The Trade: The New York Rangers sent this year's 2nd round pick and Florida's third round pick to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Ryane Clowe. The Rangers also sent a conditional pick to the Sharks. If the Rangers win two playoff series OR re-sign Clowe the Sharks get the Rangers 2nd round pick in 2014. If neither of those things happen, the Sharks get the Rangers 5th round pick in 2014.
The Player: So, Clowe is obviously having an off year. In 28 games he has just 11 points, and all of them are assists. Looking at his goal total to judge the trade is an error, however. Clowe has had three seasons where he has scored over 50 points -- including one season where he scored 62 points (in 75 games) -- and last year he went 17-28-45 in 76 games. There are rumors that his shoulder is bothering him, there are rumors that he needs a change of scenery, but 29-year-old players don't go from the past four years he has had to nothing in one season.
If you don't think Clowe can find his offense, well, I disagree with you, but even if he doesn't there are so many things he brings to the table the Rangers desperately lack. Size, grit, toughness and the willingness to die for his teammates -- if you don't include his offense. When Clowe is playing his normal hockey, he's a second-line player. This year, he'll probably see minutes between the second and third line. Which is exactly what the Rangers need.
Clowe is an immediate upgrade over every single bottom six player right now. It's not even close. No, he doesn't have the potential Chris Kreider or J.T. Miller possess, but right now he's exactly what the doctor ordered.
You would love for the Rangers to be in a better situation in terms of the standings, but you can't tell me Clowe doesn't make this team that much better.
The Debate: OK, here's the debate. Did the Rangers give up too much? Should they have even given up picks this year?
The Rangers may or may not have felt like they needed to take this risk. Without a first round pick the Rangers didn't have much of a safety net if this season went to Hell. Now they have virtually no safety net. I wouldn't however, count Glen Sather out of getting the Rangers back into the first or second round. He has a few assets to dangle, and something has to give (more on this below). It's just a matter of if it happens today or at the draft.
The Future: There are reports the Rangers are already interested in re-signing Clowe. But that move only works if the Rangers make some room. Brian Boyle and Taylor Pyatt combined might clear enough space for the Rangers to bring him in (along with some other numbers coming off the cap -- like Michael Sauer), but the Rangers have big-time names coming up on the RFA block.
Andrew Gross speculated another move could come as soon as Tuesday. As of this writing that didn't happen, but there has to be something in the works. The Rangers need the cap space and they'll need the flexibility. Something is happening, it's just a matter of when.
Thoughts on this?