State of the New York Rangers: NHL Trade Deadline Edition

Here is the 3rd installment of our expanded NHL Trade Deadline coverage. We’ll be posting team outlooks leading up to trade deadline over the next couple weeks from a variety of contributing writers.

Written by Patrick Kearns of and can be found on twitter at @PatrickKearns

In an era of armchair video game General Managers, it’s hard not to pick through every trade rumor with a fine-toothed comb to improve your team’s “overall” rating by lobbying for any player you believe would be an upgrade. This of course does not take chemistry into consideration, and with the New York Rangers building towards contention, it may be best to leave the roster alone. At the all-star break the team sits atop the Eastern Conference in points, and has the highest winning percentage in the NHL.

When the New York Rangers’ CEO James Dolan appeared at the podium before reporters after a win against the Nashville Predators a short time ago, he explained that he and General Manager Glen Sather’s plan was finally coming to fruition.

“In 2004, things weren’t going so well,” Dolan explained hitting the nail on the obvious head. “We decided to re-do the strategy… It’s all about the system that [Glen Sather] built. It’s about the farm system, and the scouting system and development. It’s about going with the kids, and sticking with that philosophy.”

Needless to say, when the man signing the paychecks starts buying into the team philosophy, it seems like an awful idea to betray what has gotten the team this far.

The Rangers are however, not without holes. The most glaring problem is their power play (or lack of). The signing of Brad Richards was supposed to eliminate the albatross of a powerplay that has plagued this organization for years. It may be correlated to the coaching, and the strategy in place, but a minor move may come down near the deadline if the powerplay continues to struggle.

A player like Ryan Smyth for the right price may solve a few issues the team currently has. With Brandon Dubinsky struggling to get his name on the score sheet, and second top-6 left winger may put the offense into elitism. Smyth has made it very well-known though that he loves Edmonton, and would like to be there for the foreseeable future.

Don’t be surprised to see the Rangers make a move for a veteran winger if he could be had for very cheap. Roster players, and top prospects seem to be off-limits, and rightfully so. The Rangers do not want to dig themselves into another decade long hole as they have done in the past.

The Rangers can also comfortably add salary at the deadline. They have a dead weight contract in Wojtek Wolski, who can be burried in the minors or shipped out giving them the flexibility to add almost any salary for the rest of the year

Truthfully there is no singular talent out there that would make sense for the Rangers to sell the farm to get. Especially with some top-flight players potentially heading to free-agency this upcoming off-season. A minor move makes the most sense for the Rangers, a-la last year’s 7th round pick for John Mitchell.


  1. Guest123

    January 28, 2012 at 11:28 am

    What does this article actually bring to the table? Seriously.

    How much salary can they comfortably add? What is Wolski’s cap hit? Who would want a player like him? What is their PP ranked league-wide? Is it both units struggling? What is it, or are they missing? Are they trying to give winning now a shot? This is the key question. Do they think with a tweak they can compete with PHL and BOS? You’d think a State of the NYR would actually take a shot at explaining this, no? You mention “plan” and avoiding a decade-long hole, but little else specifically.

    True, they won’t be “selling the farm”, as you say. But a Vet winger like Ryan Smyth to plug a PP hole (does that plug the hole??) isn’t a minor move and won’t come for “very cheap” pal. Maybe that’s not who you were saying. But for the sake of the article, come up with someone at least!

  2. AJ

    January 28, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    I think they need a PP QB, and maybe a veteran scorer with some leadership.

    I can see them getting involved with Selanne and/or Visnovsky closer to the deadline, when it’s clear, where the Ducks are headed at that point.

  3. Patrick Kearns

    January 28, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    First, I apologize for lack of clarity. The article was simply written to explain that I believe the team should stand pat and avoid any moves. The Smyth example was a player that could help, but I ultimately believe should be avoided. Also when I meant comfortably add almost any salary, I meant by dropping Wolski and his 3.8 million dollar cap hit they could afford any players contract. It meant to read that the cap would be no issue. The NYR have shown they could compete with the elite teams, and I believe by staying firm in their homegrown plan it will give them the longevity to compete for years.

  4. hotwings

    January 28, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    if you were nyr, why wouldnt you want a player like smyth to push you over the top? the east might be weak, but to get to the cup finals, you have to beat the best team in the nhl… the bruins…

    the time seems to be right for nyr to pickup the right playoff player.. this team is obviously in its prime.. if i was a fan, id give up a first to get a ryan smyth or some other quality commodity… selanne? to improve my cup chances..

  5. Josh

    January 29, 2012 at 9:29 am

    The rangers definitely need another left wing with some skill and grit which will be tough to add with Boston possibly also trying to add another piece. I like Quincy from Colorado as a pp QB

  6. Marc

    January 29, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Obtaining Smyth would cost far more than what he would individually bring to the team. I can assure you that, if Brad Richards – a PP specialist – hasn’t been able to fix the Rangers’ PP, it isn’t a player issue, it’s a coaching issue.

    But back to Smyth; we’d have to give up far too much and ruin a lot of the team chemistry. He’s pretty old at 35 (Rangers are I think the 2nd or 3rd youngest team in the NHL currently) and probably doesn’t have the wheels to keep up with this team. Plus he left LA to end his career in EDM so what makes anyone think he wants to come out east to play for NY..?

    Wolski carries a 3.8mil cap hit, and if he’s buried in the AHL that would leave the Rangers with roughly $5mil in cap space to work with. As it stands, the Rangers are something like top-5 worst PPs in the league, but also top-3 best PKs. So while we aren’t exactly capitalizing on our chances, we’re making it so other teams can’t capitalize on theirs.

    And a tweak to compete with PHI/BOS? We’ve consistently stomped PHI this season and shown we can hang with and beat BOS with our current roster, so if anything THEY need to tweak their rosters to compete with us.

  7. BlueshirtMANIAC

    March 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    The thing they’re missing on the powerplay is a BIG SHOT from the point. they’ve been trying to work the bulk of their PP down low and it hasn’t been working quite the same as when they used to send it to the point for a rocket and then scoop up the rebound or wide shot from the forwards. the years they were effective it was the same thing… work the puck around quickly down low to free up the point and then BADABOOOOOOM! ::que goal music::