BUFFALO NY - DECEMBER 23: Chris Higgins #21 and Dmitry Kulikov #7 of the Florida Panthers celebrate Higgins goal in the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at HSBC Arena on December 23 2010 in Buffalo New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
With the trade deadline approaching, it's about that time for trade rumors to begin spiraling out of control. Most of these rumors are either complete fabrications or despite being based on some measure of truth they never come to fruition. Keep in mind that this isn't a rumors blog. We don't care to pretend like we have some sort of inside scoop. We'll leave that ish to Eklund.
With Glen Sather's acquisition of Wojtek Wolsi, it's clear that the Rangers are buyers at this years deadline. Whether or not I think they should or shouldn't go out and try to make a move is a whole other story, but for the hell of it I'm going to break down different options from the various cellar dwellers who are likely to be sellers. Shortly before Christmas I broke down the Toronto Maple Leafs and concluded there wasn't a fit to be found, this week it's the Florida Panthers turn.
David Booth: Nothing but a pipe dream. With a reasonable long term contract and nearing his prime, Booth is part of the solution for the Panthers. They may very well be in sell mode, but Booth won't be going anywhere unless it's an offer that blows GM Dave Tallon away. Forrrgeetttttt about it.
Chris Higgins: Signed a $1.6 million contract with the Cats this past summer and has yet again struggled to put the puck in the net. His inability to score made him a bust in his first go around in New York and he was eventually shipped out in the Oli Crapinen deal. But Higgins was a good soldier and would easily fit into the Rangers blue collar style of play. If the hockey gods continue to be cruel and the Rangers lose a forward to injury, I'd be more than okay with kicking the tires on Higgins. On this years team he would not need to be counted on for top six production and his familiarity with the club is a plus. Depending on how things shake out this summer I'd like the Rangers to check in on him.
Stephen Weiss: The Rangers still need a first line center, but Stephen Weiss isn't it. He's a 60 point player with a very reasonable contract but he isn't worth giving up key prospects and draft picks for. He isn't Brad Richards and the Rangers may have their own cheaper, younger version of Weiss in either Derek Stepan or Artem Anisimov. Weiss is a valuable player but why pay the price when you may already have a similar player?
Rostislav Olesz: He may become available but he would be of no use for the Rangers. He's signed to a long term deal yet he has never notched 30 points in a season. Pass
Radek Dvorak: Would be an inexpensive rental but doesn't fill a need. We'll pass on a reunion.
Bryan McCabe: No longer an elite defenseman (if even ever was in the first place) but he could be of some use to the Rangers. He's a left handed defenseman and would provide a needed (yes a needed) veteran presence on what is now one of the youngest d-corps in the NHL with Michal Rozsival shipped to the 'Yotes. He's played well through the first half of the season and is on pace to score 40 points this season. He has an expiring contract and his cap hit would not be an issue at the deadline. As with all things, it depends on the cost. If the Rangers can pry McCabe away with one of their spare second round draft picks (they have two this year) than a case can be made to acquire him. However, the Panthers would likely ask for Michael Sauer or Matt Gilroy to be included in a deal and trading either of them for 20 something games of McCabe would be a mistake. The Rangers are contenders this year, but they should wait another year before they mortgage their future.
Best options: Higgins & McCabe.
Agree? Disagree? Feel free to email me canyonofblueshirts (at) gmail.com.