Musings: Trade deadline eveFebruary 28, 2017, by
– Washington really came out of nowhere to land Kevin Shattenkirk. And good for the Caps – just as the Rangers have been frenetically trying to capitalize on Henrik Lundqvist’s remaining years, Washington has been trying to finish the job with Alex Ovechkin. The Rangers were surely in this, but in the end they may prove to be smart allowing Washington to sacrifice future assets while still ultimately landing Shattenkirk this summer for another run next year. The reported cost of first- and second-round draft picks along with prospect Zach Sanford isn’t absurd, but clearly it was more than Jeff Gorton was comfortable paying. Kudos to him for drawing a line – now we’ll see if it all works out.
– The question is, do the Rangers now change their plans? The prevailing favorite just landed the highest impact player of the deadline. Is anyone in the Eastern Conference other than the Penguins confident enough they can go toe-to-toe with Washington that they want to splurge assets on mediocre talent? It might not be the most sensible arms race.
– I completely understand the logic of listening to offers for Michael Grabner and it’s true the Blueshirts could probably get a king’s ransom for the 26-goal scorer. But does that sound like the modus operandi for New York? Even with the Caps landing Shattenkirk New York is all-in, and will be until Henrik Lundqvist is gone. Teams would be offering prospects and picks for Grabner and that’s just not what the Blueshirts are looking for right now. Grabner has major trade value, but he’s also a critical piece to what’s a solid playoff team. I think it’s more likely the Rangers are looking for ways to keep Grabner in the fold for at least another season as his speed has really given the team another dimension. And if it’s looking inevitable that Grabner will end up in Las Vegas, then the Rangers might cash out in June for a lesser but still substantial package.
– Other than Shattenkirk, the trade targets I’ve been discussing over the last month (Michael Stone, Cody Franson, Dennis Wideman, Ryan Murphy, Dmitry Kulikov) have been extremely underwhelming. But as always happens during deadline week, some unexpected names have begun to circulate. There are now whispers that Carolina might deal Justin Faulk or Dallas might move John Klingberg. Neither of those is at all likely, but as Star Wars taught us – “there’s always a bigger fish.”
– I don’t think Larry Brooks’ report on Sunday is at all surprising – of course everyone wants J.T. Miller with the year he’s having. Miller can be had as anyone else can – but it’d be in a deal that immediately solves New York’s defensive woes with a cost controlled top pair D-man – and then some. I highly doubt anyone’s offering that.
– Obviously it’s hard to look ahead to the offseason with any clarity when we don’t know how this year will play out or even what will happen this week. But it seems like a good bet the Blueshirts will need to shave money off the cap and will be spending significant cash on a defensive makeover. That combined with expansion draft complications means New York will have some tough decisions to make. Presumably one of Grabner, Oscar Lindberg or Jesper Fast will be the Knights’ selection, but if the Rangers commit to revamping the defense, then using a Miller – or a more expensive contract like Derek Stepan or Rick Nash – as trade bait could create some fireworks while allowing the Blueshirts to keep another one of their depth forwards.
– Kevin Klein’s absence from the lineup over the weekend was apparently injury related, but Adam Clendening’s continued strong play has not gone unnoticed and assuming New York brings in external help, Klein appears to be the odd man out. I’d think he’s worth at least a third-round pick, if not a bit more given his affordable contract and additional year of term remaining.
– It seems as though the Ducks will play out the season before sorting out their issues on defense, but if I were Gorton, that would still be the team I’d be looking to poach from. Anaheim is doomed with expansion and has a comical number of good young defenders – a match shouldn’t be hard to find.
1) What would you expect back for Grabner if the Rangers did dangle him on the market?
2) Would you have matched the Capitals’ deal for Shattenkirk?
3) Who will ultimately be the newest Blueshirt(s) tomorrow?