My two cents on the deadline deals

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Wednesday was a big day in Rangerland.  As we all know by now, the Blueshirts acquired Ryane Clowe for three draft picks and traded oft-maligned sniper Marian Gaborik to the Blue Jackets for Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, and John Moore (with misc. non-prospects and a late draft pick thrown in).  Yesterday, Chris did a fantastic job adding some perspective in the musings. Suit broke it down on Twitter.  I don’t think it’s fair they get to have all the fun with the new acquisitions, so I’m going to throw my two cents in.  Think of it as a supplemental trade musings.

I’m going to do my best not to retread on already discussed ground…

  • Obviously, having some time to digest the trade scenario for a day or two in addition to the beat down the Rangers threw Pittsburgh on the eve of the trade makes it look pretty good.  I’ll be interested to see how the team looks tonight.
  • It’s my feeling that this trade was all about flexibility.  After the Nash trade and the departures of Brandon Prust, John Mitchell and Ruslan Fedetenko, the Rangers constructed a roster with a very defined top and bottom six.  At the time, I thought this was a good thing.  No more mid-level players masquerading as goal scorers and grinders on the power play.  However, what ended up happening was a complete loss of versatility when purported top-six players underperformed.  Ryane Clowe and Derek Brassard can play in multiple situations, sliding pretty seamlessly from top to bottom six duty depending on performance, situation, etc.
  • Man, can that John Moore skate.  He adds some nice depth to the blue line, and if Staal makes it back this year, he could play on a third pairing with Anton Stralman and Steve Eminger can be used in a 7th defenseman role, where he belongs.  If Dylan McIlrath can make an impact next season, that is a seriously enviable, versatile and young defensive core.
  • What I saw in that Pittsburgh game on Wednesday, for the first time in a long time, was seriously physical hockey.  When guys went into the corners, they hit someone.  It created space and havoc in the offensive zone, and kept the Pens defense on their heels.  Guys like Brian Boyle aren’t skilled enough to open up space on their own, but if you give them some extra room with an aggressive and physical forecheck, wonderful things can happen.
  • Previous point stands for Brad Richards.  On Richards’ goal, the amount of open space at the point (same for Moore and McDonagh’s goals) was essential to the offensive game plan.
  • This brings to me Torts.  What we witnessed against the Penguins was the proper execution of the Tortorella system at both ends of the ice.  They scored three powerplay goals, and offensive creativity and chances abound.  That game could have been 10-1 if Fleury didn’t make some terrific saves.  It’s all about execution.
  • Losing Gabby is going to hurt.  It’s never easy to remove a 40 goal scorer from your lineup.  He will probably torch us several times next season (Columbus will be in our division next year, something no one is really talking about) and his production will be difficult to replace.  However, this was essentially the Nash trade in reverse.  It was basically trading Gaborik, Dubinsky, Anisimov and Erixon for Nash, Brassard, Dorsett and Moore, plus saving like $4 million in cap space.  I know Dubie and Arty were fan favorites, but I’ll take the Rangers end of that deal any day.
  • I’ll be honest, I’ve never seen Derek Dorsett play.  From everything I have heard, he is a heart-on-his-sleeve, Prust type player.  I remember when Prust was a throw in from the Ollie Jokinen deal and he was a major cog in the culture change on Broadway.  Not saying Dorsett will have anywhere near that impact, but he could end up being a nice little player.
  • There are rumors circulating around that Ryane Clowe is looking for 8yr/$34m on an extension.  Let’s just be clear: that is insanity.  If someone else wants to give him that, by all means.  I would like to see a reasonable extension, though.  Nothing more than 3yr/$9m-4yr/$12m, max.
  • The deal obviously helps with re-signing our key restricted free agents this offseason.  It also opens up some spots for the younger guys to seize meaningful roles next year.  The aforementioned positional flexibility is a good thing for Kreider, Miller and even Fast and Lindberg.  When guys can be slotted up or down in the lineup, its easier to assign the appropriate roles for the younger guys.
  • Lots of pundits are admonishing the Rangers for the skill they lost, and the lack of skill they brought in.  I think Nash, Cally, Step, Hags, and Richards can handle the heavy lifting now that a bottom six that can chip in some secondary scoring has been put in place.  Especially if Brassard can grab a top-6 role, the depth down the middle is better than it has been in years.
  • This may be poking the bear a little bit, but this struck me as something of a mini-’94 deadline.  A team that was too soft to take the long run into the playoffs transformed with some extra toughness and snarl for the long haul.  It’ll be interesting to see how the results compare.

