Addressing Bob McKenzie’s “judiciously sell” comments

Around this time yesterday morning, Bob McKenzie was asked if the Rangers should be buyers or sellers at the deadline. His answer was what you’d expect:

This should come as no surprise to you, if you’ve been paying attention to the current situation of the team. The Blueshirts are a bubble team, where a shrewd few moves –and a few ballsy roster decisions– could turn them into a legitimate contender. Knowing James Dolan, that’s probably the route they will take.

Addressing Dolan’s likely preferred approach first, it makes sense on the macro level. In today’s NHL, a team needs to be “somewhat good” and then get a big swing in puck luck –i.e.: get hot– during the playoffs to make a run. With Henrik Lundqvist in net and the Blueshirts’ style of play and skill level, that’s not out of the realm of possibility.

That said, buying at the deadline is not the right move for the Rangers, and McKenzie hit the nail on the head, as per usual. The Blueshirts have had a hole at center all year, one that cannot be filled by David Desharnais or Paul Carey, despite how great those stories are this year. If Kevin Hayes is the shutdown 3C, then the Rangers need an offensive minded 2C, and neither of those guys fit the bill. That’s the first hole.

The second hole is one created by the Chris Kreider injury. His shoes are near impossible to fill, as there are maybe a handful of players in the league that have his combination of size, speed, strength, and skill. Now, instead of just needing a 2C, which can be had, they need a pair of top-six forwards.

The third hole is a coach/GM created hole, where the Rangers are playing a less than optimal defensive group. Part of that is on Jeff Gorton, who didn’t put coach Alain Vigneault in a situation where he had to play one of the kids. The other part is on Vigneault, who for some reason still views Nick Holden as a top pairing defenseman, despite spending good money on a guy who can fit that bill if given time with Ryan McDonagh.

And yes, a part of this is on the players for playing so poorly. And a part of this is on the system for being predictable and easily countered. Long story short, there’s more than one reason why the Rangers bleed quality chances.

So that brings us back to the “judiciously sell” comments. The Rangers have three intriguing rentals that could fetch a good amount in trades. Rick Nash, if the Rangers retain salary (I see no reason why they wouldn’t), should fetch a first rounder at a minimum. Michael Grabner’s amazing run of goals means he will likely fetch the same. Holden should be able to fetch something as well, since he’s a “top pairing defenseman” in New York.

Considering the relatively barren wasteland that is the Rangers’ system, a sell-off and re-tooling is the most logical approach. It worked for the Yankees, who sold off veterans, re-built the farm, and then actually made the playoffs the following year. They committed to the kids, and it worked. The Blueshirts have, at the very least, a pair of kids (likely more) who could feasibly make the jump next year. Why not give them a chance?

The only thing that would get in their way would be their reluctance and stubbornness in forcing a playoff appearance. After all, they’ve missed the playoffs just once since The Lockout, Part 2TM. If the goal is to make more money, expect the Blueshirts to be buyers. If the long-term future is the focus, the Rangers should be sellers.

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38 thoughts on “Addressing Bob McKenzie’s “judiciously sell” comments

  • Jan 12, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Most things Dolan touches turns to crap. Rangers will never break out and win again ( a Cup) unless they re-load and commit to building a pipeline of talent that is home grown. Nash is clearly on the downside and having a miserable year. IF you can….I would take a couple players and a 2nd rounder. No one is giving us a 1 for him. The Bruins …in 2 years…have been completely remade with a great blend of youth, speed and vets like Marchand-Bergeron-Chara and Kreiji. And oh…..Cassidy has no fear in playing the young guys and when they make mistakes are not sent to the 4th ring to watch. Bruins are a fun, fast team and they stunk it up over the last 2 years to clean themselves of guys who no longer fit and loaded on picks. Lets just get on with it as now we seem to have a leg in the future and one in the past and that means we are peeing on ourselves.

    • Jan 12, 2018 at 2:50 pm


      “Cassidy has no fear in playing the young guys and when they make mistakes are not sent to the 4th ring to watch”

      Oh how true this statement is, no need to add anything to it…….

