If we're being honest, Keith Yandle is everything New York Rangers fans have begged for over the years. He's also everything the Rangers had tried (and failed) to acquire.
And now, with under a week to go until the trade deadline, the Rangers might have to move him because of their own folly. It's a situation that, if not handled properly or in time, will spiral into forced decisions come this summer. This article isn't about that, though. This article is about a decision that HAS been staring the Rangers in the face for an entire year, and it's going to be made in the next seven days.
The Rangers, according to reports, have removed Yandle from the trading block and seem poised to go all in again this year. In a Reddit ask me anything, Elliotte Friedman had a few responses about the Rangers, notably this one:
I think the Rangers go for it. Did you see Lundqvist last night? He's on.
In an article for the New York Post, Larry Brooks (the king of getting the right answer the wrong way) insinuated that Yandle has just started to look like the dynamic player the Rangers acquired when they made the deal last year. How wrong that is aside, Brooks also said the following:
Multiple sources report keen interest in the 29-year-old, much of it coming from the Western Conference. Dallas has been dogging the Rangers for weeks. The Blueshirts perhaps would be able to get the Stars' immensely talented 20-year-old winger Valeri Nichushkin as part of the return package. Such a possibility would surely tempt Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton.
But league sources also say the Blueshirts are no longer signaling Yandle's availability. No kidding. The Rangers, 7-1-1 in their past nine and 13-5-2, instead appear to be preparing to bulk up for another run at the Stanley Cup that has eluded them since 1994. Subtracting Yandle from the equation would not seem to be in the team's immediate best interests.
These two paragraphs exist in two different realities. The first paragraph exists in the realm of the Rangers not being able to keep Yandle this summer because of a few bad contracts and getting a premium on him now. The acquisition of Nichushkin would certainly ease the impact of losing Anthony Duclair, another 1st round pick and John Moore. It would also give the Rangers a cost-controlled forward who would bolster the top six (maybe as soon as next year) and could turn into something very special.
The second paragraph exists in the "perception is reality" realm of the Rangers thinking they can contend, rather than if they should contend. There's a much longer story in the works on this right now, so I won't give too much away, but I think there's enough holes in this ship that pushing all your chips into the middle of the table isn't wise.
I have to assume that the Rangers are leaning heavily towards keeping Yandle past the deadline for a chance at the Cup, and are willing to risk losing him for nothing. But if your ears didn't perk up at the idea of potentially being able to snag someone like Nichushkin for a player who most likely won't be on Broadway next year, then I don't know what to tell you.
As I've maintained: Yandle's stay value is so much higher than his trade value, but making sure you get something for an expiring asset isn't being a bad general manager. Even if you have to be honest with yourself about the state of the team in the first place.