Irresponsible RumormongeringMusings

What if the Rangers decided to sell?

Girardi. (Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
Girardi. (Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Yesterday I was locked in a very interesting discussion on Twitter with Adam Herman (NYR Blog), Kevin Power (Blueshirt Banter), and George Ays (RangerSmurf) about the feasibility of a Rangers fire sale at this year’s trade deadline. Without getting into specifics of whether they should sell or they shouldn’t (it’s worth noting that the contract extension for Henrik Lundqvist all but locks the Rangers into win-now mode, whether you like it or not), the one thing we all agreed on is that the Rangers have a few pieces that could net them a really solid return.

There are two paths the Rangers could technically take when it comes to a fire sale:

  1. A complete blow up and rebuild, which would mean selling off as many assets as possible for picks and prospects. This would involve tanking, hoping to draft Connor McDavid in 2015, loading up on lottery picks, and using them to follow the path laid out by the Penguins and the Blackhawks. This would easily set the Rangers back at least five years in their Stanley Cup hopes. That said, tanking doesn’t always work. Just look at Edmonton and Columbus (and potentially Florida and the Islanders).
  2. Selling off assets with no future on the team in an effort to retool. This would likely mean selling off any player that the Rangers do not have in their long-term plan, or any player that could fetch them a king’s ransom at the deadline. This is the route that the Bruins took, and it worked out pretty well for them. This isn’t fool-proof either, but it also doesn’t have the five-year waiting period. A retooling would set the Rangers back 1-3 years, depending on the return and player development.

For the sake of this post, let’s assume that the Rangers would choose option #2, and retool the team.

Starting with the top, Rick Nash wouldn’t be moved in a retooling. Brad Richards would be bought out. Ryan McDonagh isn’t getting moved (not even in a complete blow up). Hank isn’t being traded either. Marc Staal, Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, Derek Dorsett, and Cam Talbot are all good pieces and signed to reasonable deals through next season. This team isn’t trading their captain, so Ryan Callahan stays. Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello are RFAs and, given their performance, likely wouldn’t be dealt either. Only one of John Moore/Michael Del Zotto would get moved. Let’s assume it’s the latter.

That leaves the following players that the Rangers could move to retool the team: Del Zotto, Dan Girardi, Anton Stralman, Brian Boyle, Benoit Pouliot, and Dominic Moore (Justin Falk and Dan Carcillo don’t have much value). The first four would probably net a serious return for the Rangers. Moore and Pouliot would likely be packaged with the first four.

Del Zotto. (Photo: Anthony J. Causi)
Del Zotto. (Photo: Anthony J. Causi)

Let’s start with the player most likely to be traded regardless of the situation: Del Zotto. MDZ would probably fetch a solid return, since he is a 24-year-old RFA defenseman that has put up 40 points once and 37 points twice (last year he was on pace for 37 points). He isn’t getting a fair shake from the fans, but that doesn’t erase his value. Let’s assume he fetches a young NHL ready player, but not the top-four guy Slats is rumored to be looking for. Using the Leafs as the example, he would probably fetch Jake Gardiner. There would probably be other pieces thrown in, but those two would be the center pieces.

Let’s mov to Girardi, which is something we’ve touched on before. The return for Girardi would be tremendous. He is a top-pairing defenseman that is right-handed, plays 22 minutes, and has missed four games in his entire NHL career. A playoff team looking to really solidify their defense would jump on him in a heartbeat. The price would be what Marian Hossa fetched Atlanta in 2008: two young NHL players, a top prospect, and a 1st round pick. The trade also sent then-spare-forward Pascal Dupuis to Pittsburgh, so let’s assume a trade like this would include one of Pouliot or Moore. Anaheim is the team that was most recently linked to Girardi, so we are looking at a deal centered around Kyle Palmieri, one of Sami Vatanen/Hampus Lindholm, a prospect, and a first.

Boyle is easy. If Paul Gaustad can fetch a first round pick, so can Boyle.

Stralman is the tough one to figure out. He’s a guy that people only appreciate if you are into #fancystats. He’s been steady, he plays from the right side, and he’s relatively durable. He doesn’t wow you on the scoreboard, but he’s the best Rangers possession defenseman. He’s a top-four guy that plays all three zones very well. I would think he fetches a prospect that is very close to the NHL and a high pick, potentially a first rounder. I may be overshooting that though.

