NHL Trade Analysis: What the Rangers Gained by Trading Mike Rupp
By trading Mike Rupp for two younger players, the Rangers addressed current weaknesses and made themselves stronger for the future.
Rupp will be remembered for his two-goal performance to beat the Flyers in last year's Winter Classic, but he was looking less and less like a good fit with the 2013 Rangers, as his six minutes per night indicated.
The Wild obviously wanted Rupp enough to trade two younger players for him and they are getting a tough veteran who leads by example.
While it's good that the Wild didn't get swindled, Rangers fans should feel great about this trade. Here's why:
Bringing Back Brandon(s)
In the 2011-12 season, the two Rangers with the most penalty minutes were both named Brandon—Prust and Dubinsky, respectively. Neither player is with the 2013 Rangers, and that missing toughness may be a reason for their slow start.
Sure, Rupp is a tough guy, but he wasn't doing much beyond fighting, and the Rangers need some toughness during open play.
With the loss of the Brandons, the Rangers lost a couple of major shot-blockers, but Darroll Powe helps fill the void.
According to ESPN's Katie Strang, Powe blocked the second-most shots in all of the NHL last season and considering Ryan Callahan was third on that list, the Rangers should instantly put a stop to the wide-open shots Henrik Lundqvist has been dealing with for most of this season.
Doing More with Less (or Fewer)
The Rangers penalty kill has been mediocre this season, ranked 16th in the NHL.
John Tortorella refuses to coach a mediocre defensive team. The Rangers penalty kill does look much better now that Ryan Callahan has returned from his injury, but Powe adds another reliable penalty killer.
The Rangers don't have many forwards that are good and consistent at playing short-handed, so adding one is important, especially since Rupp hadn't even registered a second this season on the penalty kill.
Darroll Powe is not a physical presence like Mike Rupp.
In fact, Powe, at 5'11" and 200 lbs, is built very similarly to Callahan, and his playing style isn't too far off, either.
Despite losing all six feet and five inches of Mike Rupp, Powe helps this team in many different facets, many of the same facets in which Callahan excels. Powe is not quite the player Callahan is, but Torts can use him in a lot of the same situations, situations where Rupp would be a liability.
Powe is still only 27 years old, the same age as Callahan, and six years younger than Rupp.
With Torts' style of play, another gritty shot-blocker and penalty killer is exactly what the Rangers need.
The real kicker to this trade was getting two players in their 20s for 33-year-old Mike Rupp.
Nick Palmieri is the second player the Wild sent over, a 23-year-old who is now with the Connecticut Whale.
If that name sounds familiar, it's because Palmieri had a pretty successful 2010-11 season with the Devils, contributing 17 points and a plus-nine rating over 43 games while averaging over 14 minutes per game.
Palmieri regressed last season and was eventually sent down to the AHL. Still, at 23, and with over 80 games of experience in the NHL, Palmieri could easily regain the form that made him successful as a 21-year-old.
He will first have to prove it with the Whale. Considering J.T. Miller was on the Whale about a week ago and is now looking like a bona fide NHL talent, Palmieri should feel confident that if he plays well, he will get a chance.
Choosing the Mystery Box
I believe life is a series of decisions evaluating risk vs. reward.
Trades are absolutely the same: Does the potential reward of players coming in outweigh the risk of the player (or players) going out?
Mike Rupp is not going to surprise anybody in an NHL game again, and he is limited in the ways he can help his team. His potential is exhausted.
Darroll Powe directly addresses two weaknesses the Ranges have—blocking shots and killing penalties—he can skate much better than Rupp and he is six years younger.
In addition to Powe, the Rangers are taking a chance on Nick Palmieri. The Rangers have a good track record of developing young players, and considering Palmieri has done it once before, it's not crazy to think that he can become an NHL talent again.
Rupp will be remembered, but the Rangers made an easy choice to improve their team for this season and the future.