Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rumor: Rangers Thought They Had Blockbuster Trade with Stars For Richards, Neal Done?

Over the course of the last week while other teams have been making moves to alter their rosters the New York Rangers have been very quiet to the consternation of many fans as they see the team continue to struggle in their attempt to make the playoffs this season.  The rumors around the Rangers have certainly been plentiful, which is nothing new, but there has been no action taken and some have wondered what Glen Sather had up his sleeve or if he had decided to sit this one out.  Apparently Sather had been in the midst of working his trade voodoo magic quietly behind the scenes over the last couple of weeks and thought he was on the verge of a blockbuster deal with the Dallas Stars centered around two pieces that would have made Rangers fans very happy; Brad Richards and the recently traded James Neal.
Here is the framework of the deal as Incarcerated Bob reported it early this morning
Source: Rangers thought they had deal with Stars all wrapped up on Monday : Gaborik & Gilroy for Richards + Neal
I asked him if that was all that was involved in the deal and got the following reply:
Could have been picks back and forth but the main players where the 4 (Gaborik + Gilroy / Richards + Neal) Rangers giving a 2nd
Apparently the Stars got cold feet on the proposed deal and decided to instead deal James Neal and Matt Niskanen to the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Normally I would speculate that the Gaborik concussion had something to do with them having cold feet on the deal, and it still might have, but the fact that the deal was supposedly worked on Monday after the concussion was known would dispel that to some extent.  It will almost certainly raise the conspiracy theories though that the concussion for Gaborik and maybe even Richards were some sort of rouse so the players could be quietly shopped.  Let me be clear in saying that I do not believe that is the case for a moment.

In terms of the the rumored deal between the Rangers and Stars that is listed, I am going to be totally honest and say it makes absolutely no sense to me from the Dallas perspective.  They would get Marian Gaborik who has been a proven scorer in this league and is locked up long term which Brad Richards is not, but they would be better off keeping Richards and looking to sign him to a similar contract than dealing for Gaborik in the midst of a down season at that kind of price.  In addition even if you believe that Gaborik for Richards is an even swap the idea that Matt Gilroy and a pick could get you James Neal means that the Stars did not value Neal all that highly.   From the Rangers perspective it would be a coup as they get a number one center they have coveted and a young emerging power forward who already knows how to play with Richards.  The concern obviously is they do not have a true sniper in giving up Gaborik.

Also, key to point out that there is no mention of whether Gaborik or Richards was asked to actually or potentially waive their no-trade clauses.  The no-trade clause is not seen as an obstacle for Richards when it comes to New York, but one would wonder if Gaborik would waive to go to Dallas. 

Normally I would sit here and say that this does not pass the smell test, and this could be totally wrong, which I will not discount as possible, but the track record of his sources on recent trades, in having good information long before other have had it gives a level of credibility to the rumor that other people would not have.

If Sather had pulled this deal off as the rumor says it would have gone down then many Rangers might have forgiven him for at least most of the multitude of sins he has inflicted on them over the years. In the wake of this not happening, later today, I am going to talk about a guy Sather should look into dealing for.

Update:  New tweets on the subject: 
2nd Source: Confirms Rangers had deal with Stars until early Monday morning when Stars got cold feet on Gaborik
Source: Stars went with Pittsburgh deal cause of fear that Gaborik had been playing with concussion 4more then a week
Source: Rangers still think they can re-work talks in regards 2acquiring Richards w/o including Gaborik -Still in play
Still do not see why the Stars would have made the deal in the first place, but trading prospects/young players for Richards would be a mistake.