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Scouting The Deadline Part 1: Identifying Team Needs And Surpluses

As we roll into the trade deadline, rumors are going to be appearing from every possible angle. Aside from judging the source (note: HFBoards is not a source), there are a few ways to tell if a rumor is legitimate or if it is just someone blowing hot air. This Scouting The Deadline series is going to be a three part series where identify and analyze the three key steps in the trade process. Today is the first post, and it will address identifying team needs and surpluses.

If you watch a team long enough, like we have with the Rangers, it’s easy to identify where the team needs and surpluses are. For the Rangers, it’s clear there isn’t much depth on the top six, especially at left wing. Naturally, when the deadline approaches, it is a fair assumption that the Rangers will look to fill that hole. That hole was severely exposed when both Brandon Dubinsky and Ruslan Fedotenko were out of the lineup. On the other side of things, with Mike Sauer returning to the lineup soon, the Rangers are going to have a lot of capable defensemen on their hands.

Identifying other team’s needs and surpluses is a much more difficult task. This requires research (gasp).  Looking at how a team is performing in critical aspects of the game is the best place to start. Taking the Ducks for example, their defense isn’t exactly anything to write home about. When you look at the structure of their blue line, the expiring contracts, and the lack of overall defense being played, it’s clear that if they are to unload a piece of their core, they will require a defensive defenseman in return. It’s why when we analyzed the Bobby Ryan situation, we mentioned that Mike Sauer might have to be an obligatory piece to ship to Anaheim.

But it’s not just about the Rangers and the Ducks. Let’s look at the Phoenix Coyotes, who are quickly falling out of the playoff race. When looking at their roster, it is clear they need some top-six forwards, as their roster is comprised mostly of grinding forwards.  Only three players are on pace for 60 points on their roster. Looking deeper into the roster, you can see a need for a defenseman or two at the NHL level as well. In the ‘Yotes case, their surplus is expiring contracts that don’t have a long term future with the organization (this is true of most sellers).

But a trade isn’t made by just looking at the NHL level, so by looking at the prospects in the Coyotes’ system, you can see that four of their top five prospects are defensemen.  In fact, only three of their top ten prospects are forwards. So in a trade, it is safe to assume they are going to look for scoring prospects to help retool their offensive threats. This is why when we laughed at the Shane Doan rumors, we said that Chris Kreider or Christian Thomas would have to be in that deal.

Making a trade is a two way street. Teams are looking to fill holes, be it for the immediate or long term future of their clubs. In the Rangers case, the team need is a top six LW. To fill that need, the Rangers have identified that their surplus is young defensemen, as  Dylan McIlrath and Tim Erixon will also be pushing for roster spots. That’s a lot, even for the most cost-savvy of teams. If the Rangers are to make a move, it will be a move to fill their offensive needs by trading some of their younger defensive prospects.

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  1. I would love, maybe more than love, to have Ryan on this team. The fact that we match up well with Anaheim only makes the possibility that much greater. The key would have to be not losing much from the current roster, losing Sauer would be hard, probably along with a Christian Thomas, Wolski + a pick (would probably get it done). Anaheim gets a top-4 d-man, a prospect that has shown a great scoring prowess, a talented but enigmatic winger in Wolski to step in right away and first rounder, not sure this would get it done but should be close.

    1. The Ducks GM is a pain to deal with. I would move Sauer, Thomas, Wolski, and a 1st every single single day of the week to get a guy like Ryan. It is a no-brainer, which is why Anaheim would not be interested. You can pretty much guarantee that they would want one (or maybe even two) of Stepan, McD, or Krieder… which is a non-starter IMO. You only give up guys like that if you are getting a player like Malkin (which obviously would never happen).

  2. I think the new thought in pro sports is not to only trade expiring contracts if you are out of the playoff picture, but to trade a long term contract that has proven not to be a fit. A good example is the Gomez trade. So the buyers need to look at both angles. Most importantly, the buyers need to obtain a “fit” without over paying in either current or future players.