That’s about it for me, overall my head liked the trades a lot more than my heart.  Gabby will be missed, but I think the Rangers are a better, and tougher team that they were 72 hours ago.  Let’s hope they can keep this hard nosed style up for the last twelve games and ride it into the playoffs.

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  • I wish we were able to keep Dubinsky and Arty. I would have killed to see a trade that looked like:

    Gaborik, Boyle, Staal and draft pick: for
    Nash, Brassard, Moore

    Dubinsky could slide down and take Boyle’s role at faceoffs. Arty can play LW or center
    Brassard can play with Arty and help the Russian score. A 27 year old Nash replaces a 31 year old Gaborik. Moore replaces the often injured Staal. It would save alot of cap room especially by getting rid of Staal and Boyle’s huge cap hits. I dont’t think that they would even need to trade for Clowe. Plus i don’t like the 8 year $34 million. Thats no better than Ricards contract both in salary or length. I did notice that Gaborik scored the game winner last night which was assisted by Dubinsky.

    • I liked Dubinsky quite a bit myself, but a $4.2 million cap hit is a huge problem. I know Staal is hurt a lot (through no fault of his own), but $3.9m for a d-man of his caliber is a steal when healthy.

      I agree on Clowe’s contract. He is a quality role player, but that kind of length commitment for a support guy is a non-starter for me. I think Gabby will find success in Columbus (former teammates, no defensive responsibilities, less media scrutiny, etc.), and I wish him nothing but success…just not against us.

  • The noobs exercised Torts game plan without even knowing it, having arrived mere minutes prior to the warm up. Do they all have the power to devine Tort’s intentions. Are they so special that can they understand in 5 minutes what Torts has been preaching all season? That’s one hell of trade. Makes the guys already on the Rangers roster look pretty stupid because they didn’t get it sooner. Let’s hope Tortorella just let’s them play tonight.

    • ‘cmon, let’s not act like Torts is preaching some sort of unintelligible hockey voodoo here. He plays a pretty standard 2-1-2 forecheck and collapsing d-zone. As The Suit mentioned the other day, the Sharks play a similar system. I’m pretty sure each of these new guys have experience with a similar style at some level of competitive hockey.

      It’s also a relatively simple system if executed properly, and that’s exactly what we saw on Wednesday.

    • Again execution of a simple 2-1-2 and collapse d-zone. Systems aren’t a list of 100’s of set plays (when f1 has the puck in the corner and f2 is in the slot, but 2 opposing dmen are on you, pass to strongside d1 at the point, unless xyz)…hockey is too much fluid a game for that.

      Systems are a high level strategy that teams have so that they are all following the same strategy and are on the same page/have a *general* idea where they are on the ice and have a *general* idea of what there options are. If f1 is on the forecheck and gets the puck in the corner he knows that he can keep cycling and f2 will be in position to get to the puck behind the net, go to the net himself, pass to f3 who is getting into position near the front of the net or low slot, go to d1 at the near point or d2 creeping in from the far weakside point. F1 has a general idea of what his opions are. It is up to f1 at this point to read the play and make the right choice. If it’s cycling, you play strong along the boards, look for a breakdown/best open man, and make a play.

      This sounds complicated, but there are not a whole lot of systems. If you know what a 2-1-2 is, and at the NHL level you do and have probably played it at some point as it’s one of the most common schemes, you’ll know generally where to be and what your job is.

      And remember, the 2-1-2 (or any forechecking scheme) begins when you are in the offensive zone and your team doesn’t possess the puck (thus “defense starts when you don’t have the puck”).

