Business of Hockey

Filling a hole without opening another hole

Much debate was made over the weekend regarding what the Rangers should give up in a trade for Rick Nash or Bobby Ryan. The rumors were circling, and the general consensus is that the Rangers will need to include Derek Stepan in a package that will land either scoring winger. Both the Ducks and the Blue Jackets covet Stepan as a current #2 center, with the potential to be a #1 center.

Whether the Ducks and Blue Jackets are ranking Stepan appropriately is irrelevant. What matters is that the Rangers need a scoring winger, a big hole for them. There is hesitance to deal Stepan, as there should be, but the Rangers hesitance to deal him is about opening a hole at center to fill a hole at wing. That’s not how to build a team or how to “win” a trade.

Simply put, the Rangers are relatively thin in top-six centers. Right now it’s Stepan and Brad Richards. The argument can be made for Artem Anisimov, but he still has yet to be given powerplay time to show he can produce with the man advantage the way Stepan has.

Yes, Ryan and Nash fill a gaping hole in top-six wingers. However, with the Rangers so thin at center with scoring potential, dealing from the position shouldn’t be the course of action, especially with the uncertainty surrounding Anisimov’s ability to take hold of the opportunity.

In this league you need to give talent to get talent, that much we know. However, the Rangers have plenty of other chips they can move that does not require moving their only legitimate #2 center. Glen Sather knows this, and this is why he has been so reluctant to move Stepan in the first place (in my opinion of course, I don’t know Slats personally).

It’s not about attachment to the player or to the youth movement (Nash and Ryan are either in or entering their primes), it’s about recognition of the current roster makeup, and realizing that dealing Stepan creates a huge hole down the middle. That hole has the potential to be bigger than the hole on top-six wing. Every single Stanley Cup winning team since the lockout has been deep down the middle, and it’s a winning formula that should not be messed with.

The Rangers are deep down the middle with Richards, Stepan, Anisimov, and Boyle. They have two legitimate scoring threats, a two-way center, and a shutdown center. Why mess with that to fill a different hole? Especially when there are attractive options (see: Doan, Shane) that won’t require a player cost.

The goal of a trade is to make your team better, not take a step sideways.

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  • Why do people discount Dubi at center, that is his natural position. Jagr played with Dubi, and correct me, didn’t he set a Ranger goal record that season, some 52?

    I’m willing to trade for talent, you have to give something, to get something. In negotiations, it has to be a win win thing. I like the Step, and if push turned to shove, and a deal had to be made, then make it, keeping in mind that Dubi can indeed fill that hole. I can hear it now, all the Dubi haters will come out of the wood work with this posting!

    • Jagr scored 52 with Nylnder as his center. If dubi was such a great center he’d still be there. Guess what we live in a world of expectation. When the expectations aren’t met its a problem. I doubt any intelligent ranger fan hates dubi but most hate his cap hit. Sorry but you can’t not make 4.5 mill and “compete” for a 3 rd line role. I hope he turns it around because he can still be an asset but as I now he is the equivalent to wade redden

      • I stand corrected, it was Nylander!

        He still was the best after Nylander left, and Jagr wanted him as his center.

        As for his cap hit, he is way over paid, as are half the NHL players, and if Sather was stupid enough to sign him to that contract, then don’t fault Dubi for taking it!

        • I don’t get your point? Yeah sather overpaid but know one thought that at the time, if you are a ranger fan then I’m sure you want them to do as well as possible. The question is can dubi be a key part of that making what he does? Right now I doubt it but I hope I’m wrong but let not kid ourself because you might be fond of the guy. Dubi needs to score and to do that you have to hit the net when you shoot. Also if he does remain a ranger let ban him from fighting or get him some boxing lessons because quite frankly it’s embarrassing.

    • I’am not a Dubi hater but IMO.he can not be compared with Stepan. Stepan is an up and coming star in the NHL.and should not be traded. If any center to be moved then it should be Anisimov or Dubi or both if it means to get a Bobby Ryan. ( I prefer him over Nash.)Shane Doan should be considered as a last results for maybe one year. We all know where signing of an aging star player got us in the passed.Let’s learn from previous mistakes by not making others.

  • I would like to see the Rangers take a flier on Peter Mueller . If not than Doan or Semin , Can’t give up 3 or 4 players for one and win a trade

    • i agree Mueller has great talent and youth, only issue is the concussion problems. hes only played 101 games the last three years combined in the regular season.

      hes a good risk reward signing if the price is right for a year, max 2

  • Ther was an article here recently claiming everyone knows Kreider will score 25 goals min in his upcoming year. Based on that premise, why would the Rangers trade Dubi; McDonough, Stepan; and draft picks for Nash ?? Nash is a thirty goal scorer. The net difference of 5 goals between Kreider/Nash says do NOT trade for Nash.