  3. I haven’t done a ton of research on the subject, but it certainly seems that Tampa would be a good trading partner. They need defense like crazy, at any of the six slots–and we have plenty of extra D-men. I could see a trade for a top-6 winger that includes two defensemen, like stralman

  4. The problem is the Maple Leafs are supposedly in the hunt for a Top 6 forward. If Burke is being his aggressive self, you never know how high the price can get for some of these players on the block.

    1. Burke’s involvement always messes with the market. You’d have to assume Schenn is part of any deal for a top six forward.

    2. I read it somewhere that Toronto is close to maxing out on the salary cap and if it’s true,it would make it a little easier for the Rangers to land a desired player without giving away the future.

      1. Toronto is supposedly willing to part with some of their top prospects and I’m sure they could make moves to accommodate Ryan if they intend on getting him.

  5. To me, filling a short and long term need, a top three sniper is needed. To get a Ryan our there-alike, you have to give something substantial, if overpaying, and gain accordingly. NYR D men are stated surplus, and prospects are trade able, so look for that elite player in trade. Other teams could use 2-3 for 1. We have enough in the system to do this.

  6. I’d trade stall it seams like he would bring back the biggest return his play has been bad so far and I perosnaly think that he is overrated plus we have a first place reccord without him for most of the year

    1. I think it is a little nutty to call Staal overrated… to be honest. They guy is a top 5 shutdown D-man and was flashing some offense before he got hurt. I wouldn’t move him unless Weber is coming the other way. That would be the only way to justify a move like that.

    2. I wouldn’t trade Staal however I would be cool with Staal and Girardi alternating the “A”. Staal will get his game back. Mind you I was yelling at the TV when I saw Staal make poor choices that resulted in two goals against last night. He has been our worst defenseman last 5 games but in a flash he will be our best defenseman once again. His mental part of the game will come and I see no reason to worry about him.

    3. Opie, whatever you’re smoking I want some of that.You think that Saal is over rated,the guy was one of the best D man in the NHL. last year. Trading him away would be like Tampa trading away Stemkos.I would trade Sauer Mdz,or Girardy before I even consider trading Staal.But it’s only my opinion.

      1. Are you nuts? You’d trade Girardi before Staal or even consider trading him at all? He’s been recognized as an all star for good reason. These are 2 core players. Might as well throw Gaborik or Lundqvist in there.

        1. You have your opinion and I have mine. I just think that when Staal will regain his game shape,he will be the Rangers best D man again.With regards to Girardi,Yes he is playing great now but I just can not get passed the incident against the flyers last year when he just stood by and watch Carcillo beat the crap out of Gaborik.As far as your last comments regarding Gaborik and Lundqvist,There is not a player in the NHL. for whoem I would trade Lundqvist and while Gaborik is my favorite Ranger,There are two players that I would trade him.(Malkin or Stemkos.)That should give you an idea as to what I think of Lundqvist and Gabi.

    4. I think he is over rated a give away machine durning the playoffs I’d personally would rather have Weber or Suter ie stall & a pick for webber or Suter or stall for a pure goal scorer

  7. The top 6 winger can be fixed with Krieder next year which should motivate the kid to come in and work for it. JT Miller is not far off the radar either. Thomas will come with hunger as well. I do think a high scoring D man can be had for the right price.

    Two players of interest to me are Travis Moen of the Canadians and Jeff Schultz of Washington. Though Schultz is a defenseman but his size and plus minus do make him an interesting fellow to look into. Moen plays like a Ranger and he can score. He has been a solid playoff guy who can fill in nicely on Boyle’s line with Dubinsky.
    Pursuing the likes of Ryan, Nash and Weber are unrealistic with what the ransom that will be in Store for them.
    Players like Garrison from FLA could be had for a much more reasonable asking price.
    Still too soon to figure out the sellers but as it stands right now we can figure Columbus, Anaheim and Edmonton from the west are sellers with teams still on the brink such as Phoenix, Calgary, Dallas and Minnesota. When you look at these teams only Columbus is in turmoil. Edmonton is in a rebuild mode and this year they will likely draft a defensemsn which is the clubs main weakness right now. Anaheim is just having a bad year but man do they possess talanet up and down the line up and will be a quick fix for them to warrant an overhaul. Hence why Ryan will dangled and if a sucker wants to overpay then Anaheim trades him. Should Anaheim not trade him they still win because they have a heck of a player still on their roster. Hockey trades are seldom done in today’s game.

