Well, where to begin?
Why don't we start here: The Marian Gaborik trade was inevitable. Say what you will about Gaborik -- and honestly, I have nothing but good things to say about him -- but he was going to get moved eventually. His cap hit, the Rangers (accurate) fear of not being able to re-sign him after his contract ends next year and his major slump this year all contributed to the decision. I don't buy that he's had a bad relationship with John Tortorella his entire career. Things have been fine until this season, when I will admit there seemed to be some fractures. Make no mistake, Tortorella had a say (how big is the question) on this move.
But the bigger implication of this move is cap flexibility. The New York Rangers have a good amount of cap space now, which when paired with some expiring contracts, will give the team the ability to take care of some key players over the next two years. Those players? Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh, Henrik Lundqvist, Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller and Carl Hagelin. Keeping those guys is vital to this team's success in the future.
I've seen a ton of comparisons from this trade and the one the Rangers pulled to get Rick Nash over the summer. There are similarities in the structure of the deal, but I disagree that it's exactly the same.
This is a "three coins to the dollar" trade for the Ranger for sure. The only question is what type of coins they are. They could be nickels (all three end up being busts), quarters (three solid players) or you could have gold coins if the player really flourishes and makes the whole thing worth it (Derick Brassard and John Moore are the guys to keep an eye on here).
Brassard is a younger, cheaper Brandon Dubinsky with much more offensive upside (even if he hasn't shown it yet in his career). He's a big body, a fantastic skater, great vision and possesses a heck of a shot (although our friends over at The Cannon say he doesn't use his shot as much as he should). He brings the team some depth down the middle -- which was needed -- and he comes in with a cheaper price tag. He showed what he can do in the win over the Penguins, but that has to be more consistent from him.
Moore is a big-time prospect within the Blue Jacket's system. This is from our friends over at Jacket Cannon:
This guy we may regret moving. Johnny boy has great wheels, a good transition pass, and now and then sneaks in a pretty nasty shot. He was learning the NHL game very well, but he got jumped in the depth chart by guys like Prout and Erixon. That said, I wouldn't be shocked if he ends up a solid top four performer for you as he matures.
Derek Dorsett is basically a younger, cheaper Brandon Prust. He's had a big leadership voice in the Blue Jackets locker room, and he's done a bit of everything for them in terms of the intangibles. He kills penalties, is good in his own zone, fights and will be good for 5-10 goals a year.
Is it a risky move? Yes, it carries some risk. But it was needed, in my opinion, to keep the core of this club together. It was also needed for depth (see below).
In the end, this move and the Ryane Clowe trade was fueled by a few different factors. I refuse to believe this is a trade that signifies the Rangers waving the white flag. It's not.
I speculated earlier in the year that if the Rangers were going to make some moves at the deadline it would be for some players who can help the team both this year and in the future. Both of the Rangers moves do just that -- assuming, of course, the Rangers choose to keep Clowe.
The Rangers are a deeper team than they were three days ago. They have more grit, toughness and they have skill, too. In the end, this version of the New York Rangers will be tougher to play against, the battle level will be higher and they'll crash the net more. Those things are really important, especially in a division like this. They also happen to be primary reasons why the Rangers were losing games earlier in the year.
All season we've talked about the lack of a battle level. We've talked about the Rangers inability to be tough to play against. They've gotten knocked off the puck too easily, they're not tough enough in the corners. These two moves fix those problems, they do. The Rangers are tough now, they do have skill (even if some of you are overlooking it). Fighting doesn't make that much of a difference in the scoreboard in my opinion, but toughness absolutely does. Battle level absolutely does. Girt does, too.
The Rangers are better today -- in my opinion -- than they were at the beginning of the year (last night's result notwithstanding). They might even be deeper than last year's team. That still remains to be seen. But the fact of the matter is the Rangers were missing some key elements, they've added those at the expense of an elite sniper who couldn't find his game this season. But goal have been an issue for two years, and moving Gaborik puts a lot of pressure on the new guys to score them.
I don't doubt that Gaborik will be back to his old form in Columbus. I don't doubt that he'll eclipse the 40-goal mark next year. I don't deny that he was a great player. I loved him. I still do. I'll always root for Gaborik. But you have to realize something: He wasn't getting it done this season. It was a major reason why the team was struggling as much as it was. Those things happen. It's hockey. But with all the facts involved, I just didn't see the marriage staying together.
This was a necessary move by the Rangers. I think the Rangers got good value back for Gaborik. They might have gotten great value back, but it will take time before we can answer those questions.