Is it worth it for the Rangers to retool? Personally I think they should lock up Girardi now, and look into re-signing Boyle and Stralman, depending on price tags. This team isn’t a retooling away from contending. They have a hole or two to fill. But that’s just my opinion.

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  • I have a different take. I think Boyle should be traded. I think he is redundant in the organization. Proof is that he is now playing left wing. With JT Miller and eventually Oscar Lindbergh the speed and face offs of D. Moore – Boyle becomes a very nice trade able asset at the deadline.

    I agree to resign girardi and cally. Those guys don’t grow on trees.

    Organizationally there is not a lot of depth to start trading young soon to be ready nhl players without getting some in return. This is likely the team going to the playoffs this year.

    • I would keep Boyle instead of Moore. IMO. Moore is over the hill and have no place on the Rangers or any other NHL teams. He is useless.

  • Oh. Forgot to add this. I know Boyle is a very valuable penalty killer and I like his game for what he is but I am just saying he can fetch a decent return and be replaced.

  • Interesting post. Definitely feel like you’ve identified some interesting players that may be worth moving sooner rather than later. Disagree on some of the return though.
    I don’t see how Girardi, a shutdown defensemen, would get the same value at the trade deadline as what a 40 goal scorer got 5 years ago. Seems like something Pagnotta or one of those guys would come up with.

    I think a more realistic starting point would be Regehr, who netted two 2nd round picks last year.  Since G is younger maybe he nets 1st and an NHL ready player, or something along those lines.

    Boyle’s lack of goals probably knocks him down to a 2nd round pick.   

    • Do you think it’s possible the Rangers are looking to deal Girardi but were waiting for Hank to find his game and to see what they have in Allen & McIllrath? The Ducks have some nice young NHL players. Like Silverberg and Cogliano.Vatinen is a little small but he’s a righty. Maybe that does happen. Not a retool but fitting the team to AV.

      • I have a hard time seeing them trading Girardi. The supply for top pairing right-handed shutdown defensemen is pretty limited.  Given we’d all like him to have a cannon from the point, or perhaps be a little quicker, but those guys are tough to find.

  • Being in NY may set up a different mindset then in other parts of the country. They almost need to be a playoff contender every year, or the press and the fans will scream from the hills. That said, I think you can move Stall, Stepan, Hags, Talbot, Moore and others to beef up the young core without dropping us into last place. I also think fans here value these players higher than other teams do.

    • Your opinion is a popular one, and none of them are untouchable. For the sake of the post, I left off any guys that were signed for next year. 

      • Thought provoking piece, Dave.
        At the same time I hold dear to the jersey, sense of legacy. Certain Rangers should never have been traded: Messier, Adam Graves, Matteau, Ian Laperriere. Hell, Brandon Dubinsky had future captain material written all over him…
        Dan Girardi deserves the same kind of consideration. Moreover, the organizational depth behind him on that side isn’t overwhelming.
        Inasmuch, Kyle Palmieri has great upside, seems to be coming into his game. Same for Nick Bonino, if he somehow becomes a component in any trade. (I live in Cali, see them both semi-irregularly owing to NHL Gamecenter blackouts).  
        Clearly anyone could be moved. But Girardi, like Capt. Callahan deserves a certain higher level of deference when it comes to such considerations. 

  • I wouldn’t think of doing anything until the dead line, and see if we are, or are not a play-off team.  If we make it, then we keep Girardi, and move MDZ only, to see what we can get.  If we don’t make the play-offs, then MDZ, Staal, D Moore, and Strahlman would be the pieces that I’d move!
    Everyone is down on Boyle, he is a very good shut down guy, face off guy, with stone hands.  Probably our best PK guy, and if need be, can play center, or wing, which is valuable.
     I’d start contract talks with him to see what he wants, and or if he wants to stay.  Given a small raise, I’d keep him.  If his demands are too high, trade him.

