Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Analysis: Rangers Make Right Move Buying Into Players/Course They Are On

Nick Laham/Getty Images

Yesterday was a relatively slow trading deadline day around the league and particularly for the New York Rangers, but sometimes the best moves are the ones you do not make.  The “experts” will criticize the Rangers and GM Glen Sather for not making the big move for Brad Richards simply because it means Sather did not, at least on the surface, give his team the best chance to win this season.  That side of the argument might be right because, if healthy, Brad Richards certainly makes the New York Rangers more dangerous this season.  What that argument fails to account for though, as all instant analysis of a trade deadline does, is the bigger picture and in that frame what the New York Rangers did was a pure win because it took the long term and prioritized it over a quick fix at a high cost.  The decisions made within the franchise as the deadline came and went will be characterized as standing pat, but I look what happened as them buying in a different form; they bought into what they have and decided to continue on the course.
All season the Rangers, as an organization, have talked about this year was about development and building a foundation not for one season, but for consistent contender down the road.  On deadline day, with the whole hockey world glued to see whether they would cave to the demands of Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk, they put their money where their mouth is.  The easy move for Sather would have been to take the deal and use the excuse of he is doing everything he can to help this team win the Stanley Cup this season.  It is exactly the move that the Rangers used to make.
Obviously the team wants to win.  All teams want to win.  What the Rangers have said with their statement in avoiding the temptation of big names and now is that they believe these guys have enough to compete today and the focus is on allowing them to grow this organization into a contender later.  According to Andrew Gross at Rangers Rants, Glen Sather said that there was plenty of interest from teams around the league in obtaining the youth the Rangers are building around.
“A lot of people were interested in our young guys but we really didn’t want trade any of our kids,” Sather said.
We will never fully know what the Stars or any other team wanted in order for Glen Sather to have made a move to help the team for this season.  What we do know is that they decided whatever the options were to buy from outside it was not as attractive as buying into the pieces we would have had to let go.  That should excite Rangers fans for the future.  Any Rangers fan that is spending today mourning what the team did not do is missing the beauty of this team and this season.  When I watch Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh, Michael Sauer, Mats Zuccarello and all the other young players that litter this lineup tonight, continue the push for the playoffs this year, I will not be thinking about Brad Richards or any other player that was out there on the market.  Instead, I will be thankful that this organization believed enough in this core to see the bigger picture regardless of what it means for this one single season.  That is the best kind of buying the Rangers could have done on Monday and we will all reap the rewards for years to come.