Where do we go from here?
Over the past week, we here at BSB have torn into the Rangers organization. While most of our critiques in the past have included some form of hockey-based analysis to draw our conclusions, be it systems, stats, eye test, whatever, the past week was more subjective than objective. It was a good old fashioned venting session.
The plan for the week didn’t start that way. After all, we did correctly read the Rangers’ moves that they will be sellers. That was written last Sunday and published the following day. But by that time, the events of the week had really settled in. The Kevin Shattenkirk injury and news of how the Rangers handled it was first. Then came the tone deaf Ron Duguay comments. Then came some in-game decisions that were truly baffling. Add that all to a season that has seemed to lack direction, and we all just needed a good ole fashioned venting week.
That’s what happens when the team, which was doing so well both on the ice and in the front office until 2014, makes a complete 180 and makes a bunch of bone headed decisions in a row. In a cap league, you can’t do that. I think that point has gotten across, though. The horse is dead.
For those that have been here since we started in 2008, we were always cognizant of the larger plan the organization had. The on-ice product was rough sometimes, and there were front office goofs (Wade Redden), but the grand scheme of things was build through youth and establish good process. They did that, and we were able to see through losses to the bigger picture.
In case you haven’t put it together yet, it’s why we had a bit of a slow turn to the dark side over the past few years. It was gradual, with the complete turn happening last season, yet it was warranted. The process stunk, both on the ice and off. Wins can only mask so much. As loyal as I’d like to be to some players, I care more about the continued success of the team.
So where do we go from here?
Plain and simple – the Rangers will be sellers. It was hinted at before Brooks broke the news, and it’s something the Rangers have toyed with for a few years. This isn’t the first time Ryan McDonagh’s name has come up in trade talks, after all. And with Elliotte Freidman basically stating that the Rangers were going to trade him to Edmonton to draft Clayton Keller in 2016, it shows that the Blueshirts are aware they need an elite talent up front to win. Something they don’t have today.
I’d expect the Rangers to strategically sell. McDonagh is the single most valuable piece they have. If he is traded, it will stink to see him go. However you can expect at the very least a Keith Yandle type package. Like Yandle, acquiring McDonagh nets a team two playoff runs and a full season. The deal for Yandle was a top prospect, a 1st rounder, a 2nd rounder, and a young NHL player. Rick Nash and Michael Grabner might fetch that combined as well. Mats Zuccarello is another interesting name that could fetch a boat load, but in all fairness he’s the guy I want them to hold on to.
The Blueshirts appear to have a plan, and for the first time in a while it’s the right plan. But execution is key. The 2004 fire sale didn’t net much in the grand scheme of things. In a cap era, the Rangers need to ensure they get good pieces. Another Derek Stepan trade won’t do.