What’s more fun than a good trade? The answer: Nothing! Trades are the best! They are the most basic form of human negotiation. Whether you’re an 9-year old camper on movie night negotiating a deal that nets you five watermelon Sour Patch for three pink Starbursts (the person giving up the watermelon SP’s is getting FLEECED), or a 68-year old NHL general manager determining the future of 18 and 19-year old prospects who will likely retire after you’ve died, there’s no denying the excitement and unadulterated joy of making a trade.
It is for that very reason the entire NHL world will stop what they’re doing Monday afternoon, turn on the NHL Network, and cross their fingers for a blockbuster trade. In order to be involved in one of these highly-desired blockbusters, you usually have to be cellar-dweller looking to unload a highly-paid, veteran talent, or a Stanley Cup front-runner searching for that final piece to the puzzle. And for the first time in 18 years, the New York Rangers are firmly cemented in that second group. But then there is the paradox of success. Fans become so enamored with the players who have brought them success, they become reluctant to replace them with players who are more talented but don’t carry the same sentimental value. But then fans get upset after a failed postseason run because their team’s management didn’t Go For It when they had the chance. So which is it? Do you trade with your heart or your brain? Here at The Garden Faithful, we say Trade With Thy Brain!
So, with that in mind, here are our Five Players Most Likely To Leave Broadway, and of course our Five Players Most Likely to Arrive On Broadway.
(NOTE: I did not rank prospects for the simple reason I have not seen them play enough, nor do I know their intangible qualities or lack thereof (e.g. Why is Chris Kreider considering going back to BC for another year of college when he could win a Stanley Cup this spring? That doesn’t sound like a “winner” to me, but then again, I have no idea.)
Huh, right? I would have never considered this a possibility until I read NHL scribe Andy Strickland’s tweet on Wednesday afternoon that one Sharks player has been pushing management to acquire the AHL healthy scratch millionaire. It makes sense, really. Despite his pariah status throughout the league, a team could tolerate his antics for 20 games plus the playoffs knowing his contract expires at the end of the season. It would also get Torts off the hook for not dressing him in the playoffs when Stu Bickel is inevitably playing first-line forward minutes.
Best Reason Not to Trade Him: He’s Sean Avery.
Best Reason to Trade Him: He’s Sean Avery.
4. Artem Anisimov
Before the season started, err, 24/7 happened, I would have been totally OK with trading Artie. Now, after his classic goal celebration, exchanging of devilish smirks with Avery in the locker room post-misconduct, and of course every one of his cute, feeble attempts to speak English, Artie has become my cozy Russian bear! (I’m a heterosexual male, I swear!) His Twitter account is absolute dynamite, and stories like this make me absolutely adore him…
Following a recent Rangers victory, the media heard this brief exchange between Torts and Artie.
“Tortorella poked his head into the locker room and said to Anisimov, ‘Great f***ing game. No one’s going to talk to you, but great game.’”
That’s absolutely fantastic. And stories like that make me sad to think he might be dealt, but like we said, Trade With Thy Brain!
Artie is on pace for a 42-point season, a decrease in what we saw our cute little Russian bear produce in 2010-11. He’ll be 24-years old at the start of next season, and it’s hard to argue he’ll ever be more than a 50-point guy. The best thing he has going for him is his $1.8 million cap hit (Wojtek Wolski makes more than double that…barf). Is that enough to make up for his inevitable future as third-line center on a good team? Maybe.
Best Reason NOT to Trade Him: His cute Russian accent. Duh.
Best Reason To Trade Him: You probably won’t realize he’s gone a second after the trade happens.
3. Michael Del Zotto
Del Zaster. Where to begin? Yes, he’s on pace for a 10-goal, 35-assist season at the age of 21. That’s excellent. It cannot be said enough how valuable point-scoring defensemen are in the NHL—young ones, especially. But if you watch MDZ on a nightly basis, his flaws in the defensive zone—where in theory he will make his living—are hard to ignore. I would not simply throw MDZ in a big trade as an add-on, but if an offer comes along where a team wants Del Zaster as the centerpiece, I would give them my undivided attention, whereas I wouldn’t with, let’s say, Mac Truck.
Best Reason NOT to Trade Him: Someday, in theory, he will quarterback the power play.
Best Reason to Trade Him: He’s a hipster, techno-music loving tool who constantly is found standing in the corner as his man casually beats Lundqvist from close-range.
2. Marty Biron
I really LOVE this one. Why not? You know how many games Marty Biron will play in the playoffs if the Rangers win the Stanley Cup? NONE. ZERO. NADA. ZILCH. (I’ll stop. Sorry.) He totally served his purpose in the team’s first 60 games, but outside of maybe five more starts between now and the end of the regular season, his work here is done! (Not to mention his performances have been getting weaker and weaker by the start.) If a goalie-hungry team calls you and says they’ll give you an effective third-line player who would be an upgrade over your current personnel, how do you say no? You don’t. You just do it. And if you’re really that concerned about having a backup goalie, give the Lightning a late-round draft pick for Dwayne Roloson. Done.
