Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Rangers Potential Trade Targets: Calgary

The NHL trade deadline is now less than three weeks away, and with that the trade rumor mill is bound to start bursting into flames with rumors involving the New York Rangers. Speaking of flames, at least until recently, the Calgary Flames looked destined to be sellers at the deadline, though a recent winning streak has them in the thick of the playoff race.  Should the Flames fall back out of the race, do they have anything that could fix the Rangers holes for this season.  The way I see it those holes include a big shot on the point, and a guy who can win some faceoffs.
The organization has made it abundantly clear that there will be no move to sacrifice the future just to try and improve the club this year.  That position likely eliminates Jarome Iginla from the realm of trade targets given the cost in salary and assets as well as his age.  The focus should be on players that are either young, or have expiring contracts, so the team has as much flexibility this summer as possible.
Alex Tanguay (UFA): Tanguay is a guy that many Rangers fans have wanted to bring into New York for a long time.  After struggling last season in Tampa, Tanguay took a one-year 1.7 million dollar contract from the Flames in order to try and resurrect his career in a place where he previously had success.  The gamble has worked out well for both sides as Alex has put up 14 goals, 28 assists and 42 points in 54 games thus far this season.  Those numbers exceed the point totals he accumulated in 80 contests last season.  Having previously been a top line player, Alex is more of a second line player, but his passing ability could make him an attractive target to pair with the struggling Marian Gaborik.  Tanguay has a proven track record as a solid playoff performer as well.  Combine that with his low salary cost and there is a lot to like in this kind of a move, excpet all those things add up to high demand in the trade market.  The other problem is the Rangers have a logjam of forwards as it is when they get healthy with likely Drury and Christensen or Avery being on the outside looking in, so room is an issue.  Bringing in Tanguay at the expense of Zuccarello playing time or a significant trade chip would be a bad move for the Rangers, but if Calgary has interest in Christensen that could be a potential option. 
Brendan Morrison (UFA): Morrison joined the Flames in training camp on a one-year 725K contract.  Brendan has had a solid season putting together a line of 9-23-32 while winning 48.4% of his faceoffs.  Morrision would certainly be a cheap add, but not sure he is a big upgrade over anything the Rangers have to really be worth exploring.
Curtis Glencross (RFA): Pass
Robyn Regehr (2 yrs 4.02 million remaining): The only player on the Flames I would consider dealing for despite the fact he is not a free agent this summer.  Regehr is a rugged crease clearing defender and the Rangers have been looking for one for a long time.  The emergence of Michael Sauer and Ryan McDonagh combined with the asking price and contract cost of Regehr makes me pass in the end.
Anton Babchuk (UFA): Babchuk’s best quality is his cannon from the point, which would certainly be a welcomed addition on the power play.  Overall on the season Babchuk has a line of 6-16-22 in 54 games, which would put him on pace for 34 points this season.  Babchuk was in the KHL last season, but the 2008-09 season with Carolina he scored 16 goals (9 PPG) and had 19 assists.  Anton’s contract is only 1.4 million this season which means the cost for the Rangers is negligible for the rest of the year and the cost of dealing for him should not be too high.  Dealing for Babchuk would give the Rangers the chance to evaluate the 26-year-old free agent this summer to see if he could help them next season as well.  Matt Gilroy has played much better of late, but Babchuk would add something Gilroy cannot, so maybe that is the kind of swap the team makes.
Steve Staios (UFA): Certainly fits the criteria of a veteran defenseman that would come cheap, but he has little left in the tank and has been a healthy scratch a number of times this year.  Pass.
Calgary does not have a lot that is attractive in terms of expiring contracts, but Tanguay and Babchuk both have the ability to fill needs for the Rangers if the price is right.  The problem is if you are Calgary your bigger concern is unloading some of your longer term deals and the Rangers must say no to any of those types of offers.  It will be interesting to see if Calgary can stay in the race the next few weeks, and if they fall out who they attempt to move.