by Matt Steele
With the NHL trade deadline approaching soon on April 3rd, its time where rumors start running rampant about who is buying, who is selling, and who is being moved. A big name that has come up has been Marian Gaborik.
Gaborik, a two-time 40+ goal scorer with the Rangers has been the center piece of all trade talks regarding the Rangers. Why after an off season sending away two players who meant a lot to the core of the organization would you send off another piece? Why would anyone who was considered a Stanley Cup contender trade away a 40 goal scorer?
It’s no secret that this season has been disappointing for both the Rangers and Gaborik. After the acquisition of Rick Nash, people everywhere had the Rangers penciled in for the Stanley Cup finals against teams like the St. Louis Blue and Los Angeles Kings. However as of right now the Rangers are on the outside looking in to the playoffs. The Rangers clearly have needs. They need someone who can quarterback a power play. They need a top 4 defenseman who isn’t afraid to shoot the puck and can score. You hear guys like Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dregger say that all the time, and that’s because it’s true.
However, I wouldn’t say a top four defenseman is all they need. The Rangers need another top nine forward who can bring grit and toughness. They need a guy who can not only find the back of the net, but play a hardnosed, gritty game. A player who will not be afraid to drop the gloves to spark up the team or to defend a teammate. When the Rangers traded Brandon Dubinsky to Columbus, they lost that kind of player. They lost a role player who did all those little things that it took to win. And I think that the Rangers organization knows that.
Due to that, it comes as no surprise that the Rangers have been in serious talks with the San Jose Sharks. San Jose has 2 players that would fit the Rangers needs. A name that has been under trade speculation for multiple seasons now is Dan Boyle.
Boyle, a top four defenseman who can quarterback and juice up a power play, is signed until 2015 with a cap hit of $6.66 million. The other guy on the Sharks roster that can fit the Rangers needs is Ryan Clowe.
Clowe becomes a UFA this season. He currently has a cap hit for the Sharks at $3.6 million. This guy is the perfect player for the Rangers to trade for. He has that hardnosed, grinding style of game that fits in with the Rangers. Clowe has proven he can find the back of the net scoring over 40 points in four of his seven seasons. The only thing is, what will the Rangers give up to acquire these two? Where will they have the cap room to acquire these two?
Obviously moving Gaborik makes the most sense as the Sharks would be getting a 40 goal scorer in return for a top four defensemen. However with the cap going down by approximately $5 million, you have to imagine San Jose is trying to dump salary. Since Clowe is a UFA next season they don’t have to worry about dumping his salary, but they can try to get something for him before he hits the market. Both Boyle and Gaborik have a year remaining on their contracts. With Boyle’s contract the Sharks are just $2 million over the cap while the Rangers with Gaborik’s contract being just $1 million over. The person I see most expendable besides Gaborik on the team is recently acquired Roman Hamrlik.
Hamrlik was brought over via waivers from Washington. While it is a long shot to say the Sharks would agree to a trade sending Boyle and Clowe to NY for Gaborik and Hamrlik, it is Glen Sather on the other line who is making the trade. Sather has been known to make VERY good trades. For example, he’s the man who sent Scott Gomez to the Canadiens in exchange for their top defensive prospect at the time, a guy named Ryan McDonagh. I imagine the trade would include mid to late round draft picks as well. But I will say, it would be a long shot to imagine that trade happening without having to send over a prospect.
I personally am against trading Marian Gaborik. It is clear the team is missing chemistry due to a big part of it being broken up over the summer, so why trade away more of it? The next week and a half will be the longest of Marian Gaborik’s career. Gaborik loves playing on the Rangers and wants to win a Stanley Cup. I personally would hate to see a guy with that goal scoring ability go. However, I understand when it’s time to make a change, and with the Rangers recent slump, it may be time to do so.