After all the dust settled on deadline day, the Rangers ending up holding their cards after acquiring Eric Staal from the Carolina Hurricanes and Chris Brown from the Washington Capitals on the 28th. Ryan Bourque and Aleksei Saarela are no longer in the Rangers' system and two second round picks of the Rangers now belong to the 'Canes, but the Rangers added a star center (who may or may not end up playing wing before all is said and done) and added a 25 year old center to their farm team.
Although losing a highly-touted prospect like Saarela and the draft picks certainly stings, the Rangers are a better hockey team than they were on February 27th before they made both of their trades.
The fact that the Rangers (and the rest of the NHL) were quiet on deadline day itself was something of a surprise. There was talk of the Rangers going after Brandon Pirri, who ended up with the Anaheim Ducks, and adding some depth in their bottom six. There was also the hope that they might make a change on the blue line that didn't involve Keith Yandle's name, but it was clear that the Rangers and Gorton were unwilling to move a first round pick and that may or may not have played a part in their inactivity today.
Still, the Rangers will have the "addition" of a healthy Rick Nash hopefully sooner rather than later and at that point we will all have a better idea of which forward ends up on the third line that we weren't expecting there before the Staal trade. Will Kreider be playing wing on the third? Will Staal be centering the third and pushing Kevin Hayes over to the wing?
J.T. Miller's breakout season perhaps helped Rangers' general manager Jeff Gorton feel more confident in his club than he was expecting to back in October. What will the Rangers look like with big Eric Staal in the lineup? We will find out tonight when the Rangers meet John Tortorella's struggling Columbus Blue Jackets.