  • Jan 12, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    This team is not built for the cup ! Yes this team should be blown up. Look hard to see if we can bring The goalie from Russia at the end of this KHL season. Buy out the last year of his deal and now see what Hank can bring on the market. Drop AV and bring in a young analytic coach and bring in as many young players as possible and get rid of as many aging players 26 and over that we can dump and get draft choices and young players .

    • Jan 12, 2018 at 12:48 pm

      Overkill … and most clubs that are real contenders already have their number 1 goalie. It would take a real fortuitous change of circumstances to make a Hank trade truly viable at the deadline. Besides don’t expect Shestyorkin to be bought out as it would be cost prohibitive (St. Petersburgh is a rich team).

    • Jan 12, 2018 at 12:49 pm

      Hank has a full NMC. He will never waive it, certainly not in the short term. He has a massive contract that few if any team could take on. What you are suggesting as a 0.00000000001% chance of happening.

    • Jan 12, 2018 at 2:07 pm

      Hanks the goalie for at least 3 more years grasshopper

    • Jan 12, 2018 at 2:57 pm

      There are hockey deals to make a team better. There are deals to dump salary. There are deals to build for the future.

      But selling off your most popular and marketable player doesn’t work out.
      It’s like an idiotic article Volman wrote on ESPN, that Toronto should trade Austin, because the return they’ll get would stock the team up for years.

      Its like saying, Pens should trade Crosby, and that should get them back on track. It’s not going to happen.

      • Jan 12, 2018 at 8:29 pm

        Trading the only player that helps you to win games cannot bring back the equal value to win as many games.

        In other words, trading one goalie to bring back 4 players who will not win as many games as the one goalie does, would be an extremely dumb trade.

        I agree with you 1 million percent.

    • Jan 12, 2018 at 8:26 pm

      I think that any Ranger fan that even suggests that Hank be traded should be banned from Ranger blogs for life.

      No offense intended Al.

  • Jan 12, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    If I’m selling then I’m selling Nash, Holden and DD (if Holden and DD have enough value, otherwise keep them). I’m using Boo as my 4th line center and expecting Andersson to come over and man the 3rd line the best he can, moving Hayes up to the 2nd line (the alternative being I bring up Chytil or give Holland a shot). I expect Kreider to be ready for the last month of the season and either Anthony D or Pionk called up. Kampfer isn’t great, but we can live with him on a 3rd pairing).

    I’m not saying this will work and it’s open to change, but I believe it’s imperative we sign Grabner to a multiyear contract because otherwise we’re looking at a repeat of the Hagelin situation (where Hayes became less effective and the team overall suffered). Nash however is just too valuable not to trade, it has to be done and like Dave says he has to be worth a 1st rounder … (dare I say a 1st and a 2nd or a 3rd at least).

    If we’re buying, the price has to be limited to ONE second rounder MAX (assuming we get a 1st for Nash) … and no old coots please.

    All that said, we’ll probably just buy come the deadline out of the misconception that we’re one piece away. Reality is you have to be more than a bubble playoff team to be that close where making a deadline deal will put you over the top. The history of deadline deals pretty much bears that out, 9 times out of 10 they don’t achieve the desired effect.

  • Jan 12, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Here the question –

    1. can Rangers get to PO without Nash and Grabs?
    2. can Rangers make Nash producing at least a little bit more to get fair price for him?

  • Jan 12, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    I’ll go back to what I said the other day. It’s too early to make that call in either direction. Is this team flawed? Absolutely. But is there a team in the Metro we can’t get past right now if everyone is healthy and clicking? I’d say no.

    Much the same thing was being said four years ago about the Rangers chances, and the team got to within 3 wins of the Cup.

    Again, the next seven weeks will dictate the proper course of action.

    • Jan 12, 2018 at 1:19 pm

      That was a better team that had some difficulty transitioning to AV’s system — although I have to agree that there isn’t one team in the Metro that seems insurmountable … in fact I would say that for the whole League this year. For whatever reason TB and Vegas seem beatable in a 7 game series, especially if Hank plays the way he has played lately.

    • Jan 12, 2018 at 2:09 pm

      well said. if the team could only all click at the same time consistently…


      Exciting weeks to come my blog-mates

  • Jan 12, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    With all due respect Dave, I’m hard-pressed to name a GM who’d relinquish a First Round pick–in what’s described as a deep draft–for Rick Nash.

