I was scanning my morning New York Rangers reads today and I came across Larry Brook's most recent Rick Nash story, in which he thinks the next two games will play a major role in Glen Sather's decisions when the NHL trade deadline finally arrives.
Sources familiar with the parameters of the discussions between Sather and Columbus counterpart Scott Howson have told The Post the Rangers have designated Ryan McDonagh, Michael Del Zotto, 2009 first-rounder Chris Kreider and 2011 first-rounder J.T. Miller as untouchables when the Blue Jackets requested their inclusion in the package for Nash, the 27-year-old power winger who is being dangled to deep-pocket contenders.
Forget the Nash trade, or any trade for that matter, if this report is true then Satehr is handling his business the right way.
Join me after the jump for more.
I understand people's concern about putting too much stock into a player who hasn't even joined the AHL ranks yet. At this point, Kreider's NHL career is nonexistent. Some people think it's foolish to kill a potential blockbuster deal in order to keep a player who has logged as many NHL minutes as I have, but it makes sense. More than a few scouts (including many who have no affiliation with the Rangers) have marked Kreider as an absolute can't-miss prospect who will be a great not good player. The fact that he's on the no-touch list is a solid move in my book.
I am also very pleased to see Michael Del Zotto make the list as well. Del Zotto has really come into his own this season, will probably put up career numbers and has a very bright future ahead of him. Brooks goes on to say that the Rangers also don't want to move Tim Erixon, which means the Rangers will have two very solid puck moving defenseman on the team in the future. Speaking of defenseman, is anyone surprised Sather won't trade Ryan McDonagh? Me neither. Moving on.
I am a little shocked, however, not to see Derek Stepan's name on that list. Now, that doesn't mean Sather is going to sweeten the pot with Stepan, especially if he was on Sather's no-touch list earlier in the year when the general manager kicked the tires on Bobby Ryan. Still, it's a bit surprising not to see him named with everyone else.
It's also surprising to see J.T. Miller, the Rangers' first round draft choice this year, on that list. Especially since further down in the story Brooks says this:
It is believed that Sather, who is not fazed by the ramifications of adding Nash's contract that runs through 2017-18 at a cap hit of $7.8 million per year, is prepared to send Brandon Dubinsky, Christian Thomas, and perhaps 2010 first-rounder Dylan McIlrath plus a first round pick to Columbus in order to bring the 6-foot-4, 220-pound, nine-year veteran to Broadway.
To put Miller -- who has surpassed expectations significantly this year, posting 21 goals and 35 assists for 56 points in 50 OHL games -- ahead of both Christian Thomas and Dylan McIlrath speaks volumes of the youngster. It also speaks volumes that Sather believes his team is strong enough on defense to lose a solid prospect.
Honestly, this is more than just Nash. If Sather isn't willing to move these guys for Nash then he isn't going to move these guys for anyone.
That's good news to me. Especially since it keeps the core of this team together. A core that's good enough for first place in the Eastern conference.