The New York Rangers have very quietly put together a nice little stretch their past 10 games. In that span, the Rangers are 7-2-1, including 3-0 in their last three games and 2-0 through the first two games of this four-game homestand.
Nothing quells trade rumors quite like success. By the same token, nothing stirs up trade rumors quite like failure or a team not reaching expectations.
When a team is succeeding and playing well the flaws are usually masked by the wins. Little problems aren't even worth mentioning while bigger problems are painted over with thick strokes because "the team is winning so it's obviously not that big of a problem." Until a team loses that is, and then even the smallest problems are worth of long, thought-out solutions that (usually) require personnel changes and roster moves.
The Rangers are a pretty good example of this. We've gone from serious speculation about the Rangers needing more depth and whether or not they should sacrifice picks or prospects for it, to Michael Del Zotto being moved, to the ever-important decision about Dan Girardi (more on this in a minute) to, well, nothing at all, really. Amazing what a couple of wins can do.
Is Dan Girardi On The Trading Block?
It's been a week or so since this was published but the point still remains the same. Should the Rangers think about moving their warrior defenseman despite the team's success?
Anyway, with the Rangers' recent success you should probably expect for the trade rumors to grind to a halt. The Del Zotto rumors are mostly gone, and the defenseman has actually started to turn a corner and is rebounding nicely (although that doesn't mean the team isn't still talking about moving him). The Rangers are reportedly still scouting the Colorado Avalanche but those rumors have also started to sink below the surface. Right now things are working for the Rangers. Rick Nash, Henrik Lundqvist, Derick Brassard, John Moore, Del Zotto, Derek Stepan, Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin are all improving. Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, Ryan McDonagh and Brad Richards are staying the course. So is Cam Talbot. Things are going pretty well.
So trade rumors start to slow down. General managers aren't kicking as many tires because the prices go up the more a team succeeds, and then as a result sourced insiders don't hear about as many "talkings" (I use the phrase "talkings" because most of the time rumors are just that, two general managers talking) and they don't get released.
Dan Girardi, however, is a special case. The Rangers have a big decision to make when it comes to Girardi. Are they going to risk keeping him long-term, or move him for a bigger haul now to secure the future. To be honest with you, these new-look New York Rangers are in a completely different stratosphere than the team that struggled during the nine-game homestand. How much of that has to do with the resurgence of Nash and Lundqvist? A lot. Are they Cup contenders as presently constructed, playing like they have been the past 10 games? I'm not sure, but there's a lot of good teams they need to go through to get there (mostly Pittsburgh and Boston).
So while the little things might calm down, Girardi is still the center of attention. He's an UFA at the end of the year, a trade chip the Rangers haven't had for years. He would be a true help to any contending team, and despite the Rangers' recent success the Anaheim Ducks -- who were mentioned to be in on Girardi a few weeks ago -- have come back knocking for him again.
Is it worth it for the Rangers to move him when he's quietly slid back into form (along with the team)? If the brass does decide they're legit Cup contenders should they still move him because the haul will probably be a king's ransom and set them up for the future?
The Rangers need to be smart about Girardi. They need to make the right decision. And if Glen Sather and the brass don't handle this right they might regret it for years. Sometimes not making a move is the right thing to do. Personally, I think that would be something of a disaster here. Especially is his value is as high as some have reported it to be (although that TSN trade doesn't nearly move the needle enough for Girardi in my book).
This won't be easy. Good thing it's not my call.
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