Should the New York Rangers Start Over?
Should the Rangers chalk this season up as a transition year and have a fire sale?
The short answer is yes. There are some players in the club right now who can contribute to the team’s long-term success. Those types of players should be kept for the long haul.
However, there are some players who hold value but can't be considered a part of the long-term solution for this team. And then there are players who are completely worthless to other GMs in the league and as a result the Rangers have no choice but to keep them.
These valueless skaters should be sent to the AHL, KHL, or even the ECHL. Some players who have worn the Rangers sweater this season honestly don't deserve to be playing in the NHL based on their performance. So, player by player, let’s take a look at the Rangers and what their fate should be.
Every player will get a blurb about them, as well as an approximation of their trade value and likelihood that they actually get traded this season. The trade value of each player will be self-explanatory, and the chances they get traded this season will be a percentage from 0-100.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
Artem Anisimov (Center)
A point-per game player in the AHL as a 20-year-old, Anisimov began to turn heads this preseason, scoring highlight reel goals accompanied by sound play in the defensive zone.
I’ve seen offensive flashes from him this season, though (even as a rookie) his defensive play leaves a lot to be desired given his “solid two-way center” reputation. As expected, Ani isn’t used to the speed of the NHL game yet, but I have faith that he’ll grow into it. Keep him.
Trade Value: an established second line winger or second pairing defenseman
Trade Chance: five percent
Sean Avery (Wing)
Avery’s starting to look like the Avery of old. Getting in the faces of the opposition, finishing checks, and creating opportunities around the net is very encouraging for the fans to see.
Besides, no other GM in the league would want him, and he’s under contract for two more seasons after this one. Sean stays.
Trade Value: a second or third rounder in a consequence-free world
Trade Chance: one percent
Brian Boyle (Center)
At first, I was excited about the news that the Rangers acquired Boyle. I expected him to be the team’s fourth-line center and be a fourth liner who could chip in some points.
The problem is that other Rangers fans expected him to be more. Although upside still exists at 24 years old, the clock is ticking for Brian to make significant strides in his game to be anything more than a fourth-line center. Most importantly, he’s signed to a sweetheart cap hit for only one more season after this one. Keep him.
Trade Value: a mid-tier prospect or third- or fourth-rounder
Trade Chance: 20 percent
Donald Brashear (Winger)
Don’s not the old Brashear who struck fear into the opposition like he once did. Although he is 10 times the hockey player, unlike Colton Orr, I have not seen a single fight this season where Brash completely manhandled his opponent.
For a team that is considered “soft,” Brashear sure doesn’t do enough to try to shed that label. The only thing I learned, based on his play thus far, is that it is apparently OK for the members of the opposing team to run Lundqvist.
I don’t care about how good of a guy he is off the ice, get rid of this washed-up has-been and his $1.4 million cap hit one way or another.
Trade Value: a “will-never-make-it prospect” or a fourth- or fifth-rounder
(Hey, if Ryan Hollweg got the Rangers a fifth-rounder, almost anything’s possible.)
Trade Chance: 70 percent (75 percent he gets waived though)
Ryan Callahan (Winger)
What a disappointment Mr. "I Lead the NHL in Hits” has been. Many Rangers fans (including myself, I’ll man up to it) expected Ryan to take the next step this season after being named an assistant captain by John Tortorella.
Callahan has been very good on the forecheck; the only problems have been that his line mates don’t help him out, and he hasn’t done much else. Ryan, unfortunately, has caught Petr Prucha syndrome and hasn’t been able to buy a goal since the beginning of the season.
You hustle, Ryan, but that’s about it. I wouldn’t shed a tear if you’re traded for something substantial in return.
Trade Value: a late first-rounder or second-rounder; an established top-six forward if packaged with a decent piece
Trade Chance: 25 percent
Chris Drury (Center)
Mr. Fairfield Prep Alum himself. I regret buying a jersey with your namesake and a captain’s "C" more and more every day.
