What the Rangers did at the deadline that they’ve failed at before

Apr 9, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Andrew Copp (18) celebrates after scoring a goal against Ottawa Senators during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 9, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Andrew Copp (18) celebrates after scoring a goal against Ottawa Senators during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports /
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Eric Staal #12 of the New York Rangers . (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Eric Staal #12 of the New York Rangers . (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The bad

There were some lemons though in one case the regular season gave way to a fabulous playoffs.

When it comes to trade deadline busts, Eric Staal is the best example.  In 2016, the Rangers sent two second round picks and a prospect to Carolina for the marquee forward of that deadline class. A six-time All-Star and Stanley Cup champion, uniting Eric with his brother Marc seemed like the perfect move.

It was a disaster.  He never fit in on the lineup and in 20 games, he scored three goals and totaled six points. Even worse, he was scoreless in the five game loss to Pittsburgh in the first round of the playoffs. Awful. He signed the next season with Minnesota and had scored 92 goals over the next three years. Inexplicable.

While Eric Staal was a big name, the Rangers snared the biggest trade deadline name in 2014 when they sent team captain Ryan Callahan and two first round picks to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Martin St. Louis and a second round pick.  While St. Louis was 38 years old, the Tampa captain had led the league in scoring the previous season and was a legitimate NHL superstar.  He was a second team All-Star, Lady Byng Trophy winner and Art Ross winner in 2012-13.

At the time of the trade, St. Louis had 29 goals and 61 points, good for eighth overall in the NHL.  His acquisition made the Rangers the favorite to win their division. So what happened?  St. Louis played 19 games for the Rangers that season and scored just one goal.  He added seven assists, but only eight points.

Okay, he did come through in the playoffs, leading the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final, the spiritual leader of the team following the death of his mother.  His dramatic return to the team helped them overcome a 3-1 series deficit to the Penguins, capped by his emotional Mother’s Day goal.

So, how do Copp and Vatrano compare?