Sunday, November 21, 2010

Why the Rangers Must Resist Brad Richards Temptation

Today on Rangers Tribune Nick took a look at Bruce Garroich reviving the New York Rangers interested in Brad Richards rumor and threw in Mike Ribeiro just for good measure.  Nick did an excellent job of laying out the “rumor” that Garroich is trying to spark into something along with the financial scenarios for both Richards and Ribeiro and finally how enticing it is to think of Brad Richards teaming with Marian Gaborik.  I am going to take a little different approach in looking at the cost both financial and in terms of prospects to see if in the end it is worth it for the Rangers to truly consider it, but be sure to check out Nick’s write up.

As far as my take on the “rumor” itself Garroich has been saying for 2 years that the Rangers are trading Dubinsky for everyone including probably an actual dealer to buy doobies from, or at least that is how it seems.  Also the cloak and dagger of the whole exercise is very comical with the whispering and not even an unnamed source to throw out some names going back.  In reality it is a way to bump readership and not be on the hook if the trade never happens or to claim it “fell through.”  

What is true about the story is that the ownership of the Stars is influx, that they have been cash strapped with a tight budget the last few years and that the return for Richards could be massive.  What is also true is that the Rangers and Leafs would not be the only teams “interested” in Richards if he was available as there is not a team in the league that could not use a player like Brad Richards even if for just the rest of this year.  In trade and rumor discussion there is also a big leap between having interest and actually talking about a trade where guys are named and you are looking to get something done.  An apt comparison from a different sport would be this week where the Yankees did their due diligence and called up Arizona about the availability of Justin Upton, which to me is purely that saying if he is out there we could have interest based on the price.  No need for the whispering or anything else.

As I said in response to Nick’s article on the subject, the Rangers should say no to trading for Richards because the cost in terms of salary and assets is going to be extremely high.  That is not to say that Brad Richards is not a phenomenal player because he is and for me he would be the best offensive player on this club if he came here, even better than Gaborik.  I am saying no to Richards because contrary to popular belief a deal for Richards is not getting done for the likes of Christensen, Gilroy, White and whatever junk you can throw on it.  If you are the stars you start any discussion for Richards around Stepan or Anisimov adding in at least 2-3 top prospects (Kreider/Werek or even both) along with a defensive prospect and I don’t see a cash strapped team taking Rozsival back even if his cap hit outweighs his actual salary, they want cheap young players they can control.  Maybe you keep some of the prospects out, but if you do it will be in exchange for prime picks.  You can talk about how him being a free agent lessens his trade value but 9 goals 15 assists in 18 games oh and a playoff pedigree (Conn Smythe) throw it right back up.  That is just the asset side and doesn’t the fact you will have to kill another 7.5 million on the cap to actually keep him.

The cap situation would be similar to what I had to said in the wake of the Spezza rumors last month in that if we bring in Richards even at Spezza’s 7 million between that salary, Gaborik, Drury, Lundqvist, Staal, Girardi and Rozsival you would have 40.725 million spent on 7 guys next season.  Then you add in the other guys under contract: Avery, Michael Del Zotto, Prust, Stepan, Biron and that is another 5.575 million and we are only up to 12 players but 46.3 million in committed salary.  With that being the case how do you plan on re-signing Callahan and Dubinsky who as a result of their breakout seasons are probably not getting less than 3 and probably closer to 4 million apiece this summer?  Not to mention Brian Boyle is due a decent raise and filling out the other 8 spots with a total of 13 million for those 11 guys.

Rangers fans for years have been crying about how we never have a youth movement or never have enough young players in the lineup and instead go after big names with huge salaries, this is the kind of move the Rangers are famous for making.  This is the kind of move they need to stop making.  Yes, you will get a great player, but you will cost yourself at least 3 prime young players to get one while also smashing yourself back into the salary cap hell you are just starting to get out of.  Artem Anisimov and Derek Stepan have shown this season that they can be a very good top 2 set of centers down the line and in my opinion Anisimov has already, so the need for Brad Richards, while a great player, is not there.  This team is not Brad Richards away from winning a cup, so let’s stop acting like he is the answer now and forgetting that it would be seriously damaging the future.  Brad Richards is the kind of talent that every team must check in on and is tempting to make a move, but I believe the Rangers must resist temptation and pass both in the trade market and free agency.

To do my own speculating not that anyone asked I would look at LA (been looking for a star for a couple years, good system as Schenn and Bernier force you to listen), St. Louis (deep system (Pietrangelo a must) and with a big producer can contend),  WAS (Would not rule them out as they are in go for broke mode this year and adding a legit center to have Ovie and Backstom on one line while Richards and Semin makes them legit; Varlamov or Neuvirth would have to be in deal), TB (legit contender, would revive Vinny, but don’t think they have the prospects cause not dealing Stamkos or Hedman), Toronto will always be on the list for the writers because Burke loves the big move and the market is desperate to be relevant, just not sure I see the pieces.