    He has, what, nine goals? That’s roughly $850,000 per, given his $7.8M cap hit, correct?

    Andrew Shaw, Mike Hoffman, Pacioretty, Evander Kane might compel a Western Conference team to overpay, or forego their First Round picks. But I don’t see anyone doing likewise for Nash.

    In sum, Nash was never the dominant, switched-on power forward Columbus had. Dubi and Anisimov lent us enviable center depth, if not jam-the-net presence. Nash? Neither.

    • Jan 12, 2018 at 1:04 pm

      You could be right Fotiu. But teams have been known to overpay at the deadline. Depends on so many factors.

      • Jan 13, 2018 at 7:34 am

        nope – Rangers overpay at trade deadline on getting a player. When trading a player, we get screwed always on the return

    • Jan 12, 2018 at 1:25 pm

      Disagree Fotiu — in the 1st place the Rangers will more than likely EAT at least half his salary and secondly, there’s always a coach/gm who will think his scoring will return (perhaps not the 40+ a year guy). Besides, Nash will be able to slot in on the PP and the PK for one of these contending teams and play outstanding defense — and his character is indisputable..

    • Jan 12, 2018 at 2:13 pm

      The move seemed right at the time, we were getting the BIG POWER FORWARD…

      it just didn’t happen as planned….

      man I miss Anisimov, remember when he pulled the imaginary bow after scoring a goal at the goalie… lol

      and DUBI, still stinks every time I see him ruin Crosby game…

      He could have become the rangers captain… IMO

    • Jan 12, 2018 at 3:52 pm

      Yo Fotiu – Que Pasta Dude???

      How are things in the High Desert?

      In my opinion – the NYR are not a lock for a playoff spot and it really bothers me when i hear things like “they comfortably sit in playoff position” yada, yada, yada….

      As of today that comfy position is in a Stanley Slot by 2 points. Taking the Caps out of discussion for the moment – #2 Columbus has a 7 point cushion on #8 which all of a sudden is now the Islanders (based on games played). The #4 Rangers have only a 3 point lead on the dreaded Fishsticks…and guess who is on tap tomorrow?

      Another thing to consider is that the majority of the Ranger games AFTER the deadline are within the division which are theoretically 4 point games.

      My fear is that we stay in the playoff mix as the deadline approaches and do not take advantage of the opportunity to move Nash and Holden mostly – but also Grabner to some degree (hey if he wants to come back – let’s talk)

      I agree with Eddie that it is too early yet to be pulling the trigger but if I’m Gorts I am already looking for my best Nash match.

      And doesn’t he have a limited NTC? If I remember – no one in Canada is on the list of potential destinations and he will not be going anywhere in the Metro so that narrows things down a bit.

      But if it is me I would be selling Nash at deadline either way. The NYR record without him in the lineup is pretty darn stellar anyway…

    • Jan 13, 2018 at 6:28 am

      Have to disagree with you bro.

      Nash scored 40ish here and 30ish several times. As many as Dubi and Ani combined and are both 3rd line players.

      There may be a team that believes that Nash’s 2 way game would be worth a first to try and put them over the top.

      Brooks says that Nash is not here next year, even with a discounted contract. But Brooks is the same guy who said that no way Shatty was coming here, which was completely wrong.

      Nash played well for a long time but the goals didn’t come to reflect his good play. Now he’s not playing well so the lack of goals is obvious. Is it decline or just a rough spot? Nash could get hot at any time but not having Kreider to occupy the opponents’ better players puts the complete attention back on Rick and so Rick is bottled up.

      The Kreider absence and the Nash cold spell are not coincidental IMO.

      Plus, IMO again, the Rangers are not trading Nash nor Grabner if they are in the playoff mix, whether they believe that they are contenders or not. I would be shocked if the Rangers did trade either one or both while in a playoff spot.

      I could be wrong. My opinion is that the Rangers should trade both Nash and Grabner and start the rebuild, keeping Henrik as the core piece. I would even consider trading McD if the haul were worth it. Ahem, Trouba.

  • Jan 12, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    Lettieri has been recalled…thus ending the silly speculation that AV was looking for reasons to demote him. He was sent down to get some work in during the break. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Our “savior” has returned Richter! :). Just kidding. Glad he’s back. Like the kid. Will be interesting to see what the lineup looks like.

