Saturday, January 29, 2011

State of the Rangers One Month Before Trade Deadline. Do They Need a Trade?

With the NHL trade deadline now less than a month away it is fair to ask if the New York Rangers should and or will make a deal between now and February 28.  The team has been a surprise to this point in the season, currently sitting sixth in the Eastern Conference, despite a string of injuries that likely should have crippled their season. 

The good news is that in the next month there is reason to believe the team will get closer to full strength than it has been all season.  Ryan Callahan who has missed the last 19 games with a broken hand and Dan Girardi who missed the last two with a rib injury should be ready when the team begins again on Tuesday.  After those two the team should see at various points the return of Erik Christensen, Brandon Dubinsky and Ruslan Fedotenko for sure, with Vinny Prospal being the unknown wildcard.

With the forward core on the mend and the defense core playing excellent hockey, is there really a need for a trade?  If there is what should be the area addressed most?

The Rangers are far from a flawless unit as they lack a true number one center; the power play is horrendous, especially at the point; their D is very young and half of it lacks NHL experience; they are among the worst in the league in faceoffs.

Any one of those areas being addressed could make the team a more legitimate threat this season, and any of those moves that could be had without giving up future assets I would be ok with doing.  The best move for the franchise is to let it play itself out and see where this group can take them.  It was never about this year.  It was always about building for the future and in that they have succeeded.  This year, even as it is, has been a successful one for the franchise as it is has integrated in a number of young players and they have shown their ability to play well against the best players in the world. 

Obviously there will be rumors between now and then and I will look at some of them to see if they make sense for the team, but outside of a faceoff guy or an Anders Eriksson type 7th D I do not see the Rangers having to make any moves at all.  Think of all the returning pieces as guys acquired in trades, which might not be that hard to do since many of them have been out for significant amounts of time.  If come March 1, 2011 the New York Rangers have not made another trade, I will be happy knowing the future remains intact.