In an interview with Team 1260 Radio in Edmonton on Thursday, the new general manager suggested that captain Shawn Horcoff and winger Ales Hemsky could be done with the club.
"I think both those players are at a similar crossroads," MacTavish told the radio station.
"Sometimes change is good for both the organization and the player, but at the same time they're valuable players and we're not in a position where we're able to move them without getting something substantial in return...I have a lot of allegiance and a lot of loyalty to 'Horc' and to Ales. I have a lot of respect for both those players. But from both those perspectives, I think the ideal scenario would be to move them on and wish them the best in their next destination."
I've already seen a few tweets (and even some comments here) about whether or not the New York Rangers should make a move for either of the two players. Let me put right here at the top that this article is purely speculation. There have been absolutely no links to the Rangers being interested in either of these two players, but since they're officially available (and the Rangers will be making moves this offseason, most likely) it's worth digging into a little.
Let me also say that the Rangers won't be making any personel decisions until Glen Sather hires a new coach. Sather is in the process of narrowing down candidates, but the team's new system depends on who he hires and the new system obviously dictates what players the Rangers would be targeting. Just something to keep in mind.
Now, onto the duo.
Hemsky has been linked to the Rangers a few times in the past. He's a prime example of a "what if" player, with the wonder being "what if he wasn't so injured." Hemsky is only 29 and he scored nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points in 38 games this year, so he's still in his prime. His best season came in 2005-2006 when he scored 19 goals and notched 58 assists for 77 points in 81 games. And while his career numbers aren't bad, his injury issues have truly hampered his career.
The past five years (starting from last year and going back) his game totals are as follows: 69, 47, 22, 72 and 74. Not exactly much consistency there. And with Hemsky being in the last year of a two-year $10-million deal, there's a lot of risk with bringing him on.
There's no doubt he would help the power play, and there's no doubt that his offense and creativity would be welcomed to the team, but there's too much risk for Hemsky right now in my opinion. Even if the Rangers do hire a more offensive coach, there are too many "what ifs" when it comes to Hemsky. Especially since the Rangers would have to give up valuable assets to get him.
As for Horcoff, the Rangers (in my humble opinion) need to be getting younger. Horcoff's better days are clearly behind him as he'll be turning 35 in September. He can still grind and give you 10 or so goals in the regular season, but he hasn't had more than 36 points in a season since 2008-2009. To me, the Rangers have a younger, better Horcoff in Ryane Clowe (if they re-sign him) so moving assets for Horcoff doesn't make much sense to me.
I think there are better options on the table for the Rangers right now.
What about you?