NHL Trade Deadline: A Deeper Look At The Marian Gaborik Trade

Christopher Pasatieri

A look at why the Rangers moved the struggling sniper and how it positions the Rangers to be a better team

The Rangers traded away Marian Gaborik (along with Blake Parlett and Steven Delisle) to the Columbus Blue Jackets for centerman Derick Brassard, rugged winger Derek Dorsett, defenseman John Moore, and a 6th round pick. Some of us felt this deal coming and are pleased, others are in shock. I aim to explain why I think the Rangers made this move and why we should be excited about the newest New York Rangers.

The logical, calculating way to look at this trade goes as follows:

The Rangers just turned a 31 year old injury-prone, struggling goal scorer into four assets and opened up valuable cap space that will help keep key restricted free agents like Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan, and Ryan McDonagh in New York for years to come. Marian Gaborik had a $7.5 million cap hit on the books until the end of next year and it can be debated whether or not he consistently played like a player that was worth that kind of money. In addition to the four assets coming back from Columbus the Rangers also freed up nearly $2 million in cap space.

Rangers Receive (Cap Hits)

Blue Jackets Receive (Cap Hits)

Derick Brassard

Derek Dorsett

John Moore

$3,200,000

$1,633,333

$965,000 (EL)

Marian Gaborik

Blake Parlett

Steven Delisle

$7,500,000

(Non-roster player)

(Non-roster player)

Total

$5,798,333

Total

$7,500,000

To anyone who has watched Gaborik's play and role with the Rangers this year this trade should not come as a complete shock. Gaborik was moved away from his natural position at right wing, he was benched, he was moved to third and even the fourth line and he was struggling to find his offense after a solid start to the season. It is no secret that there was not a lot of chemistry with head coach John Tortorella and his style of play with Marian Gaborik. Tortorella's tactics to motivate Gaborik and light a fire in his heart never seemed to work and the ultra-defensive and conservative system in New York was directly opposed to a system that would use Gaborik and his skillset effectively. It wouldn't be unfair to say that Gaborik was mishandled by the coach but it is also important to recognize that whether or not Gaborik would make a positive impact on any given game could be determined by flipping a coin.

If this trade was done one year from now with the Rangers in the same position they are now we would all be exuberant with how good it was to get something for Gaborik instead of just watching him leave via free agency. His value is higher now than it ever will be a year from now when he would be a pure deadline "rental" to a competitive team. What Glen Sather and the Rangers managed to do was bring in a promising young defenseman, a valuable bottom six role player, a young center, some cap room, and a 6th round pick to stop playing the "waiting game" with Marian Gaborik.

The Rangers were tired of waiting for Gaborik to find his game, waiting for him to get seriously injured (again), waiting for him to click with his coach, and waiting for him to develop significant chemistry with the center-icemen on the team.

What we should ask ourselves is whether or not the assets the Rangers got in the deal are better than what they could have potentially found in the free agent market two years from now with the cap space freed up with Gaborik coming off the books. We also have to ask if the club could afford to wait on a move like this if it was clear that the team wasn't going to bring Gaborik back. It is hard to answer those questions with any certainty but it would be a tall task for the Rangers to bring in as many bodies that can go right into the lineup as they managed to do in the trade. In addition to a late pick and a little more wiggle-room in cap space, this trade gives the Rangers three young, affordable players that directly address the lack of depth on this team.

I am not going to lie to you- I was shocked when I first heard that the Rangers dealt Gabby. Now that the shock has worn off a bit and I have been able to digest and analyze the move I think I am starting to not only understand the deal, I'm also starting to like it. It is my opinion that Gaborik will find his game and scoring touch in Columbus' less conservative style of play but it also my opinion that this was a great time to sell on Gaborik while he still demanded the kind of package the Rangers got from Columbus.

The biggest and most understandable concern that I have heard regarding the Gaborik trade is, "where the #$!@ are the goals going to come from?" In my opinion, Gaborik represented 25-45 goals a year. It is no secret that the Rangers have struggled to score, they are currently the lowest scoring team in the league, and losing that many goals is something that should seriously concern us. Where are we going to replace those goals? Hopefully almost all of them can be found in the several young sticks that are currently on the team or are in the system. There is a lot of potential to be tapped into in goal scoring when it comes to Kreider, Stepan, Miller, and Hagelin. Whatever the kids don't produce we can hope some of the newfound depth can produce, especially recent acquisition Ryane Clowe who is supposedly in talks to sign an extension and stay in New York.

Signing Gaborik was an immense gamble that the Rangers took in 2009 given his fragility and injury history but he turned out to be, in my opinion, a smart gamble. Gaborik scored 114 goals in 255 games as a Ranger. Some of us will remember Gaborik for being streaky, fragile, and inconsistent while others will remember him being exciting, dynamic, and blessed with mesmerizing speed and a world-class shot. The truth about Gaborik was that he was all of the above as a Ranger. It is certainly going to be awkward seeing him play in our division next year with the other half-dozen former-Rangers that are currently on the Blue Jackets roster but I, for one, will not be booing him when I see him step onto the ice in a Blue Jackets jersey.

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