    • Bravo! I hope this is the logic Slats and Co. are using.

      not only that, but you have to subract 35 pts from Dubi, 50 pts from Stepan, and 35 pts from McD

      Subtract 120 pts to add 60 pts doesn’t make any sense…

  • Hey Jim Bob Right on . Sign a free agent like the post says you open a hole to fill a hole .Need to go into the new season intact with the roster we have , plus maybe 2 free agents to have a litttle compitition in camp. If Kreider can get 20 Dubie 20 AA 20 Boyle 15 Cally 22 Hags 15 BR 22 Gabby 15 Asham 12 Rupp 10 MDZ 12 McD 10 Girardi 8 Staal 8 Stralman 6 and maybe another 10 from exrtas that should be enough Add Doan Semun Or Mueller and that would be another 20 -25 goals . Lets start the season early like next week already having withdrawals . Lets go Rangers

    • Rupp won’t even sniff 10 goals again in his career especially playing 6 min/game for 60 games under Torts.

      Although, I agree FA is the way to go here…

  • Good article Dave,I totally agree with you.Stepan should not be traded. Dubi or Anisimov yes but not Stepan.

  • Not sure if you read this, but I think brooks hits the nail on the head:

    My dream scenario this summer is for the Rangers to trade for Weber and then acquire either Doan or Semin. Weber would take our defense to another level (if one can believe that) and finally transform our PP. Nashville has the cap to sign him, but if Weber decides he wants out it will be a crazy market for him. Then fix our wing issues by signing doan or semin to a 2 year deal.

  • I believe there is less risk to disturbing the chemistry of this club by adding Semin (even though he may spend a few games in Torts doghouse) than by trading away 2 or 3 hard workers for the promise of a 30 goal scorer.

    • Semin is a cancer, dont need a guy like that in the locker room causing issues. This team is battle tested and willing to make the next step, but depth down the Center is more important that Nash, IMO sign Doan

  • I wouldn’t mind Semin on this team. Torts will make him conform.

    Definitely a conversation starter.

    We are instantly a better team with him on the roster.

  • We could get Kane for way less. There is still Semin who I would go after. And still no one is talking about A Kostitsyn He has great size and can score.

  • As it stands now, with Gabby out for a few months, we need to score goals and you cannot believe those goals are going to come from Krieder or anyone else currently on the roster. Get someone who has scored 30 more than twice in his career and put him on a wing. What we give up for that scorer is the issue in question.

  • Most likely scenario here is semin and/or kostitsyn get signed. Put them on a line with AA.

    Then BR becomes the odd man out. Gives us 3 good scoring options.

    Dubi- BR – Hagelin
    Kreider – Stepan – Callahan
    Koystityn – AA – Semin
    Pyatt – Boyle – Asham

    You can’t tell me that’s not a good lineup.

    • screw kostitsyn we need the go all out russian line where torts says, go out there and score a ‘la 1994

    • I like giving Semin a shot at the right price and then I would slot him with BR on the top line and really give him that 1st line responsibility everyone’s saying he didn’t get a chance on yet

      Also, looking at Pyatt further, I think he gets 3rd line minutes – good size, decent scoring ability, takes the body. With a more seasoned AA and a speedy Hagelin, could make for a solid 3rd line.

      Finally, I agree Dubi should be seen on the top line again like when he lead the team 2 seasons ago. I think he thrives in pressure situations and being in somewhat of an underdog role where he needs to prove himself to the team and league (lining up against Mike Richards toe to toe, etc.) — Playing on the third line and just making sure he’s defensively responsible is not going to do anything to light that fire again and get Dubi playing the way we all want him to.

  • Patrice Bergeron, Paul Stastny, Jamie Benn, Valtteri Filippla,Logan Couture, David Desharnais,Evgini Malkin(althought he was a 1 most of the year) and Mike Ribero are the only second line centers with more points last year then Derek Stepan. Stepan out scored Saku Koivu, Shawn Horcoff,Mike Richards,Mike Fisher,Kyle Turris,Vincent Lecavalier,Mikhail Grabovski,Patrik Berglund,Ryan Kesler, and Brian Little. Also only Valtteri Filippla had a better plus minus among NHL second line centers. How do you trade this guy with no depth at center?

  • If we can tell Doan that if he signs a 2 or 3 yr deal, and then finds out Pheonix is going to stay put . Then we will trade him back to Phonix before the start of the next year . His heart is in Pheonix so might just sway him to sign on with the Rangers . And if Pheonix moves then we have him for 2 or 3 yrs witch would not be a bad thing

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