This all seems very Glen Sather, if we're being honest.
Not that the New York Rangers' old general manager didn't have his savvy moments on the trading block -- he has had quite a few of them, actually. This rumor, however, screams "square peg in a round hole" and that was something the old guard was very guilty of sometimes.
Let's start with where all this is coming from. According to multiple reports Patrick Marleau would be willing to waive his no trade clause (and might have actually actually asked for a trade) to come to the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and Rangers. The Rangers always seem to be on these lists -- as they should be; New York is a very desirable destination and the Rangers are a winning team. These things matter.
The New York Rangers, Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings would all be locations that the Sharks' all-time leading scorer would deem acceptable.
The Rangers have had scouts at the last two Sharks games, including Doug Risebrough on Tuesday night against the Islanders.
It's unclear at this time whether Marleau is pushing for the move, or whether the team initiated it, although TSN's Bob McKenzie reported that it's "more likely that Marleau asked [San Jose] to explore trade possibilities to select teams."
This rumor has picked up steam because, as noted above, the Rangers have been scouting the Sharks for a few games right as this started to happen. The two teams have long been linked to a blockbuster move -- although for Joe Thornton not Marleau -- and this is just another bit of smoke to add to an "is there actually a fire here?" situation.
The real question that comes from this rumor is this: Why?
I'm not sure this makes any sense for the Rangers unless Dan Girardi is going the other way. And even then you're just continuing to add to a log jam of forwards -- although it would be very worth it under those circumstances.
Even outside of the money issues -- Marleau is worth a $6.6-million cap this year and next while the Rangers have just a little over a million dollars in cap space -- is a guy like Marleau even needed? Yeah he is an upgrade to a unit that's already scoring, brings some true possession and is a leader -- but do the Rangers really NEED to give up assets for that right now? The Rangers issue isn't scoring, it's keeping the puck and keeping the other team from getting their chances. If anything you can make an argument the Rangers need to be exploring defensive trade options rather than offensive ones.
There's another angle to this, too. Just because the Rangers are scouting San Jose doesn't mean they're actually interested in Marleau. This rumor might just be the result of a perfect storm; Rangers scouting someone other than Marleau while things get crazy because Marleau might have asked for a trade while they were there. There are a lot of ifs and maybes here, but it's not totally unforeseeable to see the two teams at least talk about it.
Forget the money and the fit for a moment. The logistics of what it would take to get him vs. what he would bring to the table is imbalanced. Moving a guy like J.T. Miller, Oscar Lindberg, Jesper Fast or even Emerson Etem (all of this is my speculation of what it might cost) is an immediate nonstarter to me. You don't move youth with potential for an aging scorer who could start breaking down tomorrow for all we know. Not unless you have to.
Marleau's numbers are good and his underlying numbers are good as well, but the Rangers have already "gone for it" two times in as many years and it's not worth mortgaging the future to try and fit a square peg into a round hole. The Rangers actually have a pretty legitimate stock of young players on the team or guys waiting in the wings to help keep this window open as long as possible; moving them for one final shot shouldn't be in the cards. And again, even talking about that option feels like a very Glen Sather move rather than a Jeff Gorton one.
This Rangers team has not hit its peak yet. At least we hope. Their top guns haven't really started humming and the team has utilized an over-reliance of their elite goaltenders to bail them out of bad stretches of possession. If the Rangers actually find their game with this group they're going to be remarkably dangerous -- defensive issues included.
To rip that up -- or to throw a grenade into the farm system -- to bring in Marleau doesn't scream rationality to me. If the Rangers are moving some of their spare parts to do it then that's fine but my guess is it's going to take more than the Rangers should be willing to part with.
Sometimes when there is smoke there is fire. I'm not too sure there is actually any fire here, though. This doesn't seem very Jeff Gorton at all.
And since he's at the helm, it's his opinion and his alone that matters.