Sorry for such a boring, generic title, but I’m running low on New York Post back page cheese this morning. I also apologize for having to bring back the Marian Gaborik milk carton, which was actually quite popular a few weeks ago, but now, it is just angering, especially when you consider he had no shots on goal in last night’s debacle against the New Jersey Devils. I had created it in the midst of one of Gaborik’s (many) funks this current season, after which, he scored four goals against the Toronto Maple Leafs on January 19, prompting me to put a giant “FOUND” stamp over the front of the carton. But once again, Marian the Magnificent has disappeared after a hat trick, something he has done three times this season.
When I say “disappear” or “struggles” I am only referring to the goal scoring department, because he has a decent number of assists, but the Rangers aren’t paying him for assists, and they are not helping the team to win. The fact that he has more of them than goals this season only shows how deeply he has truly struggled. Yes, he missed some time early in the season, which could account for him being thrown off his stride, but he has been back for quite some time now, and for a player that never had a decent center for his entire career, he cannot blame this subpar campaign on that, because with a career winger as his center last year, he still found a way to put up 42 goals.
In 46 games this season, he has only 17 goals, but 10 of those goals have come in only three games: the hat tricks against the Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders, and the four goal performance recently against the Maple Leafs. That leaves him with an eye-opening seven goals in 43 games. Is that superstar material? Each time he has looked to bust out of a slump, he has fallen right back in. He had zero goals before his first hat trick, then went the next eight after it scoring only two. His second hat trick would break the mini-stretch of games, but in the 19 games following that, he would score only three goals. His four goal game against the Leafs at last seemed to be the end of this stagnant season, but it only proved to equate to his previous two outbursts, as he has two goals in twelve games since.
The New York Rangers need to do something, anything, to get this team back to where they were playing earlier. The team was expected to lack consistency, because of the amount of youth, but Marian Gaborik is no youngster, he should not be having this problem, or at least, not as drastically as he has been. If the New York Rangers cannot get Brad Richards from Dallas, something I really believe they will not be doing before free agency, then they must trade Marian Gaborik, it is that simple. He has not even looked good during his slumps—sometimes players will play well but just catch bad breaks—but he has not shown that explosive speed (or “powerful stride” as Joe Micheletti would call it) nor has he shown that devastating wrist shot except once or twice, when it was something we were used to seeing on a regular basis last year.
But who could the Rangers trade him to? Not only must a team be interested, but they must have the cap space to be able to take him, if they can’t send a star player back the other way. If the Rangers package Gaborik with another player, than perhaps a trade for Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings would not be out of the question. The Kings were rumored to have a heavy interest in Gaborik during the off-season, and if you were to add Gaborik to a very good lineup that already has a budding young star in Anze Kopitar, the team could take off, if a change of scenery would actually do him any good. I am not so sure if the Kings would trade away their captain, but then again, crazier things have happened.
If it was up to me, I would trade him for just some draft picks and a top prospect or two, but that could really set the Rangers back further as they would have no superstar in the franchise, either proven or potential, unless they want to wait for free agency, a term that should make all of us cringe. Perhaps the Rangers can even try to trade for Brad Richardson on Los Angeles, because his name looks similar to the coveted star they seek (I’m only kidding).
The Rangers need to do something here because this is not a slump Gaborik is in. He looks disinterested, which usually marks the end of one’s tenure with a particular organization. John Tortorella can only change the lines so many times before he must realize that nothing can be done to jump-start him. It was reported on NHL.Com a few weeks ago that “Sather would listen to offers for Gaborik”. Well, let’s see if he becomes a little more serious and starts talking trade, because if they don’t act soon, this team will be out of the playoff picture before you know it.