An interesting question, no doubt.
Marc Staal has become the cornerstone, the poster boy for the new, rebuilding Rangers. This is the first time in my memory that I can truly say that the Ranger "cupboard" is fully stocked. We have a lot of solid prospects to build with.
Solid prospects. Not "blue-chippers," not "can't miss"-type guys... solid players. Especially at forward. Let's look at some of our guys up front who have already made an impact:
Artem Anisimov: With his frame... 6'4", 194, he's large, but not a power forward. He's solid on his feet, but not a speedster. He's good in his own zone, but not a Selke candidate. He's an all-around center. Is he capable of scoring 30-40 goals? 90-100 points? Maybe. But as of now, he looks to be more of a 20-20 guy.
Brandon Dubinsky: Another center, who will probably shift to LW under Torts. In all honesty, I love Dubinsky, simply due to his gigantic heart. He'd stand up for you in a second. This past season, he went 20-24. He's obviously a power forward-type guy. But like Joe Thornton... or John Madden?
Ryan Callahan: A FANTASTIC checking and two-way winger, without question. He's probably a future captain. But a first-line winger? If he scored 25 goals, we'd all be happy, maybe even shocked to a degree. He'll never be a pure goal scorer though, but will easily chip in 15-20 per season. That's... second line.
Again, a great start. But to call any one of those players top guys is definitely a stretch. How about the others who are on the way?
Evgeny Gratchev: Poor first pro season. Maybe he'll turn it around... but iffy start.
Derek Stepan: Playmaking center. Could use some bulking up however.
Chris Krieder: In my opinion, our best forward prospect. Size, speed, and scoring.
Christian Thomas: INCREDIBLY small. Could be another Cally or another Gionta.
Mats Zuccarello Aasen: TINY. Last two "top" foreign prospects who were hot commodities: Jiri Dopita and Fabian Brunnstrom. Yep.
Obviously, there's something there in terms of POTENTIAL first-line talent. But are you convinced we're ready to contend with Evgeny Malkin, Crosby, Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin, Giroux, Carter, Richards, Parise, or Kovalchuk? That's JUST in the East... without any thought of the usually better West.
On defense, our prospects seem stronger.
Dan Girardi, who I think is a solid second-pairing guy (for Mr. Controversy) is here for the long haul, getting $3.5 million a season. Del Zotto isn't going anywhere... he'll be our number one guy for the next 15 years. Eminger is another decent player who'll play 12 minutes or so a game. Matt Gilroy showed flashes last season... but he's only going to improve once he learns the defensive aspect of the game.
That's a decent and young start on the blueline with Mike Sauer, Ryan McDonagh, and Jyri Niemi all ready to take the jump.
This is why I ask: Should the Rangers trade Marc Staal?
McDonagh plays a very similar game to Staal except he hits harder and scores more. Could he actually be considered an upgrade? That DEFINITELY remains to be seen. If you look at our defense corps without Staal, we're very young with tons of untapped potential (aside from the two albatrosses):
Del Zotto Roszival
Giving Redden and Roszival tons of ice time might inflate their stats, which means higher trade value! Anyone would trade either for a LOW pick...
This current lineup won't frighten other teams yet (Henrik will bail them out though as we've become accustomed to), but including Sauer, McDonagh, and Niemi, who all will be solid guys, we have:
Pavel Valentenko: He was once compared to Bryan Marchment. Enough said.
Dylan McIlrath: He won't play for at least three years, but he could be the meanest SOB we've had in years.
Mikhail Pashin: WHAT a dramatic impact he made in rookie camp. He was also picked first overall in the KHL draft. Not too shabby. Next year he'll be on the team.
And don't forget Sam Klassen and Tomas Kundratek. These two guys will definitely be in Hartford, but are both solid prospects.
That's A LOT of players competing for six spots. In three years, Redden and Roszival will be gone. But Del Zotto, Girardi, and Gilroy will most certainly still be around, and will be considered veterans by then, and all those other defensive prospects will either be on the team, or banging on the door.
So would trading Staal, our most talented all-around defenseman now, be that detrimental with all that talent ready to jump in the next three or four seasons? I have to believe that trading Staal would give us a HUGE trading chip in regards to improving our offense.
Shouldn't we deal from an area of strength?
If I had to guess, Staal is asking for $4-5 million a season.
What do you think that he could get us? Staal for Kadri? Jacub Voracek? Cody Hodgson? Brayden Schenn?
How about Bobby Ryan??
We will have one of the top defenses in a few years, but up front, we will also have a team of second and third liners.
Would you trade our top defenseman to add that one offensive blue-chipper?