Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Is Bryan McCabe Worth The Assumed Pricetag?

The chatter that surrounds the New York Rangers and their connection to Bryan McCabe continue to intensify with each passing day.  Today’s talk has the two teams heavily involved in negotiations for the Panthers captain.  Many of us have gone on record predicting that if the transaction does happen that it will likely cost the Rangers defenseman Matt Gilroy and a second round pick in the upcoming draft.  In a bit of comic relief to the proceedings for a little while this afternoon Bryan McCabe’e Wikipedia page actually had him being traded to the Rangers for that afore mentioned package.  My question today is not whether the deal will happen, but what is McCabe worth to the Rangers and is the predicted package a good value or not?
At this stage in his career McCabe, 35, is still a solid offensive defenseman with a big shot from the point and some physical play to his game.  He would bring veteran experience to the defense core, give coach John Tortorella more faith in a third defense pair and help out the Rangers struggling power play with a shooter from the point. 
There is also no questioning the toughness of McCabe who broke his jaw during a game in January, went into the locker room put the cage on and came back out missing only one shift.  He would miss less than five weeks with the broken jaw, and has been back for the Panthers last three games.  The warrior aspect of McCabe would certainly blend right in to the Rangers mentality this season.
Let me be clear that I love the fit of McCabe for the Rangers and have since I first started thinking about it back in December.  My issue is also not with dealing away Matt Gilroy who while having improved this year is unlikely to be qualified at the necessary 1.925 million and for me is eminently expendable.  I am just not sure what McCabe is worth to the Rangers on the ice.  I do not believe he is the difference between winning and losing a first round playoff series, though he could help ensure the team makes the playoffs. 
My concern is whether McCabe truly makes enough of a difference in the last 20 games to be worth giving up a second round pick when we are in a rebuilding mode.   The success the organization has had in the second round also gives me reason for pause as Dubinsky, Sauer, Anisimov, Stepan were all second round picks and highly regarded prospects Ethan Werek and Christian Thomas were as well.
In the end I would likely pull the trigger on the deal even if begrudgingly.  The main reason I would do it, as Dave Shapiro of Blue Seat Blogs pointed out in our twitter conversation, is the hope that McCabe can mentor struggling second year defender Michael Del Zotto.  If that was the outcome of the trade, regardless of the difference it makes to the Rangers this season, then a second round pick would be more than worth it.