3 Players NY Rangers Should Consider Parting with Before the Trade Deadline
While the Rangers haven't started their season the way they wanted or hoped to, they are still in the hunt in the Eastern Conference, as the difference between first place and ninth place is only 10 points.
The NHL trade deadline is April 4, and the Rangers do not need to hit the midseason panic button, but there may be a few players who aren't quite helping the Rangers as much as they should be.
The Rangers already turned Mike Rupp into Darrell Powe and Nick Palmieri this season, and GM Glen Sather has shown a reluctance to trade young players.
With that in mind, here are three Rangers that could possibly be moved before the trade deadline:
Brian Boyle has been a major contributor for the Rangers each of the past two seasons.
Standing at 6'7", he also represents the Rangers' most daunting physical force.
So far in 2013, Boyle has not played up to his or the Rangers standards. Boyle is last on the team with a minus-seven rating and he has only contributed one assist through 17 games this season.
Boyle's time on the ice is also down about two minutes per night.
His paltry point production is discouraging and his poor plus/minus rating indicates that he's not fulfilling his defensive responsibilities, which used to be a strength of Boyle's game.
Boyle will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2014 season and he is still just 28 years old, so he has value to other teams.
I don't believe Boyle will be traded, but he needs to be threatened to be traded so he wakes up on the ice.
Most of the time, fans are either indifferent or excited about a summer signing.
When the Rangers acquired Arron Asham over this past summer, most Rangers fans started thinking right away about how to get rid of him.
Asham's cheap shot in the 2012 Playoffs definitely hurt his public image and made Rangers fans hesitate to think Asham was joining the team for any reason other than to fill the enforcer gap vacated by Brandon Prust.
Asham is only playing about six minutes per game when healthy, and at age 34, his body does not recover as quickly as it used to.
The Rangers have $1 million committed to Asham both this season and next, and while fans would be glad to see him go, it's unlikely there will be any bidders.
The Rangers may just be stuck with Asham until the end of 2014.
Brad Richards is one of the most important and best players on the Rangers, but under his current contract, the team is committed to him until his 39th birthday, with an annual cap hit of $6.67 million.
Richards is third on the team in points, behind only Nash and Gaborik, but his impact on this team is well beyond the box score, as he is a mentor to lots of the younger players, he is the Rangers' top center and he has a close relationship with head coach John Tortorella.
Richards may still have two or three years left as a first-line player, but his contract goes seven seasons beyond the end of the 2013 Finals.
It's very unlikely the Rangers are shopping Richards because of how important he is to this current group and it is equally unlikely another team is eager to take on his contract.
While the Rangers are not meeting their expectations so far this season, making a panic trade would not magically help them win their next 10 games.
This team laid out a clear blueprint towards a Stanley Cup run when they traded for Rick Nash. The Rangers can and should still follow that blueprint.