With the Olympics officially coming to a close yesterday with Team Canada winning Gold in Men's Ice Hockey and a magnificent closing ceremony following that, it is back to work for the National Hockey League. First off, the trade freeze that was in effect over the course of the two week break concluded at midnight, meaning general managers will have the next three days up until 3 pm on Wednesday to finalize any transactions they wish before the deadline. After that, the race for a playoff spot begins.
Now you would be mistaken to think that general managers have not been in contact during the trade freeze. In fact, we saw a hint of what is to come with all of the moves made right before we entered the Olympic break. The Rangers made two moves. The first bringing in Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust, and shipping off Ales Kotalik and Christopher Higgins to the Calgary Flames. They then sent a conditional draft pick San Jose's way in order to acquire bruiser Jody Shelley. Finally, on this past Saturday they claimed back-up netminder Alex Auld off of re-entry waivers.
From a Rangers standpoint, there are many questions to ask yourself as we approach the trade deadline. Let's face it, GM Glen Sather is not very revealing when it comes to these things, so anyone who claims that they know what he will do before 3 pm on Wednesday, well, is lying to you. Predicting is one thing, claiming to know is another, so I advise you to be careful of what you choose to believe and what you do not, because there will be a lot of rubbish thrown onto the Internet over the next few days (e5).
Based on the past, the likely scenario here will be Glen Sather again looking for a few rental players that can help carry his team into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. We have seen the same thing over and over again every year, so the chances of Slats changing his approach this time around are slim. This is the very reason fans are holding rallies outside of Madison Square Garden, because they are sick and tired of seeing the same series of events from season to season.
Much more after the Jump>>
I made it clear earlier in January the direction I believe this team should be going in. It is time to rebuild, sell, and start from scratch. I think as this roller coaster of a season continues, more and more fans are jumping on board with that idea. It only makes sense because it would solve the problem of having to scramble for rentals at this time of year every season.
I am curious to see how Glen Sather goes about doing this. He needs improvements on offense, he needs improvements on defense. I do not really see him being able to fix both so he is likely going to have to value one over the other. Which one would you pick? Exactly, it is not easy.
I think it is going to come down to whatever dead will be more fitting for this team. You do not want to get rid of too many youngsters, but at the same token, it would be nice to gain some veteran leadership in the back end. You want to keep your draft picks for the upcoming draft, but if something comes up where you can get that key player into your lineup just by adding a pick to the package, why not go ahead and do it? These are just some of the questions the Rangers front office faces.
It is possible that we see more league-wide transactions today than we see on Wednesday. If general managers did talk often over break like people on the internet claim, there could be many deals just waiting for the freeze to be over so that they can go throw. Maybe even the Rangers are one of them. It should be very amusing to say the least, even if the Blueshirts uncharacteristically decide to keep quiet this deadline.
Obviously we will have full coverage of the trade deadline and all of the happenings leading up to it here on the site. Between myself, Joe, Jim, and now Greg (welcome aboard!), I think it is safe to say that we have a crew capable of bringing news to you as it goes down, so stay tuned!