In a stunning trade before the NHL Trade Deadline, the New York Rangers parted with superstar sniper, Marian Gaborik. In return, they received center Derick Brassard, winger Derek Dorsett, and defenseman John Moore from the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Marian Gaborik came over to the Rangers before the 2009-2010 season. In the following years he had seasons of 42, 22, and 41 goals, before struggling post-lockout and post-injury with only 9 goals this season.
Much of the talk behind the trade was about the relationship between Gaborik and Head Coach John Tortorella. Both have never found a chemistry with each other during their time in New York and today, Torts was chosen over Gaborik for the future.
The problem with trading Gaborik, of course, comes with many caveats.
First of all, you are trading a star at his lowest value. The goal of a team is never to take back the least you can for an asset. It can be argued whether or not the package brought back was the least they could give for Gaborik, but it sure was not anywhere near the best Team Sather could hope to return with.
Second, you need to address some of the Rangers’ faults. While this team does not have the same toughness as previous years, “Grit” was not on the top of their needs list. That is the first words coming out of the various national writers discussing the trade.
For a team that cannot score, it is now removing one of recent history’s best snipers. Gaborik has a perfectly even 333 goals and 333 assists in his career for a 666 point total.
They could hope to return with additional goal-scoring power, but they got Derick Brassard, who is much younger than Gaborik, still has 2 less goals than the departing Gabby in his worst season.
They needed to return with a top-4 defender – John Moore averages less on-ice time than five Rangers starters and barely more than the rapidly aging Roman Hamrlik.
The third piece of the puzzle, Derek Dorsett, brings us back to the dreaded “Grit” descriptor. With 727 penalty minutes to go with just 27 goals in 5 seasons, he seems to overlap with what Tuesday’s acquisition, Ryane Clowe, gives to the Rangers this year.
These are all players that fall under the John Tortorella “system”, but how much talent can you possibly forfeit to the system’s whims?
The final caveat for the trade is this brings potential and salary cap room.
The Rangers do indeed need some cap room with a host of upcoming stars needing extensions soon. Potential is also something that is great to have on any good team.
But this is not a good team at the moment. This also is not a team intending to look to the future. Coming off an Eastern Conference Final, the next step was Stanley Cup. With yesterday’s acquisition of Clowe, they sent a message that the Rangers were still contending this year.
This sends a different message. Shedding Gaborik’s contact frees up cap room, but it hurts their chances in the short term. For a team of today, they sure have given up a ton of today for less tomorrow. An amnesty that would have helped the cap regardless – ridding themselves of the suddenly incapable Brad Richards – still remains a possibility, but the result of that would be breaking down the foundation the Blueshirts have been building for four years.
A talented team with a pretty strong farm system did not need to get younger, nor more potential. They needed established stars to put them over the top.
Today’s move weakened the Rangers…will the system be strong enough to overcome that?