      It isn’t a set-play offensive system, and it doesn’t affect what you are coming on a rush. If you get solid possession of the puck again and have created some room, the creativity part starts again, whether that is shooting at the net for a deflection, making moves and breaking to the net, or a tic-tac-toe play (or if you don’t have the puck and you are a forward, *actively* finding the open ice or getting to the front of the net).

      Yeah I just said last night I’d give up as folks rather just slap the keyboard angrily without thinking and make breakdowns consisting of complete analysis on the entire game based solely on W or L.

      But what can I say, I’m troll bait, especially before coffee or after 3 drinks (I assure you at this time of day it’s the former).

  • Richards got re-credited with the Boyle goal yesterday afternoon. Boyle went from 4 points to 2

    • That means Clowe picked up the secondary assist, giving him 2 goals and 2 assists for 4the points along with Brassatd’s 4 points. What a night.

      How did Boyle go from 4 points to 2 by losing credit for the goal? He still had 3 assists, no?

  • Nice commentary. As always with this team, we need to string 2-3-4 good games together. They have shown this effort before, only to be followed by a 2-0 loss. The new guys can play “playoff hockey”. We need to get dirty in the corners and hog the puck. I like what I see, but let’s see this 3 games in a row.

    • Thanks Sal. I agree, I’m looking for some consistency in their play. It was a beautiful thing to watch on Wed, but I want to see them be able to sustain at least that basic level of play as we go forward.

  • Excellent post. I like the comp to ’94. I like even better that they didn’t give up the future to get the grit.

  • Justin, nice write up, especially the fact that next season, when the two Swedes are available, we have all kinds of flexibality, moving players up, or down the line up.

    Your point on Moore was basically what I said yesterday, the kid has great skating ability, and gives us another weapon from the point. With a healthy Staal, and Mc Ilrath in the line up, we will be the envey of the NHL with our D-corp.

    As for Clowe, sign him for three, maybe four years, at $4 mil per, thats about what he makes now. If he likes it here, and really wants a shot at the cup, he should sign for that range, both in years, and dollars.

    Lets see a repeat of the other night tonight. I don’t believe that the game will be one sided, they were caught off guard, but I’ll take a 3-1 score, with us on top.

  • We lost a 1st rd pick.Clowe is 30+ sign him at 10mill/3yrs.Buy B.RICH out for flexibility.Tweleve games left it’s on Torts now he’s got his players.

      • If THIS team doesn’t make the playoffs or go out early buy him out now.Branch Ricky rather trade a player 1yr early than 1yr late or in this case buy out.Read Vinny Prospal speaking on Trots coaching style after Gaborik game winning goal.

          • “Let’s put it this way: That is the only way that coach Tortorella knows how to coach,” Prospal said. “That’s the way he has been ever since I got to know him in Year 2000. He’s not going to change because of certain players. You either can play under or him or you can’t and sometimes you just go different ways but he’s a good teacher, he’s a good coach and I know, particularly in my game, he helped me quite a bit…

            “You just have to make it look like a fresh start, and [Gaborik] made it look really good for himself today.”

            I would say that’s fair, but make sure you read all of it too. He has his own style and sticks with it, but most coaches do…he has run different systems though, so he can coach different strategies…I think it’s more about his style.

            He’s brash, but many successful coaches are. If you can’t hang with it, you aren’t meant to play for him, but he does teach and improve players. But if you can’t take the heat…

          • say what you want about Tortorella, but Gaborik still scored 114 goals in 255 games as a Ranger… that is .447 goals per game, 36.65 goals per 82 game season. I think he did just fine under Tortorella.

          • Prospal is speaking to the system and style.He’s not going to change because of certain players. Gaborik needed to be traded for more assets to help this team.He gave everything he had and i thank him for that.We will see if these are the right assests.Coaches should give players a system of play that fits their talents.Great coaches do that.Again i point to Pat Riley or Red Holzman.You let Wayne be Gretzky,Paul be Coffey and Mark be Messier.It’s on Trots here on end.He has his players up and down the line up now win or go.

