New York’s GM Glenn Sather likes to take an opportunity when it arises, like a 27-year old power forward who has two 40-goal season and six seasons with 30 or more goals. As the Feb. 27 trade deadline looms the heat is on to grab a good deal and give the Rangers a boost. The problem is that the Rangers really don’t need a boost like a Rick Nash.
New York is 38-15-5 this season with a group of players who have a vested interest in the team they have created. Rumors have swirled around Brandon Dubinsky as possible trade candidate. The 25-year-old forward has struggled this season, scoring six goals in 53 games, but made it known after yesterday’s practice he hopes to be with the Rangers for a long time to come.
Rumors have put the Rangers in a deal trading Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan McDonagh/Michael Del Zotto, a top prospect like Chris Kreider and a first-round pick heading to Columbus. McDonagh and Del Zotto are defensive untouchables on the roster, and Kreider is regarded as a can’t-miss prospect for the Rangers, therefore, putting the asking price way too high for Sather to really consider. Fans don’t like it either. When the Jackets visited the Garden on Sunday, after Nash scored, a chant echoed through the crowd: “We Don’t Want You!”
Dubinsky knew he was slow on the uptake early in the season and lacking in offensive contributions, and he isn’t denying that a player like Rick Nash could make a difference. His concern is the same as the fans, “But at this time of the season, into the playoffs, it takes a guy who’s willing to put his body on the line, day-in and day-out, and I feel like I can be that guy for this team.”
Coach John Tortorella likes Dubinsky and his progress from the slow start on the season.
“When he gets to where he needs to be, he’s going to be a big influence with us staying consistent with that,” Coach Tortorella said. “He’s looking ahead and I think that’s a sign of maturity for Dubi, too. I used to kick him when he got too high, but he’d also get down too low, too.”
Dubinsky was crucial last season in the playoff series with the Washington Capitals as a power-forward. He’s the type of player who has the versatility and veteran leadership the Rangers can count on. With five seasons under his belt in New York, Dubi has become a key component to New York’s identity and losing Dubinsky would swing the momentum out the door.
Nash, the 6-foot-4 power forward who has 18 goals in 57 games this season would need to learn a new system just as the Rangers have all the pieces in place. Acquiring Nash in the offseason may be more beneficial for a clean start and avoiding the shift in morale. His $7.8m per season, the fifth highest in the NHL, can’t replace the chemistry of the Rangers as they push into the playoff run.
The Rangers are three back of the Detroit Red Wings in the league. Defensively, they’re the best team in the East(1.93 GAA). Offensively, they’re 11th in the NHL in goals scored at 2.73. A disruption in the orchestration of the team’s rise is too risky this late in the season as the Stanly Cup race begins.
Sather wants to bring the Cup to Madison Square Garden, but must weigh the costs of losing a core group of the team who is playing for the long-term. One quick fix could destroy all that he has built and send fans running to the exits.