Wednesday, December 8, 2010

In New York Rangers Position Best Trade Is No Trade At All

There are certain givens following a team in New York and one of them is that your team is going to be named by just about every reporter across the country when it comes to trades and free agency.  This kind of thing happens whether it your team is in it, out of it, contending or rebuilding; just part of the nature of the beast.  So as a follower of the New York Rangers seeing the team pop up in trade rumors for the biggest name that could potentially be on the market is no surprise.  In fact it would probably be shocking if the Rangers were not mentioned as having interest in a player like Brad Richards.  It is also expected that any other team looking to make a move will at some point be connected to the Rangers so I expect a lot more rumors to come.  That is not really the point of today’s discussion though as today I have a simple question, “Are the Rangers one player away from being a contender?”  To me the answer to that is a resounding no.

As I chronicled on Monday the Rangers have not proven enough to this point that they are even a legit playoff team let alone a contender to go making a trade at this point for anyone if it means giving up anything of value either from the current team or the future ranks.  Maybe come the trade deadline the Rangers will have proven something different as a lot can happen in the course of two months on the hockey schedule but until that point comes even thinking about making big moves that could put assets important to the present and future on the line for anyone is premature and a mistake.  As likely as the Rangers morphing into a contender over the next two months is the Rangers falling out of it and being in a position where they should sell what they can to bring in more assets in terms of prospects and picks.

For now what the Rangers should be focused on as I discussed this morning is letting Derek Stepan and Artem Anisimov play as much as they can as the top 2 centers for their own personal development, the development for the future and to get a better understanding of what they have in those two talents.  Let them gain as much experience as is possible at this level and it will pay off in spades down the road and both have shown they can handle the big competition and Stepan has shown he can handle playing with Gaborik when he does not get removed from the line every other game.  Chances are if the Rangers are a playoff team or even a contender by the time a trade would have to be made at the deadline for a Richards it would be because of the development of Stepan and Anisimov.

There is no denying the talent of Richards as I have said he would be the best player on this team, but it goes against everything that this teams has fed its fans over the past few years about building from within and having a young core to build around because as we found out last night in the Stars set their asking price you do not get Richards without severely denting that future.  So the Rangers should stay the course and if the landscape drastically changes in terms of the team proving it is legit and looking like maybe they are one player away from truly competing for a title this season then we re-evaluate the situation at that point, but until then the best trade for the Rangers is making none at all.  For years the fans have clamored about how we never let the youth play and build that way, well now is the time to put up or shut up quite frankly because we have it and in my opinion way too many are willing to once again sacrifice what took years to rebuild for yet another quick fix.

Let me know what you think.