On Monday, the New York Rangers made the biggest trade of the off-season when they acquired Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets. In return, the Rangers sent popular-but-maligned forwards Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, promising young defenseman Tim Erixon and a first round pick. At the end of the Rangers season, www.hockeyticketsonline.net detailed what the Rangers needed to do in the offseason, but just how good is this deal?
Plain and simple, it’s a major coo. Sather traded away a bad contract, a sub-20-goal-scorer that wants a huge raise while giving up their seventh defenseman. If this deal was going to get hung up because of Tim Erixon then the Rangers didn’t deserve Nash. In March, it was reported that Columbus GM Scott Howson rejected a “huge package” that was rumored to include Michael Del Zotto. THIS trade didn’t include emerging star Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan, post-season rookie sensation Chris Kreider, top prospects J.T. Miller or Christian Thomas. Sather kept his defensive depth that he cherishes while adding another goal scorer that will be critical if Marian Gaborik comes back as late as Thanksgiving. When Gaborik is healthy, that gives the Rangers a devastating top six forwards:
Ryan Callahan (29 goals)-Brad Richards (25 goals)-Rick Nash (30 goals)
Chris Kreider (5 goals in postseason)-Derek Stepan (17 goals)-Marian Gaborik (42 goals)
Considering that the Rangers struggled to score and Henrik Lundqvist’s 1.81 GAA in the playoffs last year, the Rangers have to be the favorite in the Eastern Conference. Crunch on this, Lundqvist lost one playoff game when the Rangers scored 3 goals or more. Right now, Lundqvist has got to be the happiest Ranger because he can make a mistake and it won’t kill the team. Assuming the Blueshirts sign Michael Del Zotto and possibly Anton Stralman, the Rangers will enter their season with their full complement of defense corps. If Michael Sauer can heal from last season’s concussion, that will be another big addition to the blueline.
Back to Nash, he is a potent Power Play goal scorer, but as Ranger fans know there’s no guarantee that the Power Play will improve. It sounds like a broken record, but if the Rangers can make the top ten in the NHL on the Power Play, the sky is the limit. Their offense should fit well against Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, but their top six forwards will make it hard for those teams to match up as well. Pittsburgh gets back Sydney Crosby for a full season, but losing Jordan Staal can be huge. As Philly’s bid for Shea Weber was thwarted, do they turn to Bobby Ryan?
One thing is for certain, the Atlantic Division arms race continues. Next up will be Alexander Semin…perhaps to Pittsburgh. What will the Flyers do next? With the Devils and Islanders falling behind, can they’re youth grow enough to make them formidable? Reasons like this is why the NHL shouldn’t lockout. In the meantime, the Rangers are dancing “The Monster Nash”.