Despite the risk involved, the Rangers must be willing to trade with their direct rivals.
Teams (including the New York Rangers) typically do not like to trade within their own divisions because of the possibility of the players traded coming back to haunt them.
For example, if the Washington Capitals traded Alexander Ovechkin to the Philadelphia Flyers, then Ovechkin led the Flyers to a playoff series win over the Capitals, Washington’s brass would never hear the end of it. That situation is entirely possible too, considering how often the Capitals lose playoff series.
However, this scenario must not keep Jeff Gorton and the New York Rangers from trading within the division. Eliminating seven of the 30 (we can say 30 now! Hello Las Vegas!) teams remaining in the NHL is limiting the talent pool in an unnecessary way.
While this is the case in general, it’s the case more than ever this offseason. Let’s take a closer look.
Expansion Draft Trade Possibilities:
The leading reason why being open to any and all offers this offseason is so important is the Expansion Draft. It’s been reported by every reporter under the sun who knows what hockey is that there will be more trades than ever this offseason. That means players one wouldn’t expect to be available will be available, and moves one wouldn’t expect to see will happen.
Thus, a player like Ryan Murray or David Savard of the Columbus Blue Jackets may find their way onto the trade block. Suddenly there is a top four defenseman on a cheap contract available to be acquired.
Certainly a player like Murray or Savard would require plenty of pieces to go back, but ignoring their availability would be foolish. New York’s need this offseason is clearly defense, and the Metroplitan Division boasts a bevy of talented defensemen.
If it isn’t Murray or Savard in Columbus, maybe it’s Justin Faulk or Noah Hanifin in Carolina. Perhaps the Islanders show a willingness to move Ryan Pulock to try to bring a forward back. Sure, the Islanders are considered enemies in Rangerstown, but Pulock is a talented, cost controlled defenseman. A deal must be considered.
Potential Landing Spots For Unwanted Players
While the Rangers frantically try to find landing spots for Dan Girardi and Marc Staal, the Metropolitan Division may be the best place to look. The New Jersey Devils are in “win-later” mode, with plenty of cap room to spare. New York may be able to dump a bad contract on them if they send an asset along with them.
John Tortorella remains the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets. This makes them a potential destination for Marc Staal, for example. While such a deal remains unlikely, failing to explore it would be unwise.
Any and all options must be considered to improve the New York Rangers. While seeing a beloved Ranger join a division rival sounds awful, if it improves the team it’s the right move to make. Hopefully Jeff Gorton puts success over emotion.
(John Tortorella if you’re reading this, remember Dan Girardi’s “compete” level?? #BringGirardiBackToTorts)