New York Rangers Trade Rumors: Latest Speculation Ahead of NHL Trade Deadline
Don't' blink because the NHL trade deadline is slowly approaching. The NHL trade deadline will be here in no time as the deadline is six days away. February 27th is the last day teams can exchange players as they make the big push for the playoffs.
The New York Rangers are the heavy favorite to emerge out of the Eastern Conference. Led by Henrik Lundqvist, the Blueshirts have an outstanding record of 38-14-5 for a total of 81 points.
With such a dominating record, will the Blueshirts look to bulk up as the trade deadline approaches? Stay tuned all week with the New York Rangers trade rumor tracker.
Will the Rangers Remain Quiet at the Deadline?
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The Rangers have the best record in the Eastern Conference. The team has great defense, great goaltending and an average offense.
Up to this point, the team has found ways to win and has progressed without making significant changes. When players have went down with an injury, John Tortorella has made due with the parts he has. Even defenseman Stu Bickel has lined up on the right wing.
Fans feel that the team is great as constructed, so will the Rangers stay the course?
Will Brandon Dubinsky Remain a Ranger?
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Brandon Dubinsky has been involved in a lot of trade rumors involving Rick Nash. Thus far he has tried to shake off the rumors:
"I just got to laugh those off," Dubinsky said. "If it happens, that's part of the game. It would suck because obviously I love it here, but I am not putting too much stock into it."
Until the day (general manager Glen Sather) calls me and tells me I'm not here any more, I am going to come in here and work my butt off for these guys," he added.
Dubinsky is making a hefty $4.2 million for the next three seasons. He has not impressed anyone with his offense and he was paid to produce after leading the team in points last season. While the Rangers will look to keep Dubinsky, what are the odds that he remains a Ranger after the deadline?
Will the Rangers Acquire Rick Nash?
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The Rangers are one of the rumored five teams that Nash will accept a trade to. It isn't a case where every other team could outbid the Rangers. Nash has a full no-movement clause. So if he wants to go to the Rangers, he will end up a Ranger.
However, right now the asking price is very high.
Deadline Day Update: It appears that the Rangers may be out of the Nash race because the price is too high. Here is a report according to Katie Strang.
Here is an excerpt from the New York Post:
Rangers GM Glen Sather, who is believed to have chatted last night with Howson, seems unfazed over the cap crunch he would create in the future by picking up the remainder of the Nash’s contract, under which No. 61 will carry an annual $7.8 million charge through 2017-18.
Sather apparently believes Nash, who has scored between 27 and 41 goals for seven straight seasons, would fortify the Rangers, who have come from modest beginnings to first place in the East by nine points over the Bruins and Devils.
Rather, Sather is fazed by Columbus’ asking price, believed to be Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan McDonagh or Michael Del Zotto, Boston College winger Chris Kreider and either a first-round pick or another of the Rangers’ top prospects.
McDonagh and Del Zotto are untouchables on the NHL roster, and Kreider is regarded as a can’t-miss prospect with a ceiling as high as those in an apartment in a Manhattan pre-war building.
Sather is a master negotiator but can he pull this move off?
The Rangers currently are the favorites to win the Eastern Conference, and they are firing on all cylinders. The team has played great—and they simply don't need Rick Nash. Sather could make other improvements to his team, and the Rangers could still have a successful playoff run.
Will a Trade Affect Chemistry?
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Whenever a team is firing on all cylinders, it can be dicey when the team makes some additions or subtractions late in the season.
However, in the Rangers case that won't be a problem. The exact fear of the fans was addressed by Brad Richards and Mike Rupp, two of the veteran playoff leaders in the Rangers' locker room:
Do the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers need Nash? And how could the move affect an already strong team chemistry?
“I believe in team chemistry and all that. I don’t believe in us worrying about it,” said alternate captain Brad Richards. “That’s something that people are paid to do above us. We’re all confident, as every player usually is, [that] we’ve got a great room. No matter what happens, we’re able to handle it. As far as commenting on chemistry and all that, that’s for [coach John Tortorella] and management and those people to monitor. We’ve got enough to worry about.”
Although a move to bring in the 27-year-old Nash would require the Rangers to part with significant assets and potentially disrupt the team’s nucleus, players are not concerned with it jeopardizing the team’s identity.
“We’ve got a tight group and we all want to win, so if it’s something that will help the team, we’re all for it,” veteran Mike Rupp said. “But at the same time, we believe in what we’ve got here now.”
When you have leaders like Rupp, Richards, Tortorella, Callahan and Lundqvist, the question of chemistry shouldn't be brought up. These are respected leaders who will unite the team no matter what. What some people fail to realize is the NHL is also a business, so trade rumors are a part of the territory with becoming a professional hockey player.
No matter what the team does at the deadline, the locker room will not be affected in a negative way because this team knows what is at stake.
Will the Rangers Unload Wojtek Wolski's Contract?
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The Rangers successfully traded Wolski to the Florida Panthers for a prospect and a draft pick.
What Are Some Backup Options That the Rangers Could Pursue?
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If the Rangers decide not to go all in for Rick Nash, there are a few options they could consider. The team is looking to add a top-six scoring threat. Players like Ryan Smyth and Tuomo Ruutu are not included because they would replicate pieces the Rangers already have.
Update: Tuomo Ruutu was resigned by Carolina.
Gaustad is not a top-six scoring threat but would be a great third- of fourth-line center upgrade. Gaustad is a gritty forward who plays with an edge. He takes the body and fits the style of this team. He is also a face-off ace and is in the top 10 for draw-men in the league. He is a player that could be considered.
Pierre LeBrun feels Gaustad would be a solid addition.
New York Rangers: So many focus on the Rangers’ search for a goal-scoring winger that one forgets they could also use some size on their third or fourth line. The Rangers are middle-of-the-pack in the league in faceoff win percentage and could use Gaustad there as well. He’s a better fit on this team than most people realize.
However, Yahoo! Sports' Nick Cotsonika adds that Buffalo is trying to resign Gaustad.
The Sabres are trying to re-sign Gaustad.
— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) February 22, 2012
Trade Deadline Resources
The Fourth Period
Twitter Accounts to Follow
• Darren Dreger (TSN)
• Bob McKenzie (TSN)
• Kevin Allen (USA Today)
• Steve Zipay (Newsday)
• Andrew Gross (The Record and Herald News)
• Larry Brooks (New York Post)
• James Duthie (TSN)
• Greg Wyshynski (Yahoo! Sports)
• Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)
• Dave Pagnotta (TheFourthPeriod)
In addition, you can follow me on Twitter (@TomUrtzNYR).
Tom Urtz, Jr. is an NHL featured columnist. For NHL Trade Deadline news, updates and alerts about players: