get the narrative because he was brought here to win the Cup, no question. And no argument that his playoff “production” has not been stellar (yet if that shot does not go off the shaft of Voynov’s stick then all of those playoff complaints go away).

      But when healthy, he’s a complete player and the best player on the Rangers not named Lundqvist, by far. One of the best scorers 5 on 5 and plays on the PP and PK. When on his game, he’s a top 25 player in the league, easily.

      The question is whether this past year was an anomaly or the start of a real decline. Hard to say. 2 years ago he has 42 goals and played in 79 games so we hope it’s the former.

      All that being said, if the Blues accept Nash for Shatty and BERGLUND (lol) then you make the deal without even thinking about it because the Rangers are not winning anything with this current D corps. And that’s a fact.

  27. Brendan says:

    The great thing about this blog is you take EVERYTHING into consideration, even if that includes the possibility of Zuccarello being traded. Obviously trading him is not a suggestion in this article, but a possible outcome to consider. No need to riot.

  28. Peter says:

    Eat some of Nash’s contract and send him packaging

  29. CAM says:

    Gorton has to be out of his mind! He already blew a hole in the top scoring line when he traded Brassard, and now he’s considering Zuccarello… there goes the fleeting hope that the insanity ended when Sather finally got out of the way…

  30. Willie says:

    Keep Zucs. Trade Nash, Stepan, Henrik, Girardi, Staal,

  31. Peter says:

    Over the last few years Mats Zuccarello has become one of my all-time favorite skaters. After the very serious stuff that he’s been through he continues to play like a true professional. He’s one of the smallest guys in the game with the biggest heart, not only for his level of play but how he donates his off time to help out with youth hockey among other credits. I’d be sorely disappointed to see him go but sadly that’s the nature of professional sports. I really and truly hope that it doesn’t come to that but he’s earned my full admiration that will stand the test of time whether he’s with the Broadway Blues or not. Mats Zuccarello. You’re a great player and all around great person.

  32. Jak says:

    Offering Zuccarello for trade most likely would cause the power play to suffer,if they want to create a better deal unloading a combination of Nash and Girardi may entice a greater opportunity at getting the defenseman we really need as well as opening up more cap space for future use

    • Richter1994 says:

      how’s this for a 1st PP group?

      McD and Zib on the points
      Kreider-Hayes-Miller

      • Douglas Schwartz says:

        Don’t know about Hayes at center. Need a guy that can win faceoffs in the zone. Losing a faceoff kills at least 15 off the pp time.

        • Richter1994 says:

          Not disputing what you’re saying (the Rangers lose them all at the start of the PPs anyway) but I want a guy that has quick hands to put back rebounds, and Hayes can do that. Put him down low on the PP with Kreider.

          Rangers near the bottom of the league in 2nd chance scoring chances and 2nd chance goals. They were a team that scored a lot off their transition game, which is not always sustainable, especially in the playoffs where garbage goals rule (makes sense since they have scoring droughts in the playoffs).

  33. Jak says:

    Maybe we could trade Gorton away for future considerations,wouldn’t that be great

  34. NorthRanger says:

    I feel that trading Zuccarello this season is no option. There are some young players in the team now that could benefit a lot playing with a clever player as Zucca is. He is a leader on the ice playing with the biggest Ranger heart in many, many years. Should the Rangers trade players there are many others that can be used in decent trades. Nash and Girardi f.ex. Nash is expensive and do not deliver steady enough. Girardi is too slow now, even though he is superb in the PK’s. Those two might bring in a very good defender and also maybe a good pick later on. Young teams like Buffalo, Colombus and Edmonton might use players like that. Zuccarello STAYS!!! 🙂

  35. CTfan says:

    What does it matter who they get to play D. AV will still use Girardi to drag down McDonagh, and probably run Stall out on the second pair.

  36. magoo says:

    I find this idea utterly daft. You have a bargain in Zucc for $4.5m and he’s currently the best player on the team after Hank (and w/ Brass’s goal total gone). What comparable defenseman is anyone going to find anywhere in the $4m cap hit vicinity?! We couldn’t keep Yandle for that. Not even in the KHL!! No, we have to take a major beating and unload Nash. Get that salary off the books and be aggressive in free agency for a legit top 4 (top 2) defender. The only way the other scenario happens is an opportunity at the trade deadline and Zucc having a bad season…in which case the deal likely STILL doesn’t happen because forwards are a dime a dozen and top 4 defenseman are scarce and command $$$. I agree w/ another blog that said we pretty much have to go with what we’ve got and hope the young centers play 2 way. I’d also say a big season from Nash can always be a game changer. He scores 30+ goals and we go to the show.

  37. Barry says:

    Trade Stepan for defense. At the same time it opens up possibility for Jensen,
    Kovacs, Nieves, or Stromwall to gain ground. Zuc & Nash too valuable to lose.

    • Richter1994 says:

      none of the guys you mentioned play center, except for Nieves and he’s not an NHLer IMO. who replaces Stepan? unless you move Hayes up, Vesey plays 3rd line C until Lindberg comes back, with Jooris at 4th line C.

      Makes them much weaker down the middle IMO.

  38. Barry says:

    JT Miller would make an excellent center. I assumed that the big question was ‘Who is going to play defense?’ Hoping the Rangers, and this is going to be one very exciting team this year, a great Rangers team I suspect, can get a move on the defense problem and give Hank a break.

    • Richter1994 says:

      I think they view Miller as a forward now. He’s good at going into the corners to get the puck from opponents.

  39. LIRangersFan88 says:

    Yikes, thank god some of you people are just fans and not actually involved in the organization.

    • Barry says:

      Yikes, thank god some of us people are just fans and not involved in the organization.

  40. don't write anymore says:

    Maybe we can trade your ass somewhere so we don’t have to read this crap