As a Ranger fan, it’s hard to complain about much right now. Things are clicking, and through old school grit and toughness, our boys continue to find ways to win games. With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, every Ranger fan has been mulling over the possibility of adding Blue Jacket forward Rick Nash. After hearing opinions from peers, as well as reading reactions from fans on Twitter, it seems that most are not in favor of sacrificing Brandon Dubinsky and top prospects for Nash. I am here to share with you, however, why I, as well as the other contributors to The Garden Faithful, believe this trade should be made if the Rangers expect to make a run in the playoffs.
Listen, as I said before, it’s hard to sit here and complain about how this team is playing. However, the facts have to be faced. The Rangers have two lines that can score: Gaborik-Stepan-Anisimov and Richards-Callahan-Hagelin (disregarding the constant mix-up of lines from Tortorella, of course). The Boyle-Dubinsky-Prust line is together to essentially be matched up against our opponent’s top line, and for good reason. This is a blue-collar line, and these three forwards grind out every shift to forecheck, block shots, and take the puck away. There’s no denying the heart and guts that they exhibit every night, and it’s a testament to the approach the Rangers have every game. Our fourth line, well, let’s not even go there (I can’t take this line seriously with Bickel included). So here is the point I am trying to get at: Come playoff time, can we really compete with elite teams if we can only count on two lines to put the puck in the net?
Rick Nash is a beast. He’s a 6’4, 220-pound, five-time NHL All-Star who’s played for an expansion team with little promise his entire career. He’s only 27-years old and has yet to play with a talented supporting cast. If he joins the Rangers, he’ll not only answer the team’s request for another elite scorer, but he’ll also fit in with New York’s tough, hard- working, gritty identity. A fellow Garden Faithful writer pointed out what our first power play line would likely be if Nash joins the team: Nash, Richards, Gaborik, Callahan and Del Zotto. Considering the Ranger’s troubles on the PP, that looks pretty appealing to me.
Now to answer the questions that everyone will likely be asking. Yes, I am willing to give up Dubinsky. While he may be a face of the team and a true example of a grinder, he is simply too inconsistent and has been a disappointment with his lack of scoring. It will be sad to see him go, but he is great trade bait. Along with Duby, we will have to sacrifice a prospect, as well. I admit, it will be tough to give up Kreider. The dude is big, rough, and can flat out score. We’ll also likely have to give up either Erixon or Miller, as well. Despite this, I am willing to make the sacrifice to get Nash. Prospects are not guaranteed, and we have plenty of other young players to ensure the long term success of the franchise. Finally, the question of cap space is certainly legitimate. Cap room is going to change over the offseason as the collective bargaining agreement is restructured, and it is uncertain how it will affect teams. But the Rangers have depth, and if we get Nash, we have no problem letting Fedetenko, Wolski, and Mitchell walk during free agency. We can fill the bottom half of the lineup with hungrier young players who won’t command as much money. I don’t believe the acquisition of Nash will hurt team as much as people say.
This is an exciting time to be a Ranger fan. After years of mediocre regular seasons and early playoff departures, we are finally an elite team. We hold the lead in the Eastern Conference with a generous cushion. We have the individual talent, team chemistry and overall tools to win NOW. Getting Nash will immediately and greatly increase our chances of a long playoff run, and will guarantee the Rangers a spot among the NHL’s best teams in the years to come. Prospects are a great thing, but one can only look to the future so many times. If this trade is not made, I won’t necessarily be upset. I will still believe in this team like I have all season. However, the unknown scares me, and I don’t want to be embarrassed with a first-round upset in the playoffs. We have the best goalie in the league. Actually, let me rephrase that. We have the best goalie in the world. He is in his prime and at 30-years old (next week! Our Lil Hanky is growing up so quickly!) he isn’t getting any younger. Personally, I’m tired of waiting. I’m ready to win right now, and I believe we can with the help of Nash.