The trade speculation surrounding Marian Gaborik is being fueled by a variety of things. To be honest, there have been "trade Gaborik" birds chirping since the second year of his contract in New York, where he only scored 22 goals despite scoring 41 the year before. But recently, the machine has reached a fever-pitch roar, sometimes so overwhelming that it's the only thing you hear after a game, a mistake or a loss.
Unfortunately for Gaborik, his game isn't here this year. In a way it's been highlighted as one of the main reasons this team has suffered. To a point, that's fair, but Gaborik isn't the only problem on this team, nor is he the only one who should bear blame.
We all had a good laugh a few weeks ago at Bruce Garrioch when he speculated that the Rangers were shopping Gaborik around the league for grit. Grit? Why in the world would the Rangers trade Gaborik for grit? He's a superstar, and elite (yes, elite) player in this league who can demand a whole hell of a lot more than just grit from another team. He's Marian Gaborik.
But while Garrioch insinuating that Gaborik would be moved for grit was a foolish attempt for more page views, the idea of trading Gaborik isn't foolish.
He's in the second-to-last year of his contract. With the way things have gone this year and with the cap being an unknown, but lower figure, it's very likely the Rangers won't be retaining Marian Gaborik when his contract is over. That's sports. Sometimes it's a business. Sometimes what you want and what you need are two different things.
The Gaborik situation is a special one. The Rangers won't be limited to just trading with the "sellers" on the market. Gaborik can help a team now, he's not a true rental, either, since he's signed through next year.
In his "30 Thoughts" column last week, Elliotte Friedman had this to say about the Corey Perry situation:
[Trade Him] This is a brutal choice. If you're trading Corey Perry months before unrestricted free agency, you're not getting a ton -- unless you can somehow create a bidding war for his services.
If you don't trade him, you risk losing both Justin Schultz (last year) and now Corey Perry for nothing.
Other GMs are not envious of Murray, because of the added complication: Anaheim looks like a legit Stanley Cup contender. In that position, you're adding, not subtracting. Nothing destroys a dressing room more than an organization that "gives up" when it has a chance to win.
Here's where Gaborik fits in nicely (again, just speculating). If the Ducks moved Perry for Gaborik they wouldn't be "giving up." They would be adding an elite sniper to a team with Stanley Cup aspirations. If nothing else (I understand the two play a different game) it almost makes the trade a wash. Anaheim gets to solve their Perry situation, and they also bring in Gaborik for this year's playoff run and next year and get a chance to try and bring him back if they want.
I'm not saying the Rangers should go for Perry and dangle Gaborik, by the way. Is that an option? Of course it is, everything is an option at this point. The point I'm trying to make is that Gaborik can help any team right now. And his return might help the Rangers as well.
The noise you hear about trading Gaborik isn't just coming from the fans. More and more media members are reporting the Rangers are quietly shopping Gaborik. Andrew Gross also speculated the same thing. When the whispers are reaching the beat reporters (and not coming from rumor-spinners like Garrioch) you know there's merit.
When there's smoke, there's usually fire.
No one said this situation was going to be easy. The Rangers have no offense as it is, and while trading Gaborik for picks, quality prospects and bottom-six depth, that doesn't do anything more than replace a top-flight winger for some depth on the bottom of the roster.
Gaborik can, obviously, pick up his play and make the Rangers forget about ever thinking of trading him. But, then again, some of his value is that he's not a true rental. The acquiring team will have him for one more year in addition to this one.
Those in the know have been saying the Rangers were quietly shopping Gaborik for a few weeks now. As I've said before, I don't move Gaborik unless I'm getting top picks and prospects back or another very good young player already making an impact in the NHL. Gaborik is a superstar, he should be traded as one, too.
I smell smoke.
Maybe there's fire.