According to Steve Zipay, there are some rumors floating around involving the New York Rangers and three others teams: the Columbus Blue Jackets, Phoenix Coyotes, and Florida Panthers. It seems that every training camp, the Rangers are involved in something, but given they actually have cap space to work with now, this time around I would actually read into what is being said.
We all know the Rangers are looking for a top-flight center, my guess is because Derek Stepan may not pan out the way they are hoping for this season, or unless they want to send him down to develop more. The Rangers are also looking for an experienced defenseman, which Steve Eminger might not seem to get the job done as.
This will probably be the youngest defensive corps the Blueshirts have ever fielded. Aside from 32-year-old Michal Rozsival, it includes Michael Del Zotto (20), Marc Staal (23), Dan Girardi (26), Matt Gilroy (26), and a combination of Steve Eminger (27), Ryan McDonagh (20), Michael Sauer (23), and Pavel Valentenko (23). Of the last four mentioned, only two will make it, and the logical choice would be McDonagh or Valentenko and then Eminger. Although both of those younger players deserve it, it is not a good idea for the Rangers to have one of them sitting on the bench as a seventh defenseman, and having them split time does not make any sense either.
The Rangers could use an experienced defenseman, but who is really out there and available?
The name that I always like to bring up, and a name who seems to get involved on its own anyway, is Sheldon Souray. But this is a tough one– if the Rangers trade for him they would have to deal Rozsival, and if they do that, they will be right back at square one when it comes to veteran defensemen.
In getting to the teams that Zipay actually mentioned, there really isn’t an experienced defenseman on either that could help the Rangers. On Columbus, I would steer clear of Mike Commodore, but if there is a player that the Rangers may be interested in, it could be Jan Hejda. The 32-year-old defenseman has 264 games of NHL experience with Columbus and Edmonton and is a +23 for his career, even though he has played on some bad teams. His cap hit is only $2 million as well. For centermen, they have no one that could potentially be the Rangers top line center.
As for Phoenix being involved, this really should not come as a surprise to anyone since the two teams usually find a way to make a deal every season. The one legitimate rumor out there is Michael Sauer for Viktor Tikhonov, but this really does not help the Rangers in any way, because he is a winger. I would still make the trade, though, because if they send Sauer down he could be claimed on waivers and the Rangers might as well get something for him while they have the chance. In regards to Tikhonov, last year was his rookie campaign and he put up eight goals and eight assists for 16 points in 61 games. He was also the Coyotes’ first round pick in 2008.
In getting to Florida, the name being thrown out there by Newsday is Stephen Weiss. Though he would be a good fit in the Rangers top six, the Panthers will in all likelihood want Dubinsky in return, and even though I have never been his biggest fan, I would not deal him because the Rangers will once again be right back where they started, and would need a center.
Aside from the Sauer deal, the only way the Rangers could work something out may be a three-way deal. The Blue Jackets had an interest in Sheldon Souray, according to one of the sources for Yahoo’s Fantasy Hockey updates, but if they don’t pull the trigger in getting him, perhaps they, along with the Rangers and Oilers, could pull off a trade.
The Rangers could send Michael Rozsival to Columbus for Jan Hejda and Steve Eminger to Edmonton for Sheldon Souray. Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets send Mike Commodore to Edmonton and the Oilers send them a forward or a draft pick as well.
The Oilers have not hidden the fact that Souray is not welcome on the team, or will he play a game for them this season. This drops his price, because they have no leverage now. They get Commodore who makes less money and can be very physical, the Blue Jackets get an offensive defenseman in Rozsival (perhaps he could put up 40 points again in a market other than New York), and the Rangers get two experienced defensemen, one of whom can help their already improving powerplay, and the other to be a steady second or third pairing defenseman.
This is all just thinking out loud, and I really have no idea if these teams would ever make such a deal. But that’s the fun part about trade rumors– we get to speculate a little bit.