As I mentioned, I will be away until March 8, and several readers have volunteered to write some guest posts. I am posting this one today because it is a rather time sensitive post from Jeffrey Sullivan (Section 121).
As the trade deadline approaches ever nearer, the anticipation of a move by the Rangers is mounting. As such, the question becomes who to move? In a general sense, there are two directions the Rangers could go in; trade for the future or trade for now. The mantra from the Rangers brass over the last year or so has been to build this team around the young existing core while adding more youth pieces as they are ready. Therefore, the option we will look at follows this principle.
The list of existing expendable players who are not a part of the young core include Drury, Fedotenko, Frolov, Avery, Wolski, Christensen, Eminger, Prospal, and Gaborik, yes Gaborik. Although this list is substantial, the first four players can be removed (most likely) from contention due to injuries, contracts, or reputation. Next is Wolski. He’s on this list just because of his lack of history with this team which prevents the tag of “core” player. With that being said, he can most likely be eliminated because is a young RFA (just turned 25) and still has one more year on his deal at a reasonable price considering his offensive potential.
Now, Christensen, Eminger, and Prospal become the most obvious choices for the Rangers to move (we’ll get to Gaborik). First, Christensen and Eminger are both journey men who have bounced around the league and offer teams a decent player for cheap to provide more depth in case of injuries. Prospal, on the other hand, is a hard-working veteran player with decent playoff experience who could provide a nice offensive boost to a playoff contender. He also comes at a relatively cheap price (salary wise) and is only on a one year deal. Based on these conditions, Prospal appears to be the most attractive player for the Rangers to move. Believe it or not, he also fits into the Rangers’ would-be trade plans (according to the mantra) as he is 36 years old, just came off a serious knee injury, lost is alternate captain status, and should not be resigned this off season. Let’s remember he was a stop-gap player on a one year deal for the youth to develop. In fact, one could argue that Prospal’s injury was the best thing for the Rangers youth allowing Dubinsky, Callahan, and Stepan flourish with more prominent roles from the outset this year. Yes, Prospal is a great team guy with a lot of heart and offensive prowess, but the Rangers should acknowledge the holes on this team, too many of which, prevent them from contending for the Cup this year. As a result they should look to trade Prospal for the future.
As for the elephant in the room, Gaborik, he is more difficult to figure out. He is a premium player who had a great year last season but as seen his share of struggles this year. He is on a hefty extended contract with three years remaining and, as we all feared, he is injury prone. These conditions raise speculation over Gaborik’s worth to the team and make him a possible trade piece for the right price. Nevertheless, he is currently banged up and the extent of his concussion problems is unclear. Therefore, Gaborik’s trade value is diminishing every moment he continues to have these issues. Under these conditions, can the Rangers even attract offers for Gaborik? The answer is probably not, but if things were to develop down this road, the future for the Rangers could be very interesting.
By Jeffrey Sullivan