Ask any hockey analyst out there and they will more then likely tell you that in order for the Rangers to succeed next season, they will have to move one of the four major contracts that currently have a strangle-hold on this team.
SNY analyst Brian Monzo told me in an interview that Michal Rozsival would be the easiest to trade. At only three years remaining and a cap hit of only five million per, he clearly is the cheapest of the four.
It is so easy for everyone to just say, "Oh, why don't we just trade Redden?"
As much as Ranger fans would love for that to happen, let me ask you all a question; if you were an NHL general manager, would you want to acquire that contract? 29 out of every 30 people asked would answer with a resounding, "no."
Fact is, Wade Redden's contract is one of the most egregious ones ever given to a player, but of course, hindsight is 20/20.
I will take Mr. Monzo's opinion and say that the Rangers might trade Rozsival, but an explanation as to why and for whom is better saved for a later article.
But even with all of the complaints echoing from the Rangers' fan base this season about so-and-so's atrocious hockey, stemming back to the Dmitri Kalinin days, the Blueshirts still managed to have one of the stingiest defenses in the league, and even after the suffocating-styled Tom Renney was relieved of his coaching duties.
That makes defense the No. 2 priority, with the first being to improve the offense in the next couple of months.
That means trading the likes of either Scott Gomez or Chris Drury, maybe even both of them if possible. It truly is one of the biggest dilemmas this franchise has faced in recent history as Drury would fit into Tortorella's system better, but he also would be the easier of the two to trade.
Even if he is the captain, Mr. Personality himself will have to be dealt if it means fixing this team's ever precarious salary cap situation.
The biggest rumor out there concerning "Captain Clutch" involves a former team, the Colorado Avalanche. The deal would send Drury back there along with Bobby Sanguinetti and their first round pick in this year's draft for winger Milan Hejduk and Colorado's first round pick on the season, which is third overall.
It certainly is a fair offer and if Drury will waive his no trade clause and the deal does come to fruition, the Rangers would then draft Matt Duchene who some scouts believe is the best all-around player in the draft.
Now, the Gomez rumors have included the San Jose Sharks who are more then a little irked at another embarrassing early round exit. Given Gomez's playoff success and Joe Thornton's lack thereof, San Jose might want to pull the trigger on that deal straight up as the two centers' salaries are nearly identical.
The Rangers certainly have depth at center with Brandon Dubinsky and the rookie Artem Anisimov; and if the Rangers re-sign Blair Betts then that would give them three solid centers, with the fourth being either Gomez or Drury, depending on who gets traded.
With the money saved by unloading one of the two, the Rangers could then target a player of superstar caliber, whether it be taking a gamble on Marian Gaborik this season or waiting until next year for a chance at Ilya Kovalchuk.
If it was up to me, however, Gomez would be the one packing his bags, not for Joe Thornton but for a low salary player or draft pick. Alex Tanguay would then be signed to a two-year deal almost mirroring that of the newly retired Markus Naslund from last off-season. He had immense success with Drury in Colorado when they won the Stanley Cup and could thrive under John Tortorella.
With the remaining money the Rangers then sign Mike Knuble to a one-year deal of a little more then two million dollars. He provides the big body that the new coach loves along with grit and experience and could provide that "Shanahan-esque" voice that was sorely missing in the locker room this past season.
Now, the Rangers are not technically being forced to trade anyone, but if you want to see an improved squad next season, be sure to expect Glen Sather working the phones on this coming draft day and shortly after.
Greg Caggiano is a writer here on Bleacher Report covering the New York Rangers. He has a New York area sports teams blog called Metro-Sports, where you can read great articles about all professional sports teams that play in the area by a dedicated team of young writers.
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