Sunday, February 13, 2011

Trade Rumors: Rangers Interested In Joni Pitkanen, Eric Brewer?

With the trade deadline two week from tomorrow, and the New York Rangers in the midst of six game losing streak, it should come as surprise to no one that the rumors surrounding New York and trades is churning overtime right now.  This morning there are two new names added to the list of players that the Rangers have been linked to in the apparent quest to sure up the steadiest part of the team right now, defense.  The new names are Carolina’s Joni Pitkanen and St. Louis Blues defender Eric Brewer.
According to Larry Brooks of the NY Post, the Carolina Hurricanes might be willing to part with workhorse defender Joni Pitkanen given that he is going to be a free agent this summer and the budget for Carolina is not going to increase.  On the season Pitkanen, 27, has two goals and 23 assists while chewing up 25:31 of ice time in 47 games.  Of those points eight have come on the power play. 
From Brooks…
The Rangers, who have an assortment of players on Entry Level contracts the cost-conscious 'Canes covet, should be in on the big, powerful defenseman, who would also improve the power play.
I could buy that the Hurricanes would be willing to move Pitkanen before the deadline, but the idea that they would trade him to a team they are directly competing for the playoffs against does not fully pass the sniff test, unless it means the Rangers have to overpay for him.  The Rangers do have that assortment, but none of the players on entry-level contracts at the NHL level should be dealt for Pitkanen.
In the other rumor, Bruce Garrioch at the Ottawa Sun reports that the Rangers could be looking for a power play quarterback at the trade deadline and will likely make a pitch for the Blues Eric Brewer.  The phrase power play quarterback should not be on the same ice surface as Eric Brewer.  I think he is an excellent veteran, defensive defender, but he literally has zero power play points this year.  If the Rangers needed another defensive minded guy, then I would be all over Brewer, but the emergence of Ryan McDonagh has made that potential need disappear, so there is no reason to even inquire about him.
Garrioch also talks about how the Rangers would sell on Matt Gilroy, Todd White and Michael Del Zotto.  I do not buy, as much as some fans and even rumor sites are selling, the idea that Michael Del Zotto is being actively shopped around the league.  I can certainly see the Rangers listening on him as is the case with Gaborik, but giving up on him would be a mistake.  Dealing off Gilroy for a draft pick is something I would be in favor of since the team will not qualify him at 1.925 million this summer, so dealing him for something and possibly bringing him back for much less over the summer would not be a bad way to go.  Todd White is a hilarious name to even bring up.
Defense really is not the Rangers problem right now and neither of these guys are really the ones to solve the places where the D might be lacking at the moment, at least in comparison to what they might cost.  Stay the course.