Heading into the 2013 NHL trade deadline, the New York Rangers had the worst offense in the league. Their abysmal 2.26 goals per game was good for 30th, while their power play was clicking at a rate of 14.3 percent, good for 25th in the NHL.
The Rangers clearly needed to add offense at the deadline, not shed it. Yet that is exactly what happened in New York.
Gaborik is just one season removed from netting 41 goals for New York.
So how excited are the Jackets to add him?
As far as I have heard the Rangers have not sent any private planes out to pick up Brassard, Moore or Dorsett.
And that should illustrate who got the All-Star player in this deal.
So the question for the Blue Shirts is the same as it has been all season: How are we going to score more goals?
Only now the answer can't be a former 40-goal scorer. The option of "well maybe Gaborik will find his game" is gone. Now the answer has to come from an offensively challenged team that couldn't put the puck in the net with an elite scorer like Gaborik out on the ice.
Either New York's team doctors have performed an experimental procedure on Ryane Clowe to turn him into a perennial 40-goal threat and an electric offensive presence, or the Rangers are content not scoring very many goals this season.
I understand that Gaborik is having a down year, but nearly every player up and down the roster is having a season to forget. Only Rick Nash and Derek Stepan have been immune to the slump in New York.
Both Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan had only has 19 points. Playoff hero Chris Kreider has had an issue even sticking with the big club, spending several games in the AHL so far this season.
This is a team that clearly is missing the depth and identity that players like Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov brought to the table. Oddly, the Rangers traded away that scoring depth to acquire Nash from Columbus, only to have to turn around and trade Gaborik to the Jackets to reacquire the depth that was moved for Nash.
Seems like a viscous circle to me.
And what does it say about the Rangers when Gaborik waives his no-trade clause to go to Ohio? New York is considered a player for big free agents every off-season because it's New York.
Now a former big ticket guy willingly leaves town for the suddenly hockey-crazed Columbus?
The positive for the Rangers in this deal is that they were able to shed Gaborik's hefty salary, clearing up some space to make some moves this summer.
Yet who is hitting the free-agent market that can match Gabby's ceiling?
Guys that can go out and score 40 goals don't hit the free-agent market every year, and when they do their contracts are massive. Gaborik's deal looks like a steal compared to the pact that Zach Parise inked with the Minnesota Wild last season.
So what is the plan, exactly? What do the Rangers have up their sleeve that we don't know about?
Whatever it is, it better be able to put up some goals or else the once Stanley Cup favorite is going to be on the outside looking in come playoff time.
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