The New York Rangers were a presence at the trade deadline for the third year in a row making a deal with the Carolina Hurricanes. The deal bore many similarities to the past two deadlines where the team has given up prospects and picks for established veterans. The first attempt, under the old regime led by Glen Sather, yielded a finals run propelled by some clutch playmaking on the part of Martin St. Louis. The second attempt took some time to lend clarity but can now be regarded as a deal that strengthened the team as time has shown that Keith Yandle was worth the price tag. Now adding a second Staal brother under the new lead of Jeff Gorton is a furthering a win now philosophy.
The Gorton Doctrine, mortgaging the team’s future and essentially emptying the cupboard of the few early picks remaining, is in pursuit of Lord Stanley’s Cup, which hasn’t come to Broadway in more than two decades. Eric brings veteran presence and a strong resume which includes a cup win of his own. With all that considered it would make sense to bring him in for the playoffs to join a team and help them get over the hump. The past few seasons they have come close but not finished the season as the last team standing.
With moves that give up young talents such as Anthony Duclair along with numerous picks, the team is running on a schedule that first and foremost takes into consideration Henrik Lundqvist. It is uncommon for a team to win a Stanley Cup without an elite goaltender and in 10 attempts with Lundqivst the Blueshirts haven’t won a cup with a viable Vezina candidate year in and year out. In this his 11th season, they have to start thinking about how long his play can remain at a top level. At 33 years old he is past his prime and whether the decline will be quick like most or slow like greats such as Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy, who excelled to 40, is unknown. Be it injury or age that comes calling, the Rangers can’t afford patience.
On the ESPN Hockey Today podcast Scott Burnside mentioned the Rangers as a team who could change course if they fall short after this season, with the acquisition of Staal the team has made a declaration that they will do whatever it takes to capitalize now and with all due respect I think Burnside is mistaken. Thinking they will pull their foot off the pedal if this isn’t the year they breakthrough is foolish. The Rangers are right in taking a win now philosophy and the Eric Staal deal is just the latest example that the team has gone all in while they have a once in a generation goaltender on the roster.