At the NHL trade deadline the New York Rangers traded All-Star winger Marian Gaborik to the Columbus Blue Jackets for center Derick Brassard, defenseman John Moore and winger Derek Dorsett in a blockbuster deal. After the deal was made there were mixed reactions to the trade, and it was impossible to give a truly fair assessment of the blockbuster. Ten games have passed for both sides, and it appears that the trade has and will benefit both sides.
Inside The Numbers
|Marian Gaborik (CBJ)||3||4||7||1||6||18:01|
|Derick Brassard (NYR)||3||6||9||4||4||16:15|
|John Moore (NYR)||1||3||4||0||6||10:54|
The numbers illustrate that the move has helped thus far, but here's an in depth look at the trade from both teams' perspectives.
From Blue Jackets' Perspective
Since the trade, both sides have reaped their fair share of benefits. On the Columbus side, the Blue Jackets added an elite goal-scorer who adds credibility to the team. Gaborik is a player who has acclimated well to the lineup, and it helps that he is playing with former teammates Artem Anisimov, Vinny Prospal, Tim Erixon and Brandon Dubinsky.
Gaborik is playing with confidence, is getting into scoring positions and is helping the Columbus Blue Jackets win games. Going forward he could post some huge numbers and be a true asset for the Blue Jackets. Traditionally Gaborik has his best production in seasons that end in even-numbered years, and next season ends in 2014.
He is also in a contract year next season and the Blue Jackets will likely get a very inspired Gaborik from the moment the season starts.
From Rangers' Perspective
On the Rangers' side, the move has paid immediate dividends. Derick Brassard has been an amazing pickup, and he has reinvigorated the power play. Brassard has shown poise, patience with the puck, amazing vision and offensive skills that illustrated why he was selected No. 6 overall in 2006. He made his debut as an 20-year-old, but injuries to his shoulder shortened his first two seasons. If you look at his production since 2009-10, Brassard has developed at a nice pace averaging 0.56 points-per-game, a typical rate for a second line center.
He has fit in well with the team, and could become the team's No. 2 center behind Derek Stepan.
Thus far GM Glen Sather has looked like a genius for picking up a player of Brassard's caliber, and if he keeps his game up he can fill an important role in the lineup. His prime years are still ahead of him. He also has the obvious skills and he could be a legitimate replacement for Brad Richards in a few years.
John Moore has also been a very underrated addition, and he has been compared to Ryan McDonagh by various writers and bench boss John Tortorella. Moore is 6'3" and 202 pounds, and his addition has given the Rangers a future No. 4 defender who can help fill the void left by Michael Sauer. Moore is a different type of defenseman than Sauer was, but he will fill an important role.
Moore is an amazing skater. He is very confident with the puck and he has a low and hard point shot. He has shown that he is willing to join the rush, and he has the speed to get back into position so he isn't compromised defensively. Moore has also shown that he can play physical when needed, and he has fit in well with John Tortorella's system. More importantly, the addition of Moore allows the Rangers to roll three solid pairings, and that will become stronger once Marc Staal comes back.
While Moore has been playing somewhat sheltered minutes, he is filling an important role as the team's No. 6 defenseman, but he has shown the potential to be a No. 4 defender one day.
The wild card in the trade is Derek Dorsett. He broke his collar bone earlier in the year, and he is slated to return in the first round of the playoffs. He is a physical energy player who will fill a similar role that Brandon Prust held during his time with the Rangers, but Dorsett has some offensive skills. He could be a great pickup for the Rangers, but he hasn't played a game yet so it is too soon to evaluate his addition to the roster.
Initial Reaction Suggested Columbus Was Winner
Immediately after the trade, it looked like the Blue Jackets won the deal, but after letting the deal play out it looks like Glen Sather made another great trade.
Many pundits weighed in, but here is one opinion on the trade from deadline day courtesy of Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski:
It’s a salary dump for the Rangers, and a body dump for the Blue Jackets and new GM Jarmo Kekalainen and President John Davidson.
The Jackets better their team in the short term and clear some roster space as well.
The Rangers get a player in Brassard that can help, but this isn't a giant leap into a playoff seed-type trade.
The Blue Jackets have been flirting with the playoffs; if this trade kick-starts Gaborik, they can consummate the relationship.
On the Milbury Scale, it's a THREE.
The Blue Jackets win this trade immediately, but the Rangers clear a problem contract and an underwhelming star from their roster.
At the time, it was easy to make that assessment but after letting the trade breath it looks like the opposite has happened for the Rangers. Wyshynski makes some valid points that reflect the context of the trade. The Rangers freed salary, the Blue Jackets moved bodies and they added a superstar immediately.
However, the trade has played out better than predicted, and it hasn't been as lopsided in the interim as suggested.Brassard has more than helped and his improvements to the power play has been huge. Gaborik has been kick-started but Columbus is still ninth in the conference.
Deal Was Hockey Trade, But Rangers Get The Edge
Here are the major reasons why the Rangers won the trade, contrary to immediate reactions to the trade.
1. Marian Gaborik is a 31-year-old winger who is slated to become a free agent next season.
While Gaborik is an elite scorer, he is getting older and injuries have followed him his entire career. He also is a free agent after the 2013-14 season, and he wasn't likely to remain a Ranger because of cap implications. Gaborik was having one of his worst years as a Ranger, and it is fair to say his value was at an all-time low. While this trade has helped Columbus in the interim by giving them an elite scorer, the trade has helped New York in the interim, and they got a huge return for a player not in their future plans.
While Gaborik may continue to perform past age 32 for Columbus, odds are that Brassard, Moore and Dorsett will mean more to the Rangers in their prime years filling multiple roles. There will also be cap flexibility to re-sign key RFAs, and they can supplant their roster through the free-agent market going forward.
2. Moore and Brassard have been better than expected.
The circumstances in which Moore came to the Rangers via trade are very similar to how Ryan McDonagh became a Ranger. Scott Gomez, the centerpiece, was sent to the Montreal Canadiens and they sent forward Chris Higgins and McDonagh, a defensive prospect who was somewhat expendable. The organization also had P.K. Subban and Josh Gorges in the system at the time so it was a deal made from strength at the time.
Interestingly enough, the Rangers were able to sign Marian Gaborik with the cap room gained from the Gomez trade.
In this trade, the Blue Jackets, like the Canadiens, dealt from a position of strength. The Blue Jackets have prospects Ryan Murray and Tim Erixon so they could afford to let John Moore go. They also have veterans like Nikita Nikitin, Fedor Tyutin, Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski on the blue line. With that in mind, the Blue Jackets could afford to move someone because they didn't have enough roster spots.
However, dealing a player like Brassard may come back to bite the Blue Jackets. Brassard has been much better than expected, and he has played like a future No. 2 center for the Blueshirts. While Columbus also has Ryan Johansen, Artem Anisimov and prospect Boone Jenner, Brassard appears to be a diamond in the rough who could have helped Columbus moving forward. He probably deserved some more time, and he will get a chance to prove himself in New York.
With the Rangers and Blue Jackets becoming divisional opponents next year, things could get very interesting.
This trade has helped both teams, and it interestingly hasn't hurt the Rangers in any way during the interim. While they could still stand to add a scoring winger in the future, for all the Rangers know Chris Kreider could help fill that void.
Since the trade, the Rangers have gone 7-2-1, and they lead the NHL with 41 goals in the month of April. Things are looking more optimistic now than they did earlier in the season. Looking back at the deadline, it appears the Blueshirts made one of the biggest and most successful splashes, despite reports that they would be quiet at the deadline.