          • Coaches shouldn’t change their foundation around one player. Systems are built with the team in mind. This is the right system for this team. This is the right coach for this team. If he wasn’t, Torts wouldn’t be here and Gabby would still be a Ranger. Move on guys. Playoffs ahead.

  • Does anyone know when Rangers/Flyers 24/7 will be available on DVD? All I’ve found is the BluRay disk on a couple obscure, sketchy websites.

    • From what I’ve been seeing, I’m believing that it’s the type of situation in which if he does ever play again, it’s an unexpected surprise.

      And if he surprisingly does, I wouldn’t expect him to be his old self for a long while. Would be ecstatic if I was wrong, but I’m not going to hold my breath on this one.

    • There’s a few recent articles floating around that all say he comes in every now and then to meet with the team doctors, but is still battling symptoms, and that the Rangers don’t know if he will return or not. My guess, unfortunately, his career is probably over.

  • Bang on Justin, exactly my take on it.

    I actually had a comment from over a year ago suggesting looking at Dorsett and Brassard as trade possibilities.

    Dorsett is a 10G 10fight type of player. Those are actually hard to come by, even more rare then a 40g scorer. I think there were 7 of them the prior season, Boston had 3 of them. Prust was another.

    You are going to love him.

  • Trading Gaboriuk will not hurt this team as I been saying all along it is addition by subtraction. Miller and Kreider are going to be good hockey players, but it’s not their time yet. Don’t expect Clowe to score 2 goals a game but he makes his team better. No longer will they be constantly looking over their shoulder worrying about some goon taking their head off. This is a team that is defensive sound and will score by committee. They have a great leader in Ryan Callahan and a experience coach who knows what its takes to win. Lastly, Lundquist is still the king, he will take this team to the promise land.

    • I think more importantly than goon defense, he is also willing to do the hard work for puck possession and willing to back check…just fits the system.

  • It’s a brand new team folks, give them 5 games before speculating. This new team far more resembles last years team with more skill than the opening day roster did. They will make the playoffs and I guarantee no one wants to play them in the 1st round. They are much more imposing team today that can intimidate as well. Let’s go Rangers

    • Give them five games before speculating ( 5 weeks would be more appropriate, with the understanding it was a mere “beginning”), while I proceed to speculate…..:-).

  • Another benefit of trading Gaborik NOW instead of LATER…

    If the Rangers waited until next year they risk him getting injured (again)… in that case, they risk loosing him to free agency getting nothing in return.

    I have a feeling Moore will be the diamond in the rough from this trade, the Rangers know what they’re doing when it comes to developing successful defenseman and this kid has the makings for another Ryan McDonagh.

    • Brendan: Agree. This has, at least, the shape of a trade I’ve been urging for a while.
      Will not know for a good stretch whether the tactics (players) are on the money, but the strategy (trade a sometimes injury-prone and often invisible but legit scorer for younger, better-balanced, more night-in-night-out guys, and save some useful bucks in a decreasing cap year) was fine.

  • Gaborik looked like he didn’t care anymore, like he didn’t wanna be in NY anymore. He gets a fresh start in Columbus, scores the game-winning goal and has an assist in his first game with them. He obviously has talent still, but he wasn’t going to use it with the Rangers.

    The new guys all looked good. Hopefully the team can repeat their performance from Wednesday. If we make the playoffs, there is a good chance we’ll play the Pens first round. What a better way to go into a series then by sticking it to that team a few times right before.

    • Trots wore him out.Hell he waived his no trade to go to Columbus.The guy held off shoulder surgery to continue in the playoffs.

      • Torts may be a grating coach, but the athletes are supposed to be professionals. For 7.5mil a year, I expect Gaby to take his lumps and play his ass off. Not go through the motions and expect to get by on his talent alone. Yes, he was unmotivated and did not see eye to eye with the coach. Most of us had bosses we did not like or agree with, but we still make it work. I have no respect for athletes who forget that they are getting payed to play a game that most of us would kill to do for free.

        • You would play at that level for free?Right.He took his lumps see scar on his shoulder.Exactly how many goals did he scored last yrs.He scored the game winning goal last nite assisted by Dubi, MOTIVATED.You mustn’t have any respect for B.RICH than getting paid an awful lot of chedder.