Best Reason NOT to Trade Him: None.
Best Reason to Trade Him: Even when he plays well, I feel it’s sacrilege for people to chant Mar-ty! in celebration at Madison Square Garden. I want him gone. Now!
1. Brandon Dubinsky
I think you know our stance on this. We love the guy. Absolutely adore him. Would let him date our collective daughter if he didn’t already have a smokin’ hot fiancee. But he’s just not that good. And his cap number, $4.2 million, makes him an albatross. That’s right, an albatross! You can’t be paying a guy who’s on pace to score 9 goals that amount of money when there’s a salary cap. His heart and desire and love of all things New York and all things Rangers will be sorely missed, but remember what we said: Brain, not heart.
Best Reason NOT to Trade Him: Over it.
Best Reason to Trade Him: Rick Nash.
5. Michael Ryder (Stars)
I really like this guy. He’s 31-years old, has a reasonable cap hit for next year ($3.5 mill), is on pace to score 31 goals this season, and has won a Stanley Cup. And unlike the names underneath him, he will not cost you a core guy or an elite prospect. Get it done, Slats.
4. Robyn Regehr (Sabres)
This excites me for so many reasons. First off, he’s Brazilian so I’d automatically subtract his rather feminine first name and make him a traditional one-named Brazilian athlete: Regehr. Done. And he’s not as old as you’d think (he’ll be 32 in April), and he’s a free agent after next season (with a $4.0 mil cap hit for next year). Regehr would also fit right in with the team’s shot-blocking mentality (he had 142 last season; would have been good for second on the team). Anton Stralman can suck it! Bring in Regehr!
3. Bobby Ryan (Ducks)
Remember him from earlier in the season? Yeah, I do, too. One report described his arrival to the Rangers as “imminent,” but then that whole bizarre coaching carousel took place and the Ducks got Bruce Boudreau and you never heard about it again. Well I’m saying the rumors will come back, and by next Monday at 3 p.m., he’ll have a new team. Will it be the Rangers? Quite possibly.
2. Ryan Smyth (Oilers)
Captain Canada makes perfect sense. He’s gritty, hard-working, blocks shots and would provide the veteran leadership and power play-scoring this team sorely lacks (they are awfully young when you think about it). He’s a free agent after the season so his large cap hit will be a non-factor come next October. Plus, it would probably annoy Islander fans in some way if he won a Cup with the Rangers. That’s never a bad thing.
1. Rick Nash (Blue Jackets)
Just like with Dubie, I think you know where we stand on this. Nash is an absolute superstar. He’s big, fast, clutch, talented and was arguably the MVP of Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics. He’s played on a shit team his entire career and has still put up great numbers. He would instantly become the team’s best offensive weapon (don’t you dare argue that!), and he would not only be of great help this season, but for the future, as well. Yes, his cap number is very large, but he’s worth every penny. He’s 27-years old and would absolutely thrive playing at the Garden.
“But we’re going to have to give up Dubie and prospects and draft picks and it will hurt the team’s identity! WE CAN’T RUIN THE IDENTITY! IDENTITY!!!!!!!!”
Nah, we can. Prospects are prospects. That’s all they are. They, like draft picks, are an unknown commodity. And when you have a team that sits atop the Eastern Conference and has not lost four games in a seven-game stretch since this first week of the season (yes, I did not use that stat by accident), you are obligated to package those unknown commodities for a superstar. In a sport as violent and unpredictable as hockey, you have to Go For It when the opportunity presents itself. Take the Capitals, for example. I’m sure last season many teams offered them big-time players for some of their younger, more promising guys like Marcus Johansson, but the Caps said “no” because of their potential to be great in the future. Fast-forward a year and the Capitals may not even make the playoffs. You never know when a team is going to lose that “it” quality, you never know when your franchise player will lose his Hall of Fame touch (Ovechkin), and you never know when an injury can ruin your best player’s career (Crosby). The 2011-12 New York Rangers are a known commodity and so is Rick Nash.
On this one, you can forget our trade-making motto. It’s a no-brainer.
Five Trades We’d Like To See
5. One less shade of ocean blue in Hank’s eyes for dental implants for Brad Richards. It’s painful seeing him smile.
4. Five of Sather’s Cuban cigars for a pack of gum for Tortorella. The man’s breath stinks.
3. One player’s beautiful girlfriend/fiancee for fungus removal medication for Tortorella’s thumb.
2. Wade Redden for a pair of stilts Tortorella. He cannot be taller than 4-foot-8 (see picture below).
1. Boyle, Rupp, Wolski, and Fedotenko for a roster spot for Landon Girardi, Dan’s son. He’d be far more useful than any of those four mongrels. If you put him on the ice the other team would be so enamored with his cuteness and would be so careful not to hurt him that he’d play an invaluable role on the penalty kill. Plus, he’d get to travel with team which would make Dan happy. It’s a win-win for everybody!