The last few days have been rather busy as teams around the league have been making minor moves to prepare themselves for the final stretch run of the season. However, the New York Rangers continue to remain quiet, even as the losses pile up and the offense continues to struggle. Though they may not be looking to make a blockbuster, I would find it hard to believe that they will just stand pat and do absolutely nothing. The team is in need of a top-flight center, a physical defenseman, and an offensive defenseman. Unless Glen Sather pulls together some sheer magic, they will not be acquiring all three, but perhaps one or two may be able to be acquired.
Something keeps nagging at me regarding the “concussion” Marian Gaborik sustained yesterday afternoon against the Philadelphia Flyers. I am not going to say the Rangers are out-and-out lying about it, but the whole situation is rather strange. He only played six shifts in the first period, for a mere four and a half minutes, which would indicate something was wrong, but then he was on the ice for the last shift of the period, which does not make any sense. If he really had a concussion, he would not have even been put out there in the end. Now, unless Gaborik suffered this concussion by taking off his helmet in the locker room during the intermission, this situation looks to be one where the Rangers pulled him, because his name is being involved in trade talks. No one saw him get hit, at least not that hard, and the concussion is being announced as “minor” and only lasting five to seven days. How convenient, just enough time to last until the deadline passes. Whether the Rangers want to trade him or whether they will trade him are two completely different stories. As much as I want to see him moved, I just do not see a deal out there glaring at me, except the one I mentioned where the Rangers could trade him and another player to the Los Angeles Kings for Dustin Brown. I believe that deal will help out both teams. Other than that, where would Gaborik fit in?
There is another rumor out there today that the Chicago Blackhawks are interested in Steve Eminger. This could be a possibility, but the Rangers could only make this deal if they were to get a defenseman in return, and the only one on their corps that they would move and who would not affect the Rangers cap situation would be Nick Boynton. Perhaps that will be the veteran presence the Rangers are looking for, as Boynton is 32 and has 595 games of NHL experience.
As for who the Rangers could be getting in terms of an offensive defenseman, I would have to go with the crowd on this one and say Bryan McCabe of the Florida Panthers. The 35-year-old powerplay quarterback still has a lethal slapshot from the point, but is not very sound defensively. However, when compared to Sheldon Souray, who the Rangers scouted multiple times, I would say McCabe looks like a Norris-winner in comparison. Another possibility would be John-Michael Liles, the Colorado Avalanche quarterback who started out the season red-hot but has since cooled off into what his career averages suggest. He is a lot younger, cheaper, and still has a decent amount of experience. Online sources are saying that Colorado is in a lot of talks right now, but no names of players or teams are being revealed, so it is up to us to guess.
Now to who the Rangers should move, I would have to say Matt Gilroy and Michael Del Zotto. I do not really care one way or the other if they keep or trade Eminger—personally, he has not been that bad of late. Del Zotto, however, has been atrocious. Is it a sophomore slump or is this what the rest of his future will hold? To play it safe, the Rangers may just want to demote him for the rest of this season. If they feel like gambling, they may want to move him completely. As for Gilroy, have the Rangers ever had a more pointless presence? He doesn’t hit and has no offense. Yet another instance of good speed being wasted.
One last thing of note, and that is the speculation of the Rangers wanting Chris Neil from Ottawa, and him not waiving his no-trade-clause. I find it hard to believe that a team with Sean Avery, Brandon Prust, and an injured Derek Boogaard would have a place for a player like Neil, who is a better fighter than Prust and Avery, but is a decent instigator himself, and who plays very much on the edge. I would not want him, whatever the deal would be, unless Avery was somehow traded, but I do not see that happening. The only reason I can think of, besides wanting to goon it up, would be that Boogaard’s injury is more serious than we think, and he is done for not only this season, but the future as well. Maybe the Rangers should just quit when it comes to enforcers, because they never seem to have any luck.