ESPN's Pierre LeBrun's Blog (here).
However, one NHL executive told us Saturday that perhaps the Wild could still move him to a team that's desperately trying to move a long-term salary. The theory is that some NHL GMs are feeling the heat from ownership to cut payroll moving forward because of the economic downturn. The trade would be apples for apples this season in terms of salary, but, obviously, Gaborik comes off the books after the season. Food for thought.
Remember, this is pure speculation.
If this theory proved to be true, the Rangers could use it as an opportunity to remove one of their large contracts from the books. It could be one of four players, Drury, Redden, Rozsival, or Gomez. It is my belief that Drury has a full NTC, with Redden and Gomez having limited no movement clauses.
Rangers Give—In my opinion, the most likely candidate for this trade would be Scott Gomez. To be fair, I really like Gomez, always have. I like his style of play and I think he's a good guy.
But since day one, he hasn't been a fit in NY. He couldn't mesh with Jagr, and this season he has played the worst hockey of his career. Also, removing one or two (Rozsival) large contracts is essential to the Rangers' future success.
Gomez could fit into the Wild's plans. He's familiar with head coach Jacques Lemaire's system and style from his days in NJ. He's making the kind of money the Wild had reportedly offered Gaborik in the beginning of the year. It could make sense for them. I wonder what Wild fans would have to say about this?
Wild Give—Gaborik is having surgery and will be out for around 10 weeks. That puts him to return somewhere around mid-March. The Wild may be desperate to get something in return for Gaborik. It's funny how Gab's injuries have once again found a way to screw the Wild.
Everyone knew he was going to get dealt up until the time he got hurt for the 14359th time. So instead of getting a first round pick, a quality prospect, and maybe another player or two, the Wild may get nothing for him.
So, the Rangers get Gaborik who's going to be UFA next season. In my opinion, that's the best part of the deal. If Gaborik is healthy enough to play, they get a high scoring winger that the team needs for a playoff run.
Even if Gaborik isn't able to complete the season with the Rangers, it's still a good deal. They clear a boat-load of cap space for the future and free up a spot at center that next year should belong to Artem Anisimov.
Maybe the Rangers re-sign Gaborik at the end of the year to a one or two year deal for reasonable money. That would be fine for the Rangers. But if they didn't re-sign him, they would have enough cap space to go after Henrik Zetterberg and Marian Hossa.
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