    • Jan 12, 2018 at 2:14 pm

      Lettieri’s one-timer looks pretty mean!

    • Jan 12, 2018 at 8:31 pm

      Excuse me!! It’s “Future HOFamer Vinnie Lettieri!!” Get it right!! lol

  • Jan 12, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    At this point we are better off to try and trade Nash, Grabner(who I think will get the best return and generate the most interest) Holden and DD. A combo of draft picks heading into a strong draft is what this team needs.
    Nash has not been able to score, but has he played terrible? I don’t think so. A change of scenery may actually be better for him than the draft picks he brings back for the Rangers, but I can’t see us keeping him around next year.( we have plenty of cap space to retain some of his hit this year) I am not saying i support this, but I really think they want Kovalchuk in the fold and if the Devils would have done a deal this past off season he would be a Ranger now. Glad that did not happen, but won’t be surprised if it does. Grabner is probably the opposite. There’s other teams he will fit well and some where he won’t be as effective. But he’s just what teams need for play off depth. Or at least what teams think they need. And he’s been great for us which is why I think he can bring a nice return as a rental. Holden and DD will obviously bring back less, but 3rds or 4ths will be fine considering we probably won’t bring them back next year.

    There’s enough in the pipeline to fill in for these guys. Give Letteri a real shot, Chytil, Holland for forwards and either DeAngelo or Pionk to see what they can do. If they back into the play offs maybe they get lucky and win a round, but it’s hard to see them winning this year. But 2 years from now not out of the question at all if they do things right.

    Cap is also going up quite a bit next year, so maybe we can retain all our RFA’s. I would also not be adverse to resigning Grabner next year when free agency opens if he’s available. Max $3.5 mill for 3 years.

    Anything big is probably a draft time type of deal.

  • Jan 12, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    I agree with you Dave, the problem starts with Gorton/Slats and trickles down to AV who is too stubborn or ignorant to change his ways. Plus the players I feel have tuned the coach out.(play with no passion, and lazy, unprepared)
    They just don’t play smart hockey on a consistant basis, that on the coach.
    I agree with what Joe C said the turnover from veterans to youngsters has worked wonders for the Bruins.Sounds like a plan.. bring in someone like a Sheldon Keefe..
    We have pieces that we can trade off (Nash,Grabner, Holden and hopefully Staal, maybe even Deharnais) to replenish the system.. Even if we barely make the playoffs and bow out quick it wouldn’t be the worst thing. I think it’s mandatory to replenish now for the future.
    Remember this if we started the youngsters at the beginning of the season and let them take their lumps early, by now we would be in a better position than we are now.
    Why because the veterans are making the rookie mistakes!! Game after Game..

  • Jan 12, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Bob Mckenzie, one of the “Hockey Insiders”, and very much respected by the way, has it right. We are not good enough to win the cup as constructed, and more than likely will lose some of the players mentioned, so why not try to get as much value back as possible?

    Rick can get us a #1 I believe, but worst case scenario a #2. For what he’s paid, I’d be ashamed to take that check due to his production. Yes he is solid defensively, but at what $8 mil, or so, I can get a top PK guy for 1/4th the cost.

    Holden, and DD, will get us a roll of toilet paper, rather appropriate for their play don’t you think? So if we get a 125th round pick, (this to entertain my fans), that’s OK with me, they are useless, really they are!

    Grabner whom I love, will get some value in return, but I’d have to see what is offered, he is earning his salary. Bottom line, we should sell, and build with youth. Have I ever made that statement before? Must be that broken 33 record again….

    • Jan 13, 2018 at 1:02 am

      I value what Grabner brings to this team too much to go for the quick gain. Sign him to a 3-4 year deal at $3m+, he’ll be worth it. Nash on the other hand won’t be worth what he’ll command next year, time to move on — send him to Toronto or San Jose.

      • Jan 13, 2018 at 7:43 am


        we agree on both counts!

        if a great offer is made for Grabs, one has to weigh it out though……..

  • Jan 12, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    Hey Walt, unless your last name is Gretzky, you’re full of shit and probably only laced up skates with wheels on them! Moron.