          • I don’t argue that Gabby is much more motivated now. My point is, he’s not a 12 year old, but a professional athlete. If he’s able to play at that level, he should; if one game is Columbus is any indication, his shoulder is not what was causing him not to score. What, he needs a rousing motivational speech by the coach before every game? Richards should also be held accountable, but his compete level seems higher.

            Also, Blueshirt in Paris, good point. It’s not so much his heart that I question, but his level of gamesmanship and professionalism. I take it for granted that anyone who plays pro hockey at any level has heart and balls of record proportions.

      • I dont think people should be questioning Gabby heart in this.

        He tried, it wore on him, he played through injuries, he scored big goals for us.

        It was just a tough season for him and he is behind Nash and Cally on RW (Miller also if you want to count him).

        If we were not going to resign him, then just say goodbye now. If we were going to resign him, we still can but with those additional 3 players.

  • I don’t like the whole idea of top six – bottom six and i think that that notion has a lot to do with the problems this year. The third line is going to get a lot of ice time and if you don’t take your third line seriously, you are apt to end up with something like what we got this year. When Boyle-Prust-Fedotenko were at their peak, they were a shut down line that could score a little. This year, we’ve gotten third lines that were offensively inept and not too bad defensively, a big difference.

  • You mentioned the availability of positions opening up for Miller, Kreider, Fast, and Lindebrg among others as a positive that you could take away from this trade. I gotta say that I think the EXACT opposite to be true. The Rangers drafts have gone extremely well latley and there have been many kids coming out of college, overseas, and the CHL who are ready or close to ready to make the jump. We see that they have had success with this is McD, Stepan, DZ, Hags, and others.

    What we are not recognizing is that this path is NOT what should be expected, this is for the extraordinary, not the ordinary. The regular path to the NHL typically should include a year, two, or even three in the minors to help develop their bodies before they come in and end up losing confidence and/or get seriously injured. For the more raw prospects, of which NYR has plenty, they belong in the AHL. Kreider was a raw prospect when they drafted him and remains so. The kid could be a HUGE difference maker with his skill set if he is given the time to develop properly. We as fans want to see him on Broadway tearing it up, but he is not ready for that. Big Mac needs time, Thomas, Bourque, Yogan, Fasth, all of these guys could end up stalling their development if they are rushed. Let them tear up the AHL, and hopefully win a Calder Cup or two together before they try to dominate at the NHL level.

    Miller might be ready, obvioulsy not to take a scoring role, but his body is NHL ready. Lindberg could be ready to take a bottom 6 role as well after playing in the SEL (though I strongly believe Fasth needs to add some weight before playing 1 game in New York). This is how the best teams develop players. In Detroit, they wait two or three years more than anybody thinks they should to bring up prospects. Lets be the Detroit of the East, er, I guess I mean the other Detroit of the East now? Whatever, lets give the kids time to develop and dominate in the AHL. Its where most of them belong.

    • I think you stake out a valid position bogans, even though I disagree. I’m fairly opposed to blanket organizational philosophies without taking the individual player/executive/coach into account.

      While its probably a safe philosophy to uniformly give prospects a slow, steady development period, I believe it should be an individual assessment of the player’s NHL readiness.

      The organization has the resources and the utility to complete the diligence on each individual player to make that determination. If a kid is ready, give him a shot. Always make decisions with their development in mind, but I see nothing wrong with letting them try to swim in the deep end.

  • You forgot to add that the Rangers have also given Columbus a 1st round pick.. While i like the flexibility that the trades give the Rangers the reference to the 1994 trades makes me pause. No one can argue that winning the cup makes all those move worthwhile.. but that team gave up all its youth for that Win (something that should not have had to be as they certainly had the talent and toughness to win anyway). Amonte and Weight went on to have great careers and the Rangers went on to mediocrity after that. The difference now is that if the Rangers go on to success (A BIG IF), they will not have sacrificed their developing younger players…. just a few draft picks next year are gone.