Yeah, you play solidly in your own end, but how about a goal, or hell, even a point once in a while? Oh yeah, and the fact that not a single one of your troops reacted after Curtis Glencross elbowed you in the head, giving you a concussion really, speaks volumes about your leadership abilities.
Not even your own team respects you, captain. Personally, I do, and a handful of Rangers fans do, but to be honest, I have no idea of how your agent swindled the cigar-chewing maniac we call our GM into giving you $7 million per year, given what you bring to the table.
I love you as a player, and I try to model my own game after yours, but you’re handcuffing this team financially. In a perfect world, I’d ask you kindly to retire so the Rangers organization can be free of your bloated $7 million per season cap hit.
You could even proceed to un-retire and sign with another team, I don’t care. Ninety percent of New York never wants to see you in a Rangers sweater again, however.
Unfortunately, no other team would want you, and you probably wouldn’t want to drop your no-movement clause. So, it looks like we’re stuck with you. Just try to stay healthy and contribute what you can.
Trade Value: another player with a bad contract
Trade Chance: 0.1 percent
Brandon Dubinsky (Center)
Easily the most frustrating player to watch on this Rangers roster. Some nights, Brandon scores a couple of goals and adds a couple of assists. Other nights, he’s invisible.
Honestly, make up your mind Brandon. You held out during training camp and now play like you deserved to. Otherwise, you’re going to lose a lot of respect from your teammates, the organizational brass, and the fanbase.
I just hope Tortorella keeps you with the same line mates, since you seem to take some time to adjust to new ones. Organizationally, the Rangers are rather thin at center, but, if a trade offer for a star in this league comes along, I sincerely hope Sather pulls the trigger if it involves you and another piece. I know I sure don’t want another Heatley debacle.
Trade Value: a first-round pick or a highly-touted prospect, a star in this league if packaged with the right pieces
Trade Chance: 10 to 15 percent
Marian Gaborik (Winger)
The single player on this team right now who is untradeable. Period.
Trade Value: Sky high, but, for the hell of it, an established top-line forward, a highly-touted prospect likely to achieve star status, and a couple of first-round picks.
Trade Chance: zero percent
Chris Higgins (Center/Winger)
Honestly, I feel bad for Chris Higgins. He had a horrendous start to the season, but, in the past 15 games, he’s been the second- or third-best player on the team, depending on the night.
Another victim of Petr Prucha syndrome, Higgins has been doing everything right lately, except for burying his scoring chances. He’s been good on the forecheck, good in his own end, good positionally, and, simply put, has been a pain in the ass to play against.
I’m rooting so hard for Chris to pull through, but I have a feeling that he’ll be traded to a cup contender before he does.
Trade Value: a second-round pick or mid-high quality prospect
Trade Chance: 70 percent
Ales Kotalik (Winger)
When he was signed over the summer to a three-year contract worth $3 million, I was hoping that he would be making $3 million total throughout the contract.
Unfortunately, I was wrong. Kotalik has a booming shot, probably among the hardest in the league. However, he brings nothing else to the table. He’s not exactly fast, a lazy backchecker, and he takes stupid penalties.
I won’t deny that he’s helped out the previously anemic power play, but that’s all he’s done. If the Rangers can find a suitor for Kotalik, they should move him as soon as possible. His $3 million could be invested more wisely in something else.
Trade Value: an established NHL third-liner or middle-pairing defenseman or a second-round pick
Trade Chance: 30 percent
Enver Lisin (Winger)
Lisin does not deserve to be in Le Chateau Bow-Wow, where John Tortorella has placed him. You would think that you are doing something wrong when Aaron Voros, of all people, is playing, and you’re sitting in the press box.
On a team that needs secondary scorers to step up in the biggest way, it’s a shock to me that Lisin isn’t getting more time than he is. Up until a foot injury, Lisin was skating well and getting scoring chances.
Coincidentally, Lisin was playing on the top line with Prospal and Gaborik, which highlighted his shortcomings even more, though those games should have an asterisk next to them due to his injury.
