The Marian Gaborik situation, very much like "The Bonnie Situation" from the critically acclaimed film Pulp Fiction, is a delicate one in nature.
There were rumblings of Gaborik being potentially dealt after CBC's Elliotte Friedman named Gaborik as a trade target in one of his famous "30 Thoughts" columns, and the rumors were further magnified after a piece was written by Craig Custance of ESPN and Andrew Gross of The Bergen Record.
The $7.5 million dollar question is, what should the Rangers do with Marian Gaborik?
The sniper's struggles were summed up in a loss against the Winnipeg Jets in which he failed to score on a penalty shot.
When Gaborik couldn 't score on the penalty shot against Ondrej Pavelec, his struggles were magnified. Simply put, if Gaborik can't beat a goalie by himself, how is he going to get it going when he is playing even strength hockey?
In 26 games, Gaborik has eight goals and nine assists for 17 points. In an 82-game season he would be on pace for 54 points, his second lowest as a New York Ranger
When looking at Gaborik's game, one may ask, "why isn't he scoring?"
Gaborik isn't using his wrist shot like he has in the past, and he may not fully trust his shoulder as he is coming off a surgery that repaired a torn labrum. This takes a big element of Gaborik's game away from him as he has one of the best wrist shots in the NHL.
So with Gaborik not scoring and not fitting into the rough and tough system that the team plays, what do you do with him?
If it has been deemed that Gaborik can no longer thrive and coexist with John Tortorella, it would make sense for the Rangers to gauge interest from the rest of the league before this year's trade deadline.
Additionally, with the salary cap dropping next season and it becoming unlikely that Gaborik will be re-signed by the Rangers, it further seems logical for New York to put out feelers in the trade waters as stated in the above reports.
However, there are a few problems with the suggested ideas, and the following problems handcuff the Rangers' ability to deal the talented sniper.
1. Marian Gaborik has a limited NTC
Gaborik possesses a limited NTC that allows him to submit a list of teams that he will and won't play for. This prevents GM Glen Sather from offering Gaborik to every team in the league, and limits a potential return.
2. Gaborik's salary of $7.5 million impacts their ability to trade him
Odds are that playoff contenders would line up to add Gaborik to their team, because he would have free reign to create offense instead of worrying about blocking shots. However, there is a catch. With the salary cap set to drop, contenders may not have the room to fully add Gaborik.
Under the new terms of the CBA, the Rangers could retain up to half his contract, but odds are that Sather won't want to do that.
3. How do Rangers replace Gaborik's offense?
So the Rangers decide to trade Gaborik, how do you replace the offense he has created for them? He may be off to a slow start, but he has scored 40 goals or more in three of his last five seasons.
Wasn't the point of adding Rick Nash to the roster to add offensive support for a team that failed to score goals?
4. Finding a team that can send Rangers a player to immediately replace Gaborik in lineup
The Rangers aren't going to deal Gaborik for anything short of a player, or players that can immediately step into the lineup. With expectations as high as they are, the Rangers aren't going to make a deal centered around prospects and draft picks.
What's Next for Gaborik and Co.?
The Rangers are struggling right now, and Gaborik needs to get his game going soon. If he is not moved at this year's trade deadline, all reports suggest that they will move him in the summer.
Getting rid of Gaborik via a trade would free up some cap space and give the team some flexibility going forward, but it would also take away a top sniper and make Rick Nash the man again.
Nash has shown that he can answer the call, but the Rangers need to have a plan to replace Marian Gaborik's production.
Things are not looking good for the Rangers as they currently sit in ninth place in the Eastern Conference.
This was supposed to be a team that would contend for the No. 1 spot in the conference, and to this point they have not played like the top contender they were last year.
Although the Rangers do have areas to address with scoring from their bottom-six and solidifying their defense, it really wouldn't make sense to deal Gaborik at this time.
The Rangers should take the risk and see if he can break out of his slump over the rest of the season and potential playoffs. If he no longer fits the system, they can trade him during the summer where there will be no shortage of potential suitors since only one team will be able to sign the impending UFA Corey Perry.
It is a gamble for sure, but creating more holes will not help the Rangers as they continue their journey for a Stanley Cup.