    • Jan 12, 2018 at 5:03 pm

      I think my man Walt makes a lot of sense. Nothing wrong with punting now and regrouping and building a stronger roster.

      Btw Bo I was born with hockey skates on. Anytime you wanna meet me at the rink…bring it on. Cheers

      • Jan 12, 2018 at 8:14 pm


        Thanks for the kind words, but it wasted on this windbag……….

    • Jan 12, 2018 at 8:11 pm


      You are a piece of dog dong. Please go now and crap in you diapers!!!!!!

      • Jan 13, 2018 at 10:22 am

        5hrs to respond and that was the best you had? ROFL

        You were teased alot as a kid weren’t you?

        Wind Bag and Dog Dong…gonna have to remember those on my witty comeback list. Walt you may not be the brightest star but i will be damned if you let them take you away from your window licking job on that mini yellow school bus.

        All in jest man!

  • Jan 12, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    NiceI think Gorton should try n swing a deal for Patrick Maroon to take Kreiders place while he’s out. Obviously Maroon isn’t going to match Kreider in the skating category. But he’s a bug gritty guy who’s gonna be in the front of the net like Kreider. Plus he’ll drop the gloves with anyone and protect his mates which is also something the Rangers could really use. And try to get Brassard back Ottawa is obviously going to be selling.

    • Jan 13, 2018 at 10:25 am

      Honestly any trade with Edmonton is not going to happen. Believe edmonton got burned too many times when trading and the GM is gun shy now.

      And the Brassard idea is just not very likely. I mean I would not be against but again here is another GM that got burned bad when pulling the trigger. He is going to want a ton for him.

  • Jan 12, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    The Rangers will use the following 3 strategies in relation to this year’s trade deadline:

    and of course

    To rehash, NHL teams have LOW expenses during the playoffs because players’ salaries are really for the regular season, so the amount of money made on higher than regular season ticket prices AND the respective merchandise, is too good to pass up. So if the Rangers are in any kind of position to make the playoffs then they will.

    NOW, the difference this year is that Duclair for Yandle trades are over. What they won’t do is trade Nash and Grabner and they should, but they will hold onto them to MAKE the playoffs.

    The rest will be handled internally, meaning Hartford call ups. If the Rangers trade Nash and/or Grabner while being in possible playoff position, then I will be shocked.

  • Jan 13, 2018 at 11:24 am

    IMO I really dont see any trades this deadline.

    I think the moves that were going to happen already transpired. Might get a draft pick here or there to get exchanged but as for real players just don’t think so.

    My reasoning:
    To many teams are reeling from the cap. Either their cap is so messed up or they have to much room. The same teams are not spending to the cap and consistently are not fielding competitive teams. Something simply needs to be done about this fact.

    That aside what Sakic got for Dushshame…was probably the biggest rape in the history of the NHL. So the sellers are going to be looking for something similar. And I just don’t see anyone giving that up again for the chance at a Cup when everything is so tight around the league and any hot team has a serious chance at the cup.

    And then there is Vegas. Just a bunch picks from around the league and are as close to being undefeated at home as they come. So any GM sees this and just starts to blame their coach and the system. Makes it much less likely to trade players they have.

    Now Grabner and Nash would be ideal moves. But the choices of trade partners gets really limited. How many GM’s feel they have a true shot at the cup at this point? Vegas, Tampa, aside. Who has a real shot? Washington dumped alot in the off season and is just happy to contend. Winnipeg is a very young team. Nashville made the cup last yr and was involved in the Duchene trade. St. Louis has bodies coming back and are in a great position. Boston is young and talented. And the rest are right there next to the Rangers.
    So the only teams left are the sellers who might want Nash but he has a NMC to my knowledge with a list of teams he will go to. And it is 12 teams. I am sure he is not going to go to Buffalo or Arizona who will have a willingness to give up a first round pick for a known leader.

    Grabner has no such NMC …and could be traded to anyone but most believe he is a product of AV’s system and not a prolific goal scorer.

    Only deal for Nash is that works for both teams is Vegas. And the Only deal for grabner is really no one. No one is going to take him as a rental …he has been a rental for his whole career.

    Holden and the likes might get a pick or two but not likely Gorton pulls the trigger.

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