As much of a better option as I believe he may be, even if he’s playing the fourth line, I don’t see him getting another fair shot as long as Tortorella is coach. Trade him for what you can get.
Trade Value: another “project” player or a third-round pick
Trade Chance: 65 percent
P.A. Parenteau (Winger)
A career AHL’er, P.A. finally got his shot with the big club when Drury and Dubinsky went down with injuries. His heroics in the shootout and creativity with the puck have caused many Rangers fans and those around the league to take notice.
The only problem with him is that he is small and gets muscled off of the puck easily. If P.A wants to work at it, it’s something that can be fixed. Unfortunately, I think the Rangers are better off selling high on P.A. and should see what they could get for him.
Trade Value: a second- or third-round draft pick, or a mid-high level prospect
Trade Chance: 50 percent
Vinny Prospal (Center/Winger)
At a cap hit of $1.1 million for this season, Prospal is currently the best “bang for the buck” player in the NHL right now. After being bought out by Tampa Bay, Prospal was hungry to prove his doubters wrong and show that he still had some left in the tank. What better way to do it than by signing with an old coach whom he played well under?
Outside of Gaborik, he’s the team’s most skilled forward, and, most importantly, the most consistent thus far. As well as Vinny has played, I see him as a perfect candidate for trade bait to yield a great return at the trade deadline this season.
Trade Value: a first-round pick or highly-touted prospect
Trade Chance: 75 percent
Aaron Voros (Winger)
Should be nowhere near this team. Waive him, and pray someone picks him up. Otherwise, let him join his buddy Patrick Rissmiller in the AHL making $1 million a season to play in Hartford.
Trade Value: a low draft pick or low-end prospect
Trade Chance: 90 percent chance he gets waived
Michael Del Zotto (Defenseman)
As far as current roster players go on the defensive end, he’s about as untouchable as they come right now. Surprising more than a few (including myself) Rangers fans by making the team out of training camp, DZ has proven early in the season that he belongs here.
Earning Rookie of the Month honors, Del Zotto is on pace for a 45-point rookie campaign. The first legitimate offensive defenseman and power play QB the Rangers have had since Brian Leetch left, and he’s 19 years old? He’s not going anywhere.
Trade Value: impossible to gauge
Trade Chance: 0.5 percent
Matt Gilroy (Defenseman)
Gilroy has done exactly what I expected him to do in his first NHL season, and that is play steady defense while chipping in a few points. Anyone who thought he would light the world on fire in his first season was the victim of too much wishful thinking.
Gilroy is a great skater and probably the best among the defense right now. However, Gilroy makes some very ill-advised pinches that led to odd man rushes the other way. Recently, however, he’s been better at picking his spots and isn’t getting caught up on the ice as much.
Gilroy could also stand to work on his positioning a bit more, but, at this point, which Rangers' defenseman can't? Let Gilroy finish out his two-year contract, see how he progresses, and go from there.
Trade Value: a top-four defenseman, a second-line forward
Trade Chance: two percent
Dan Girardi (Defenseman)
Girardi started out the season atrociously. He wasn’t throwing the body, was caught out of position on more than one occasion leading to a critical mistake, and was not contributing all that much offensively.
Recently, he has picked up his play and has played like the player that we have seen in the past. With that being said, however, I do not think that Girardi has progressed enough as a player to warrant giving him another contract.
With many defensive prospects knocking on the NHL’s door, Girardi is a very expendable piece who, if a part of a package, could bring in a very good player.
Trade Value: if packaged with another piece, a young top-six winger or top-four defenseman
Trade Chance: 25 percent
Wade Redden (Defenseman)
After an atrocious first year as a Ranger, I was willing to hear Wade out and see how he would play this season. He has answered with being the most consistent defenseman on this team this season.
His decision-making with the puck, as well as the outlet passes out of the defensive zone that he is known for, have been a lot sharper. His positioning has been top-notch, and I just hope he comes back from his shoulder injury playing the same way—for the sake of the team and my sanity.