    • You make a good point, Mark. I was referencing more the type of culture change at the NHL level that the trade had, rather than the organizational implications. But I agree the youth is much more in tact this time around. We actually got younger with trades themselves this time.

      • The trades to the 94 cup were for HOFers or near HOFers or proven cup winners.These trade don’t compare not even close.We had LEETCH a HOFer.

        • Dude, too literal. It was simply a passing observation of a pretty big team shake up that transformed a soft team into a tough team. There are obviously going to be substantive differences, they are different decades, but there are parallels.

      • Yes, as a general identity change, it is similar to ’94. Gartner, Turcotte, Amonte shipped out for less scoring but more for need.

        That is where the comparison stops. Unless you want to say Clowe is our Larmer.

        We got younger, more skilled, opened cap and we have the prospect depth to take a ‘blip’ in our depth chart.

        In fact, if you look down the forwards Haggs, CK, Fast, Miller, St Croix, McColgan, Yogan, Lindberg, Thomas, etc…you are already seeing a bit of a log jam. This pause might actually not be a terrible thing.

        If you can take just a blip on your org depth and put yourself closer to contend, then you do it.

  • Key for the Rangers is to see if Staal will resign with us. If he does not want to resign I say trade him for Picks in this years draft and next. If he resigns, then extend him now versus at the last second. Also resigning Stepan, McDonagh, Hagelin and Clowe will be paramount.
    Dorsett will be our next Prust. He will be a good fit. Powe has been good. Lindberg should be a tremendous asset next year. Keep Boyle on the wing as he will still be valuable. He is great on draws and penalty kills.

    Our defense for next year should be intriguing to see
    I think it will look like this

    Girardi with Moore
    McIlrath with McDonagh
    Del Zotto with Stralman
    and a 7th D man
    Staal traded for a couple of number 1 picks

    Staal resigns then

    Staal with Girardi or Girardi with McDonagh
    McIlrath with McDonagh or Staal with McIlrath
    Del Zotto with Moore
    7th D man Stralman

    I hope Staal wants to stay in Blue, if he does not then he should be traded in the off season to add more to the prospect pool

    Mind you our system will have Connor Allen, Sam Noreau and Tommy Hughes…possibly Skeij

    vying for spots are Hrvik, Thomas, Miller, Kreider, Lindberg and Fasth

    guys for the 4th line that could compete would be Jason Wilson and Kyle Palmeri

    So as I see it we are way healthy for a few years to come

    • I agree, but I doubt they are having those conversations right now.

      But something or better yet someone has to give.

      So you are looking at either Staal or MDZ to be used to try to land a #1RD and move Girardi down to where he would thrive, 2RD.

      Bogisian, perhaps.

    • I like the thinking on Staal, especially if the kid
      Moore continues to show well. I’d rather he, like Gabby, be traded in roughly the same kind of deal Gabby was – youngsters who’ve already shown something this level.

      As for all that depth, I’ll continue residin’ in a conceptual Missouri:-).

      Show me!!!

  • Dorsett is very much like Prust, however, he is more feared on open ice and in the boards. That is not a critique of Prust at all; rather, an acknowledgement of Dorsett’s physical strength. He will prove critical to this team in short order. Problem is he is presently injured.

    I’ve been a Gaborik fan from day one of his signing, and consistently defended him on the boards. Yet, I think this is a great trade for the Rangers. In exchange for trading down in point production from Gaborik to Brassard (who is no slouch offensively) the Rangers address two gaping holes in Doresett and Moore.

    Let’s face it: this team has not had a true, 3rd pairing defensive unit since Sauer’s injury two seasons ago. Moore and Stralman, upon Stal’s return, will be a more-than-legitimate 3rd pairing. I always believed part of last year’s exit from the playoffs was because lack of defensive unit depth — as good as Stralman played, for example, he was not performing at the level of a top four Stanley Cup defenseman. These are important holes Rangers management filled and getting a younger Brassard who is good for 50-60 points per year is outstanding.

    As the article suggests, when considered within the context of the Nash trade, and all players are considered, Rangers management performed superbly, in my view.

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