What New York would give up will dictate the Rick Nash debate. The Columbus Blue Jackets need players who can hit the ice immediately, not developmental players. The Rangers would most likely be serving up Brandon Dubinsky and a few picks. But, like all teams who almost made it to the Stanley Cup, key players must be examined and supporting roles must be established before making such deals.
Marian Gaborik was under fire for lack of production in the playoffs, so it would make sense to add a power winger or fast forward to boost the scoring. Didn’t the Rangers pay some $60 million for Brad Richards? Yes, they did and he produced wildly.
Brandon Prust is a name that may bring trade buck, but Coach Tortorella likes him. Prust has become invaluable as a teammate, a fan favorite and superb penalty killer. He’s willing to put it on the line and then some.
Rangers GM Glen Sather will definitely kick the tires around a little more, now that Alexander Radulov is officially on the market. Rumored to be a KHL prospect, the Blueshirts interest is “conditional.” Larry Brooks of the New York Post claimed that Sather and his staff are “weighing Radulov’s potential against alternatives.”
Derek Stepan who has had flashes of brilliance never quite got into his groove. His trade potential may be his benefit. Same goes for Artem Anisimov, who could achieve elsewhere.
And then there’s Brandon Dubinsky, who many feel has run his course in New York. Earlier in the season, his name was mentioned as a sturdy trade option for Columbus. Dubinsky, Stepan, Anisimov for Nash?
The good news for the Rangers is that the defense is one of the bet in the league. Despite a few injuries, the core of Dan Giradi, Michael Del Zotto, and Marc Staal have been right on target. Add in Ryan McDonagh, Anton Stralman and Stu Bickel and you have a solid wall. The fate of Tim Erixon, Steve Eminger and the injured Michael Sauer are still looming. If Dylan McIlrath debuts like Chris Kreider or Carl Hagelin, then the defense will have its chance to establish Cup contention.
An unrestricted free agent on the list of many teams is Jason Garrison. The 27-year-old was the breakout candidate on the Panther defensive line last season. Garrison’s record with the Florida Panthers in 2011-12 consisted of 16 goals and 17 assists in 77 games, and had a goal and two assists in four playoff games. He’s dynamic and could fit in with the chemistry of the Blueshirts.
Chemistry and consistency is a must. Whatever moves the Rangers make, the support of the current team is strong. Changes can be made now that will not fully disrupt all the Rangers have accomplished. The anemic offensive ending to the seasoon didn’t bode well. Grit and determination gave way to exhaustion.
Fatigue is not an excuse and Coach Tortorella doesn’t want to linger on that as a setback. Mental toughness is what it will take for next season. Growth. You have to lose to win. New York has the 28th selection in the first round of this season’s NHL Entry Draft, and if they want to get something, they will need to give up something.