In a perfect world, he’d be traded to a team in need of a defenseman with cap space. However, there are few teams that would: a) have the cap space; b) be interested in Redden; and c) would put together an acceptable package for him. It looks like we’re stuck with him at least up until next season.
Trade Value: another player signed to a bad contract, a third- or fourth-round pick
Trade Chance: one percent
Michal Rozsival (Defenseman)
How do you spell brutal? I spell it R-O-Z-S-I-V-A-L. Never have I seen a player with such an aversion for playing the body.
Allowing Mike Rupp to dance into the offensive zone and letting him snipe it top-shelf like Alex Ovechkin was the most insulting thing done to a goalie since Sean Avery gave Brodeur the “Fatso” nickname. (OK, not really.)
I used to give Rozsival a pass on his defensive shortcomings because he would be contributing offensively—whenever he wouldn’t perpetually be passing it to Jagr on the right half boards anyway, but I digress.
Simply put, he brings nothing beneficial to the table right now. Sather needs to give his fellow GMs some cigars laced with LSD so he would have a chance of convincing one of them to take on Rozsival’s $5 million cap hit.
I’m not even angry anymore when this guy makes a mistake, since I just expect it to happen. Get him off this team.
Trade Value: another bad contract, perhaps a mid-level prospect or pick
Trade Chance: 35 percent
Marc Staal (Defenseman)
Until recently, Staal’s play this season has been very disappointing. He’s been soft along the boards—where he’s usually among the NHL’s strongest—he’s been off with his positioning, and he would make ill-advised pinches into the offensive zone.
However, I don’t think we could blame him very much for that last one, since the coaching staff appears to be encouraging him to get involved in the offense to tap into some offensive potential that he may have.
In recent games, Staal’s play has been miles better than at the start of the season. His slide of bad games has had some Rangers fans calling for him to be traded while his value is still high. Don’t do it, Sather. He’ll come around and will continue to get better every season.
Trade Value: a young top-line talent or multiple high draft picks
Trade Chance: 0.2 percent
Henrik Lundqvist (Goalie)
Now comes the hard part of my article. I’ll come out and say it right away—Henrik Lunqvist has been playing sub-par this season and nothing like the Vezina-caliber goalie that us Rangers fans are used to.
In fact, he’s been very average so far this season. He seems to be letting in more soft goals and shots that he should be able to stop in games this season. In fact, I think I may know why this is happening. The Olympics are taking place next winter.
There is no way that Henrik isn’t saving himself for that, because, apparently, winning a gold medal (which he already has, by the way) is more important than winning a Stanley Cup.
It’s understandable but only to a degree. There’s wanting to play for your country, but there’s also letting your NHL team down in the process. Lundqvist has been doing just that this season. In a couple of games that the Rangers needed him to steal for them, he has come up empty.
Simply put, I’m very disappointed in the way Lundqvist has played so far this season. With that said, however, those who are advocating trading him and calling him the next Jim Carey are way out of line.
You simply don’t trade the only goalie with four 30-win seasons in his first four seasons in the NHL, someone who has been nominated for the Vezina in three of the last four seasons played, and has a gold medal to his name.
Folks, he’s 27 years old! He has at least eight good seasons left in him. There’s plenty of time to re-tool and give him a better shot to win a Stanley Cup. Unless they are unhappy, you simply don’t trade franchise players. Ever.
Trade Value: Alex Ovechkin (kidding)…a young starting goalie, a young first-line forward or first-pairing defenseman, a highly-touted prospect, and a first-round pick or two. (Think, I don’t know, Ondrej Pavelec, Bryan Little, Zach Bogosian, and a first-rounder.)
Trade Chance: five percent
Steve Valiquette (Goalie)
I meant to type Sieve Valiquette; I apologize folks. This guy has been atrocious so far this season. Trade him to a team desperate for a veteran backup. Call up Johnson or Zaba.
There’s no harm in letting either of them get their feet wet a few games this season. They honestly couldn’t fare worse than Valiquette has this season.
Trade Value: a goalie prospect or mid-round pick
Trade Chance: 40 percent
There you have it, folks. Let's go, Rangers.
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