Should The Rangers Try To Lure Another Devil Across The Hudson?

Greg CaggianoSenior Writer IMay 28, 2009

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 28: Brian Gionta #14 of the New Jersey Devils celebrates a goal by Brian Rolston #12 (not shown) against the Carolina Hurricanes during Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Semifinal Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Prudential Center on April 28, 2009 in Newark, New Jersey. The Hurricanes defetaed the Devils 4-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

From John Maclean and Bruce Driver to more recently Bobby Holik and Scott Gomez, certain New Jersey Devils players have had a habit of wading across the Hudson River to play for the arch-nemesis New York Rangers.

When looking at the four players mentioned, it's almost hard to believe that Bruce Driver was the most successful pickup.

John Maclean did put up a good season with the Rangers scoring 28 goals in 1998-99, but after that he dramatically fell off.

Bobby Holik was a good signing in my opinion, but he was ruined by the coach Bryan Trottier at the time who tried to turn him into a goal scorer.

By looking at actual statistics however, Gomez appears to be the far favorite for ex-Devils to play well for the Rangers. However, when you consider his salary, he has been just above mediocre and patience is starting to wear thin.

Rumors have heated up that Gomez may be involved in a trade involving the San Jose Sharks. Also, if the Rangers acquire Vinny Lecavalier from Tampa Bay, Gomez would be the likely departure.

As much as I would like to see Gomez (well, his contract more-so then he himself) moved, I highly doubt it will be possible.

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His salary and the fact that, even though he has struggled lately in regular seasons, he is a tried and true playoff performer. That is all that really counts when you want to break down the success of an individual season.

So, now that the Rangers are stuck with Gomez, I would highly suggest trying to help him out by acquiring a winger that can not only keep up with him, but play his type of game.

I absolutely do not blame him entirely for his struggles in his first two seasons on Broadway because look at the wingers he has had.

First was future hall of famer Jaromir Jagr who plays a slower, more finesse type of game. Then they put him with Brendan Shanahan, who had one foot in retirement and looked out of place.

The season after that gave him chances with Markus Naslund and Nikolai Zherdev, but they too play the game in a way Jagr did.

So just who can play with Scotty Gomez?

The answer lies in an unrestricted free agent who has called New Jersey his home for his entire career—a player by the name of Brian Gionta.

In each full season Gionta has spent with the Devils, he has scored at least twenty goals, culminating with a 48 goal performance in 2005-06. His center? Scott Gomez.

His play has taken a small downhill turn in the previous two seasons, but that also coincides with the departure of center Scott Gomez. The two showed unbelievable chemistry with each other and formed the "E.G.G Line" (Elias-Gomez-Gionta), which ended up becoming one of the more successful lines in franchise history.

Now, Gionta is coming off a season where he scored an even twenty goals but he did manage to set a caree-high in assists with 40.

I have been keeping an eye on free agents lately and I haven't really read anything concrete that suggests that Gionta definitely wants to remain a Devil.

Of course, it gets tiring seeing the Rangers acquire players of other teams to try and win instead of developing their own, but the future superstar of this organization passed away in Russia last October, and I believe that has set this franchise back several years.

The Rangers have a world class goaltender, a solid defense, and a scoring that needs more then a few tweaks to be considered just even.

So why not start right here in trying to repair the disastrous offense by signing Gionta to a two year deal for a total of eight million dollars? In fact, it could be the same contract given to Markus Naslund, sans the no-trade-clause of course.

If the Rangers want to trade Gomez and can find a suitor then by all means do it. But if Gomez is going to remain a Ranger, isn't it their obligation to put him with the best possible wingers available?


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