There's a lot of debate over whether this was a good trade or a bad trade for the Rangers, I like the pieces the Rangers got back (especially Moore) and that maybe it was time for the Slovakian Sniper to move on to greener pastures.
But we're not here to analyze the trade, that's been done to death. We're here to remember who Marian Gaborik was for the Rangers and why he was probably the best Rangers forward since Jaromir Jagr left for the KHL.
In the summer of 2009 Marian Gaborik was a free agent, the top prize of the 2009 UFA class, and Glen Sather made the now famous Scott Gomez trade to primarily make room to sign the left handed right winger to help bolster the Rangers offense.
Boy did he get off to a flying start; in 76 games in his first season in New York, Gaborik scored 42 goals and assisted on 44 others leading the Rangers in points by far that year (Vinny Prospal was a distant second with 58). While Gaborik shined in his first season, the Rangers missed the playoffs on the final day of the season, falling to the Flyers in the shootout (curse Olli Jokinen forever).
In Gaborik's second year in New York things seemed to hit a speed bump, whether it be to rumored off ice issues or due to the lingering and nagging injuries that Gaborik suffered throughout the course of the 2010-2011 season, Marian only put scored 22 goals in 62 games for the Rangers as they were bounced in the first round of playoffs by the Capitals.
In the 2011 off season the Rangers had one mission: get Gaborik a center. So Slats went out and courted UFA Brad Richards to come to New York in a move that seemed to revitalized a healthy and seemingly more comfortable Gaborik to the tune of him putting up 41 goals and 35 points helping lead the Rangers all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. In that postseason Gaby struggled but still scored the game winning goal in triple OT of Game 5 against the Washington Capitals during the Eastern Conference Semi Finals.
And while it seemed like Gaborik struggled in the playoffs (which he did), it turned out that he played a month and a half of playoff hockey with a torn rotator cuff that required surgery to fix.
So it came down to this...a shortened season with exceedingly high expectations and a slow start all came together to send Gaborik and his criminally low sh% off to Columbus where he'll regain his form and be the Gaborik that we all know and some, if not most, of us love.
As much as this is goodbye to Gaborik, this is also a hello to Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, and John Moore. Welcome to the New York Rangers, I hope the transition is a smooth one and you all have great Ranger careers, I won't judge you based on who we lost to get you. Just play your games and help the team the best you can.
I'll leave you now with a few of Gaby's best Rangers moments.
Marian Gaborik's first hat trick as a Ranger
The 4 goal game against Toronto
Gaby shoots Henrik during the All Star Game
Possibly the biggest goal Marian Gaborik scored in his Rangers career
Marian Gaborik 3OT winner 5/2/12 (via NHLVideo)
And Finally...Gaby's hat trick against the Bruins
How about for old time's sake one more:
Marián Gáborík ste Slovenského parchant
Goodbye Gaby, good luck in Columbus.