    Now a quick look at the state of the Rangers

    Set in goal but definitely time to draft a goalie in the next two years, Set on defense however there is still a concern there as we really don’t have that boomer back there. We have the nasty crease clearer in McIlrath and Erixon the finesse puck mover to look forward to. Staal, Sauer, Girardi, Del Zotto and McDonagh are players a team salivates having just two of them yet there sits our roster on defense Forwards we are not that far off when Krieder and Miller arrive and there are three other stellar prospects in Thomas, Fogerty and St Croix in the pipeline.
    So is the state of the Rangers really that bad? Is it worth to derail the process because of where we are at this year? For a gamble? No in my opinion. And finally even should we fall in the standings that is not such a bad thing because I would like to see us in a position at the draft to be able to get one of these three defensemsn, Kooekoek, Reinhart or Trouba.

    What I would do with the excess players is to put a package together to trade for a high end prospect or another 1st rounder. We are just ahead of the plan by inches not feet and our time only got nearer, not that we are there.

    1. You definitely don’t move quality players for a gamble, but I can see Sather sniffing around Ryan and Weber/Suter, because you have to go for it any time you have a chance to win the CUP. You can’t rely on prospects panning out, no matter how much of a sure bet they are. Does that mean you trade a young guy for a veteran expiring contract? No way! But if you get a chance to move some quality youth to get another young stud, then you do it… if it makes sense.

      But I agree that a deal like that is unlikely, because teams will want a fortune for guys like that.

      1. That’s the problem that there are players that could be traded for however the demands in return make it not feasible. When I say hockey trades are not done anymore what I mean by that is that there are so many factors involved today to simply go and make a trade that makes sense in the long run. Last hockey trade that I recall was the St. Louis and Avalanche trade and before that I have to go back to the 80’s when that practice was more common.
        This success should not blind people to the plan and vision. Aside from the record and achievements the real story is that another rookie stepped in and put his stamp on the core. That player is Hagelin. For many he was on the radar however I don’t think many realized his effectiveness.
        Boyle mentioned that the team is interchangable with it’s parts because they have been together for a long time. They have become more than just team mates, they have become close friends. That is hard to establish in today’s sport and yet we have.

      2. I don’t believe that Nashvill would trade either Weber Or Suter.They’re in good position to make the playoffs (PLAYOFFS?)and trading either one of those guys would be counter productive to their success.

        1. Agreed. Weber and Suter are staying put. They finally started packing that arena, would be so counter productive for them to unload one of those guys now.

  8. Part of trade research is to establish what’s available out there, but also who is the core/identity of this team versus who is tradeable. Starting from the back, the core is Lundqvist, Girardi, Staal, McDonough, Stepan, Hagelin, Gaborik, Callahan. Everybody else, including BR is someone I would trade if I could get some scoring in return. I am not impressed with BR. He is very soft, something that one doesn’t associate with this Rangers team.I would be reluctant to let Dubinsky go, but he really doesn’t put up top 6 numbers, despite his heart and effort.

    1. BR is definitely traceable for the right deal. Does he have a no-trade? What about this blockbuster – BR, Stahl, WW (for cap reasons), Sauer, Thomas, and pick for Lecavalier, Malone, Bergeron, and Purcell

      1. On the surface, as a Rangers fan I’d do it, but I would need to understand the contracts for the TB players first, and cap implications, Why would Tampa Bay want this?

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