New York Rangers: 5 Reasons 2015 Reminds Us Of 1994

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Mar 21, 2015; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Rangers defensemen Keith Yandle (93) looks on against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New York Rangers defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in the shoot out. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

5. Trades To Fit Style

Remember what general manager Neil Smith did 21-years ago at the trade deadline?

He shipped off young stud Tony Amonte to the Chicago Blackhawks for Brian Noonan and Stephane Matteau. He also brought in Craig MacTavish and Glenn Anderson who was stunningly traded for fan-favorite Mike Gartner. Not to mention a key November trade which brought defensive whiz Steve Larmer and Nick Kypreos in for James Patrick and Darren Turcotte.

Esa Tikkanen was a huge acquisition during the 1993 trade deadline.

1993 and 1994 Additions-Subtractions:

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  • Mike Gartner, RW
  • Darren Turcotte, C
  • James Patrick, D
  • Tony Amonte, RW
  • Todd Marchant, C


  • Esa Tikkanen, LW
  • Stephane Matteau, LW
  • Brian Noonan, RW
  • Glen Anderson, RW
  • Steve Larmer, RW
  • Nick Kypreos, RW
  • Craig MacTavish, C

Although the Rangers were the best in the regular season, Smith decided he needed more toughness and veteran leadership to gel with head coach Mike Kennan’s style. He especially thought more toughness was needed.

Both Smith and Keenan knew the team pre-deadline was a spectacular 82-game regular season squad. Still, they both felt it drastically needed to change face in order to win 16-games in the playoffs.

We all remember what Matteau’s trade deadline acquisition led to:

While there’s no question the overall attitude and style between the 1994 team and the 2015 couldn’t be different – as ’94’s tough and gritty squad is a complete contrast to ’15’s speed and free-flowing one – each general manager wasn’t afraid to make moves that furthered their head coach’s philosophy.

We’ve seen it with Glen Sather the past two seasons.

Sather has done a phenomenal job in the development department. Coming into the 2013-14 season he possessed one of the youngest teams in the NHL. Over time, however, he’s added some veteran leadership and some skill that Alain Vigneault loves and could lean on with his “get it and go” system.

The following is basically the transformation from John Tortorella to now.

2014 and 2015 Additions-Subtractions:

Feb 22, 2015; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Martin St. Louis (26) after defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers defeated the Blue Jackets 4-3 in a shoot out. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports


  • Ryan Callahan, RW
  • John Moore, D
  • Anthony Duclair, W
  • Brian Boyle, C (FA)
  • Benoit Poliout (FA)
  • Anton Stralman (FA)


  • Marty St. Louis, RW
  • Keith Yandle, D
  • Kevin Klein, D
  • Kevin Hayes, C (FA)
  • Dan Boyle, D (FA)

While the number of transactions for today’s team pales in comparison to two-decades ago, notice Sather’s ability to not be afraid to acquire the smaller-type player that Vigneault is okay with.

The Keith Yandle acquisition was the cherry-on-top in fully signalling the franchise will give up some youth in exchange for a win-now attitude. It is the same philosophy Neil Smith displayed 21-years ago.

Furthermore, bringing in veterans like Marty St. Louis and Dan Boyle who have done it before echoes the same sentiment as the ’94 team bringing in Messier and all of the other former Edmonton Oilers who found themselves on that memorable team.

Next: Reason No. 4