First off I want to thank all of you who participated in this little activity that Matt Gunning came up with. It really was a lot of fun. And big props to all of you who gave in offers and added your thoughts (including Kritikal who even made a four team proposal!). Anyway, Jim and I threw our heads together to take a look at the Rangers current situation and then we reviewed all of your offers and came to our conclusion.
The official Blueshirt Banter offer will be:
Atlanta gets: Ryan Callahan, Christopher Higgins, Bobby Sanguinetti and a conditional 1st round pick (which Atlanta only receives if Kovalchuk re-signs with the Rangers). [UPDATE by Joe Fortunato: It should be added that one of either Michal Rozsival or Wade Redden would be waived to make room for him, if it were to go through.]
Rangers get: Ilya Kovalchuk
Here is the explanation piece by piece:
Ryan Callahan: "You have to give something to get something" the old saying goes, and this is no different. If Atlanta is going to trade the face of their franchise you better believe they are going to want something big back. And while Ryan Callahan may never score 50 goals or put up 100 points he simply oozes character and can easily become the face of any franchise. I mean let's be honest here: in three years when Chris Drury is gone if the Rangers brass gave Callahan the "C" would any of you be surprised? The kid is exactly what you want in a hockey player: he leaves his heart out on the ice after evey shift, he goes to the net, scores gritty goals, hits anything that moves and has no problem throwing himself (face-first) into opposing slap-shots. The kid has the goods.
Christopher Higgins: Maybe a change of scenery would help him score a few more goals to try and help ease the loss of Kovalchuk's production. With a low cap hit and a UFA status Atlanta could probably re-sign him cheap or simply throw him away at the end of the year if he doesn't work out.
Bobby Sanguinetti: One of the best offensive-defenseman in the AHL right now and might turn into a solid puck-moving defenseman for years to come on the Atlanta blueline.
Now may I also say that Jim and I decided that the Rangers don't need Kovalchuk. He doesn't back-check, continuously abandons his defensive zone to try and get open for a break-out pass, and he makes a hell of a lot of demands for a guy who couldn't even help his team win a single playoff game when his team actually made it. With that said he is one of the premiere game-breakers in the league and would certainly help resolve the Rangers scoring problems.
If the Thrashers don't like the trade then so be it. The Rangers don't need to throw away their future for a guy who might just be a rental (especially if he really expects a 10 year 100 million dollar deal). So Jim and I didn't break the bank, and wouldn't bat an eyelash if he went elsewhere.