When the New York Rangers return from the 17-day Olympic break on February 25, there will be just eight days and three games until the trade deadline day on March 5.
Essentially the Rangers—or any other team in the NHL for that matter—need to quickly reassess their roster and determine whether or not they will make a move before the 3 p.m. deadline.
This year is more unique than others, though. The team's own Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi have flooded trade rumors since it was learned that general manager Glen Sather was willing to trade the UFA pair if deals weren’t in place before the deadline. Furthermore, Sather hoped that deals would be done before the Olympic roster freeze, but as we know now, that didn’t happen.
Other than Callahan and Girardi, there haven’t been any other Blueshirts mentioned in trade rumors since Michael Del Zotto was traded to the Nashville Predators for Kevin Klein on January 22.
It wouldn’t make sense for the Rangers to seek to move any other pieces at the moment, unless a blockbuster was in the works. But at this point, it seems the only potential blockbuster being offered-up to the Rangers would involve either Callahan or Girardi.
As we inch closer to some sort of finality, there’s bound to be rumors galore surrounding the Rangers and their two UFA stars. Not all are viable or even credible, so we’ll help sort them out.
Today we’ll take a look at the rumors surrounding both Callahan and Girardi and call fact or fiction.
Rumor: Rangers Could Trade Callahan for St. Louis’ Stewart
The suggested swap is intriguing.
Callahan, who is obviously the better player, is set to reach unrestricted free-agency status on July 1. And whether or not the Blues would be willing to pay Callahan what he’s looking for—which is believed to be between $6.5 and $7 million over seven years—is unknown at this time, but it seems doubtful. Signing Callahan to such a deal could potentially sabotage the future signings of St. Louis’ group of promising young forwards—Patrik Berglund, Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko.
So basically the Blues want Callahan as a rental as they gear-up for a legitimate run at the Stanley Cup this spring. That’s fine.
The Rangers, in return, would be receiving a player who has an additional contract year. Stewart—who currently makes $4.15 million—will hit unrestricted free agency on July 1, 2015.
Furthermore, Stewart is the type of player the Rangers have been starving for: a power forward with an edge and a nose for the net. Unfortunately, he also has a knack for falling inconsistent, but what Ranger hasn’t over the past decade?
This is not a terrible move for the Rangers, but the straight swap is still not true value for Callahan. Another piece would be ideal. A first-round pick or a promising forward prospect would be great, and at that point, I bet Sather would pull the trigger.
When it comes to classifying this rumor as fact or fiction, it has got to be fact. This is straight from Dreger, the hockey world’s premier insider. Despite the fact that Callahan has stated that his heart is in New York, the forward does not appear interested in taking a pay cut, and therefore he must be moved for assets.
The initial rumor involving St. Louis has been the most specific yet concerning the Rangers captain, but I’d say there’s a better chance of it happening if St. Louis is willing to add. Otherwise, Sather may be forced to take what’s available or sit on Callahan and look to move his rights at the draft, when he will surely yield less.
Rumor: Dan Girardi Could Cost a First-Round Pick and Possibly a Top Prospect
Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com stated this past weekend that the Rangers could be asking for a “first-round draft pick within the trade package” in return for Girardi. Haggerty goes on to further suggest that the projection would likely place the Boston Bruins out of the running for Girardi because they “find that too high a price to pay for a rental player.”
Haggerty’s information may be true, but the idea that the asking price is too high is most interesting.
The Rangers are potentially prepared to trade a premier right-handed defensive-defenseman who has become one of the best shutdown guys in the league, and therefore they are going to want to cash in. Dan Girardis don’t fall off trees these days, and if a team wants G, they’re going to have to pay up.
Furthermore, the Rangers have a bit more leverage if they look to trade Girardi. First of all, it’s believed he is not seeking as long a contract as Callahan, nor is he looking for as much money. Therefore, the Rangers could easily just sign the veteran defenseman if they decide the returns are unacceptable.
In addition, because Girardi’s demands are not as severe, more teams would be willing to bite and the chances of him signing with the team he’s traded to are probably higher.
Nevertheless, how is a player who has become a fixture on the top defensive pair of a perennial playoff team not worth a first-round pick and more? Girardi could be the difference between the Bruins, or another contender, winning the Stanley Cup. Does the trade then become worth it? Sure does.
Also, was Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli hesitant to pay a hefty price—two prospects and a conditional pick—for Dallas' 41-year-old Jaromir Jagr at last year’s deadline? Didn’t seem like it.
As for the verdict on this rumor, it may be fact in terms of raw information, but it’s fiction in its conviction. In other words, Girardi is totally worth a first and a prospect.