  • In regards to SalMerc’s comments above, I’m curious as to what Dave and Co think of our options at C. I’d very much think that Stepan is off the board (won’t be traded) unless we get another C coming our way. With Richards very likely to be bought out this season, and Brassard’s inability to cement himself as a top 6 pivot, we would be EXTREMELY weak at C if Stepan was traded.
    I would think something much more realistic would be to buy Richards out this summer and use his money to bring in a true #1 C. Perhaps Stasny will be available as was discussed earlier this week. Who else will be a UFA this summer that we could look at??
    Also, regarding Boyle talk, I am very much in his corner but if we look at rostering  _____, Stepan, Brassard as out top 3 next yr, do we still want to keep him as the 4 C spot in our lineup? I think the answer lies in this question…. is Lindberg good enough to be our Sean Couterier next year? Rookie shutdown center. Are we willing to live with his growing pains? Probably not if we want to gun for a deep run next yr.
    If we are going to make a run this yr, next yr, the yr after, I think we want Boyle as our 4C. And perhaps Lindberg should slot in Brassard’s spot and be given more sheltered minutes. The question remains what is easier to replace- Boyle’s defensive prowess or Brassard’s offensive potential and pp effectiveness?
    Dave, Suit, etc…. could you guys weigh in?

    • Stepan may not be an elite center, but he’s a solid #1 guy. Brass is probably your #3, Boyle your #4. When Richards is bought out, they will need a #2, which is where Stastny probably slots in if the Rangers go that route.

      Don’t know if Lindberg will be ready next year. That’s up in the air. I wouldn’t pencil him in until we see him get a cuppa this season. He is certainly not going to be counted on to score as a 3C.

      • I could see where Step, Stasny, Brass, and Boyle being our 4-C’s.  Another group could be Step, Brass, Miller, and Lindburg, with Boyle at the wing!! 
        I like the Miller kid very much, and he may develope as the #2 center, keeping Brass as the #3 center, with Lindburg as #4.

    • I feel that aggregating weak centers is something the NYR’s have done for too long. That said, your point about replacing Brassard’s offense may be easier that Boyle’s defense is true. I just can’t get past the fact that we have a hulking center who rarely stands in front of the oppositions net, rarely fights and even more rarely makes others on his line better (offensively).

      • I don’t think Stepan will get traded either. With Richie likely getting bought out, Step is probably a 2nd line center, perhaps a 1st liner, but the jury is still out there. Either way they could use another top 6 center.

        I can go either way with Boyle. His defensive skills are certainly coachable and thus replaceable and his lack of speed doesn’t make him ideal for this system. With that said, his current contract is reasonable for what he is. The question becomes whether or not they feel they can replace him with someone in the AHL or through other means. 

    • If Miller & Lindberg can’t even make it as 4th line defensive centers next season, then they need to be traded.  Dominic Moore is good on faceoffs/defensively & could easily be our 4th line center.  Color Mr Boyle gone for a draft pick.
      Acquiring Andrew Cogliano for either Girardi or MDZ would be nice and improve team speed dramatically.  Plus, Cogliano never misses a game & is great defensively.
      Moving Girardi or MDZ for a draft pick works also as Rangers should target RFAs right handed defensemen from Columbus David Savard & Dan Prout.  Both are available and both defensive types that would complement McDonough.
      McIlRath for Prout makes sense as Columbus acquires a player with one more year under their control and Rangers acquire a better player than McIlRath who has already fought both Lucic and Chris Neil.
      Of course trading both former 1st rd picks MDZ and McIlrath for players who were acquired via the draft in the 3rd or 4th rd, but Gordie Clark has reached the end of the line pretty much…and both he & Sather should be cut loose soon.
      Trading Brassard for Dubinsky saves Columbus a million a year and Rangers acquire a leader, solid faceoff man, and become tougher….forcing Rangers to walk away from Boyle.
      With Stepan,  Cogliano, Dubinsky, Moore, Lindberg, & Miller Rangers at center will be just fine.  Cogliano is poor on faceoffs, but Dubinsky, Moore, Lindberg, & Miller are not. So I could see a line pairing Cogliano with Miller, Lindrberg, or Moore.
      The one unknown is Sather….can e figure it out? 

      • Don’t see Dubi being traded to us for Brass!
        They haven’t give the Mc Ilrath kid a real chance in the bigs, they won’t trade him either.

  • Well thought out analyses and write-up, thank you.
    I do take issue with the basic premise that resigning Hank firmly established this organization as a won-now type operating focus.  It seems very logical to lock-up an elite goaltender such as Hank which, along with McDonagh and Staal, offer a defensive core that solidifies prospects for the playoffs each year.  This would enable the club to rebuild by off-loading the bulk of other UFAs/RFAs.

