NEW YORK, NY – It was an eventful NHL trade deadline for the New York Rangers. It was also a departure from their deadline deals of the last few years. For the better part of the last decade, the Blueshirts have been buyers at the deadline, looking for that Glenn Anderson that would push them over the top in the quest for Lord Stanley’s coveted cup.
This year, as the losses and injuries mounted, it became clear that things would need to change. I don’t think anyone was prepared for how drastically they would change. The brass knew in November that this vintage was not good enough to make a Cup run. Henrik Lundqvist kept the Rangers close in the standings but the writing was on the wall: there was to be a fire-sale on Broadway.
We knew that heading into a contract year, Rick Nash would likely be moved. But he wasn’t the first to go. Keystone Kop defenseman Nick Holden and Michael Grabner were traded to Boston and New Jersey, respectively. Then the Nash trade happened. He also went to Boston to bolster a surging B’s squad. In return the Rangers got a first round draft pick, Matt Beleskey (and half of his salary), Ryan Spooner, and young University of Minnesota shutdown defenseman Ryan Lindgren. It was a good haul for the Rangers who only had to give up a 33-year old player who will be out of contract in a few months.
After the blockbuster Nash deal it looked like the Rangers might finish the season with most of their pieces. That was until the talks of Ryan McDonagh and Tampa Bay ramped up on Sunday afternoon. By Monday’s trade deadline McDonagh and forward JT Miller were heading to Tampa to join the rest of the ex-Rangers. Deja vu all over again as the Broadway Blues traded yet another captain to the Lightening… It’s sad to see them go. Miller has been a bright spot all season. McDonagh wrote a really nice piece for the Player’s Tribune after the trade. Tampa is now stacked and should be favorites for the Cup. In return, the Rangers got another first round draft pick and a slew of players including Vladislav Namestnikov, who registered a goal and an assist against the Canucks on Wednesday night.
It’s a sad end to this Rangers era for players who made made one Stanley Cup Final and three Conference Finals appearances. They were never able to get over the hump and produced diminishing returns over the last couple of seasons. Things needed to change. The soil needed to be turned. With these trades, the Rangers now are in a position to shorten a five or six-year rebuild to two or three seasons. They have 3 first round picks, 3 second round picks and 2 third round picks in this year’s draft. If Jeff Gorton uses them well and they can keep the pieces they have now, they will be back making deep playoff pushes in a few years.
The next question has to do with coaching. One would think that Alain Vigneault would not be a part of any rebuild. But We’ll see about that. The Rangers may fire AV and keep Lindy Ruff on for the rebuild. Or they could start from scratch and look to the outside for coaches.
Time will tell. But for now the only thing New York Hockey Rangers fans are looking forward to is the draft.
That’s it for now, come back tomorrow for a guy Management shipped to Niagara Falls for two toonies and a Tim Horton’s doughnut, @JunoirBlaber. And you can find us on Twitter, @Different_Matt, @Matt_McCarthy00 & @MeetTheMatts, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.