"A lot of people were interested in our young guys but we really didn't want to trade any of our kids," said Glen Sather shortly after the NHL Trade Deadline passed. It is a telling and welcomed quote to the overwhelming majority of Rangers fans. Yes, the Rangers didn't acquire Brad Richards and still have a void down the middle, but the old adage 'sometimes it's the move you don't make that is the best move' certainly rings true.
The Stars and GM Joe Nieuwendyk were obviously reluctant to trade Richards. Even though their ownership situation isn't settled (and may not be come July 1st), the Stars are still contending for a playoff spot and trading Richards would have sent the wrong signal to an already somewhat disinterested fan base. As a result, Nieuwendyk set his demands high and never felt the pressure to lower them as the deadline drew closer. It was a good old fashioned game of chicken between him in Glen Sather with the only difference being nobody blinked and luckily for the Rangers, they're better off for it.
As painstakingly boring as this trade deadline was, Glen Sather's lack of action was a victory. The Rangers didn't sacrifice any of their promising young talent and will still in all likelihood have the opportunity to acquire Richards this summer via free agency. In the end, Sather had already made his moves. On Saturday, he acquired defenseman Bryan McCabe for Tim Kennedy and a 3rd round pick and also moved Michael Rozsival for the talented Wojtek Wolski a few weeks earlier. Both were excellent trades that significantly improved their current roster without impeding their long term growth.
This year is a development year for the Rangers. They're building the foundation for a Cup contending future and whatever they manage to accomplish this year is gravy. It isn't a make or break year and as a result their was no reason for Sather to be desperate. In fact, he was justifiably cautious.
It's unknown what Nieuwendyk's true asking price was, but for Sather to not pull the trigger we can assume it was large and probably unreasonable. It was the easy move for Nieuwendyk not to trade Richards and it was an easier move for Sather not to acquire him. The Rangers will likely have another shot at him this summer without sacrificing their promising young talent.
Realistically, Rangers fans couldn't have asked for a better deadline.