Normally the Rangers don’t need any more bottom 6 help, especially when considering they have talented players like Dale Weise riding the bench and prospects like Evgeny Grachev in the minors but the Rangers could make a minor move to make a big change approaching the deadline.
While the Rangers have cap space to make a significant move a lot would argue this isn’t the year to make major changes giving up a lot of assets. John Madden however could help the Rangers and could be had for relatively little given his age, limited production and position in Minnesota. The Rangers simply cannot make any noise at the end of the year or in the playoffs if they cannot win face-offs (this is obvious to one and all) and this is where Madden could come in. Excellent in his own end (former Selke winner) and a proven playoff performer -3 cups with the Devils – Madden would help Chris Drury in the face off area, perhaps the Rangers biggest single weakness. Whether he would be a popular addition is open to debate. However don’t discount another positive aspect to the potential move.
While Mark Messier has been helping the centers with draws, Madden would be with the team every day and could serve as a mentor to the young centers given his talent in the circle. Having an extra veteran presence to teach the youngsters could be huge while there would be no long term effect as Madden is UFA in the summer; he would be a pure rental. On the flip side, despite being a long time Devil, should the Rangers make the playoffs Madden may be interested in looking for one final deep playoff run at age 37.
The Rangers are in a transitional year and there are indeed many positives to note already this year but they should not make major changes unless they can come at minimal cost (unlikely). Adding a proven veteran – like Madden – for a short time frame wouldn’t impede any prospect long term and could be a nice aid to the Rangers main woe this season. Worthing thinking about.