Monday, February 28, 2011

2011 Trade Deadline: Which Rangers Defender(s) Could Be On The Move?

Most of the talk on trade deadline will be about whom the New York Rangers might acquire and I will get to that in a few hours, but let us look at which guys on the roster might be expendable, and those who might not be, but could move anyway.  With the addition of Bryan McCabe the Rangers have options because they now possess eight defenders capable of playing at the NHL level.  Which of the members of their defense core could be on the move?
Matt Gilroy:
Gilroy is the most obvious of the Rangers to be on the move, whether it be a move for Brad Richards or not.  He is going to be a restricted free agent that will require a 1.925 million dollar qualifying offer in order to retain his rights which New York is almost assuredly not going to commit to.  Gilroy has played better this season, but not to that level of salary.  
Verdict: Leaves. If the Rangers can get a mid-round pick for him you would have to think they move him along, and someone might just pay it for the offensive potential he has in the right system. Also has the potential to be a salary cap addition to a bigger deal.
Steve Eminger:
Eminger is in a similar situation to Gilroy, but likely has less value in the marketplace.  Eminger is a solid defensive defender who has played well for large portions of the season and would be a very good addition to a team needing to solidify their third paring.  Being an unrestricted free agent with a reasonably low salary of 1.125 million this season makes him available to a lot of teams that are looking, but cannot afford any commitment. 
Verdict: Stays. Eminger’s value to the Rangers is likely higher than the late round pick they would likely get for him.  He has shown he is capable of playing as high as a top four role, but solid in the bottom pairing and a guy they have no problem carrying as an extra defender.

I know Michael Del Zotto should be here, but I will deal with him in another post.

Possible moves from the Minors:

Tomas Kundratek:
Kundratek is an intriguing prospect who is a potential puck moving defender down the line.  He has adjusted well to the professional ranks in the AHL, actually making the transition quicker than Ryan McDonagh to begin the season.  Kundratek is not ready for the NHL level, but he will be sometime next season and would be a very nice piece for a team to add to a deal and that Glen Sather might be tempted to part with because of how deep his young defensive ranks are at the moment.
Verdict: Stays unless Richards trade happens.
Pavel Valentenko:
Valentenko is a name that a lot fans grew to enjoy during the preseason because of his big shot from the point and his enjoyment of the physical game.  I have questions about his foot speed for the NHL level, but there will certainly be teams that could have interest in him as a prospect to add into a deal.
Verdict: Stays.