  • Could see signing RFAs right handed defensemen David Savard & Dan Prout of Columbus being signed.  If not trade McIlrath for Prout .  Columbus gets one year more control with McIlrath.  Prout has already fought Lucic to a draw.  
    Keep/resign Girardi & John Moore.
    Trade Stralman  & Staal, both have peaked, both are suffering defensively this year, but Vigneult can only pick on so many people.
    Trade Brassard, but who would want him?  Dubinsky an option?  Dubinsky would eliminate need for Boyle as Dubinsky is solid on faceoffs & is tougher than Boyle. However, Columbus saves only $1 mil was moving Dubinsky.
    Target Stasny or Moulson as UFAs.  Stasny a playmaker, Moulson a finisher.  Rangers need playmaking skills or scoring?  Stasny 2 years younger, Moulson, like Girardi, doesn’t miss games.

  • First, do we know for sure they is no trade market for Brad Richards? He is at least as good as Mike Riberio and if the Rangers throw some cash in the deal they may find a taker. I would rather see Cally and Danny G in Rangers jersey next season, but if they want ridiculous Henk Lundquist type contracts then I would move them. I like Boyle too, but they can replace him and he would fetch good trade value for a team wanting to make a splash in the playoffs. Trading MDZ is a mistake, he is the kind of player you want to keep, young and talented with upside.

    • The motivation for buying out Richards is to avoid the possible and massive “Cap-Recapture” penalty if he retires with time left on his contract.  Trading Richards (who also has a no movement clause) does not get the Rangers out of the Cap-Recapture penalty. 
      Just so you know, the penalty would be roughly $6M against the cap from the year BR retires until 2020 (the  end of his current contract).

  • I don’t see bow we resign Callahan an Girardi if the goal is winning the Stanley Cup.  These players are well liked and respected amongst the fan base, including me, but need another top line scoring forward and some toughness on defense amongst the top four d-men.
    In retrospect, the Calgary Flames held onto Iginla too long by about 3 years; the Rangers are at the beginning stages of thinking about Callahan’s long-term value.
    Sell high / buy low — isn’t that what GMs are supposed to do?

    • Don’t see how res-signing them affects their ability to fill the hole of an additional scorer. It won’t hurt them. In fact, re-signing them should be critical, because they would need to replace them otherwise.

  • Cally is the glue guy and that is going to be his role at the Olympics as well. So if we don’t have Cally or Girardi, you do you see fulfilling that role?  Please don’t say Nash which is nonsense.

  • I think you’re dreaming to compare the return for Girardi to the return for Hossa and thinking that Boyle would yield a 1st rounder.

  • good post, but serious problems w/it.
    “t’s worth noting that the contract extension for Henrik Lundqvist all but locks the Rangers into win-now mode, whether you like it or not)” is totally false and ya gotta be called out on that.
    Rangers don’t have enough horses.
    Won’t dominate/compete at highest level without more talent.
    Must add talent. Ok to take a shot in playoffs while you’re there, but in terms of a serious run, moves have to be made first.
    PERIOD. This ‘win now’ modes is BS, there has to be bending, buckling and breaking on the position of entertaining it.
    Do it my way, we have a chance next year or after.
    Do it your way, minimal chance and we need more luck.
    My way:
    move the guys indicated + Dorsett, keep Dom Moore.
    Big thing is deal Stepan for something you need.
    If Nash gets you Weber and Weber + Staal + gets you MacKinnon, then Nash goes, but that’s not open and shut. Otherwise he stays.
    Ranger Cs
    Richards – buy out
    Miller — he is the only guy w/enough speed for Kreider on go go line
    Lindberg next year super swede line with Hags + Fast = 3rd line
    Moore = 4th line C, also would even give him shot at 1C, I think he brings more in ability + intensity than Stepan/Richards, and is potentially underutilized
    More realistically, Brassard is likely 1C, also Zuc has come on like gangbusters, but still gives up a lot playing D vs. bigger counterparts at W. However, he has great vision + passing, better skater/shooter than Stepan, would make good C, competes for 1C, and playing pivot has less action along the boards, which helps him defensively.
    There ya go…

    • Seriously? Are you trolling?
      Brassard or Moore as fist line centers? On what ECHL team?
      “Your way” leaves a team with MacKinnon in his sophomore season playing with Zucc and a castoff from another team or a rookie, sophomore Kreider playing with a 2C of Miller who can’t crack the existing lineup, 2 unproven rookies playing with Hagelin on the 3rd line, and a 4th line of castoffs and rookies. 
      I have no desire to watch a team where Brassard is the highest paid skater and D Moore or Zucc are in consideration for 1st line center.

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