Trade Deadline Survival Guide

Prepare yourselves

The trade deadline can be a difficult time for any fan. Last season, the New York Rangers traded a lot of players before the deadline, including former captain Ryan McDonagh and Rick Nash. The aftermath of that deadline was essentially a superstorm of emotions for most Rangers fans. Where once there was an increasingly desperate yearly odyssey to win a Cup, there are now only questions. So many questions.

How long will this rebuild take? What the hell do I do with this McDonagh jersey that Stacey got me for my birthday? I wonder what Stacey is up to now? Is she still working at Sonic? Wait, aren’t they making a Sonic live-action movie? What kind of god would allow such a thing?

They were dark times, my friends. Dark times indeed.

In an effort to help us all make it through this year’s trade deadline — which is sure to be filled with the kind of pain that can best be described as Tom Hanks’ screams of panic and remorse when Wilson the volleyball began to slowly drift away from his raft in the movie Castaway — I’ve decided to put together a trade deadline survival guide. But, before we go any further, let’s make sure we’re all ready for what’s coming with this pleasant flow chart.

If you’re still with me, let’s talk about getting through this year’s deadline.

Remember what else is out there

It’s important to remember that the Rangers aren’t the only big sellers this year. It’s even more important to remember that there are bigger names on the market than Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello, and Adam McQuaid. If Artemi Panarin, Mark Stone, and Matt Duchene are the Tickle Me Elmos, the Rangers are selling assets that are more like Gigglepuss Grover or something. And McQuaid is something like Threaten-us-with-Tetanus-Oscar the Grouch.

Now, that doesn’t mean the Rangers can’t or won’t bring in a nice crop of picks and prospects, but don’t be surprised if some of the fruit has bruises. Teams aren’t going to want to give up their versions of Vitali Kravtsov or Filip Chytil for Kevin Hayes. No general manager wants to be the guy who gave up Filip Forsberg for Martin Erat.

A bedfellow for Zuccarello

Zuccarello is about as beloved as a player can be in New York, and that means that dealing him — which is definitely the right thing to do — is going to hurt like the dickens. The rock salt that seems destined to be poured into that pending wound is the fact that the Rangers might not get a whole lot for him.

What exactly does that mean? Well, Bob McKenzie thinks he could go for a 2nd round pick and a prospect. Did you feel that? That lurch in your stomach? Yeah, that’s what we’re talking about here. The team that acquires Zuccarello is getting a productive, undersized top-six winger as a rental. They aren’t going to see him as the only reason some of us still have any faith in humanity.

The silver lining here is that we’ll almost certainly get to see some more of Mats Zuccarello in the playoffs. Heck, we might even see him make a return to the Stanley Cup Final. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Every pick matters

Now that the Rangers have the 7th round of the 2020 Draft in the bag — seriously, how the hell did Gorton get something for Cody McLeod and Marek Mazanec — it’s time to focus on the first few rounds of the 2019 Draft.

If the Rangers can only get a handful of 2nd round picks and some prospects at this year’s deadline, it will still be more than nothing. And “nothing” is exactly what Jeff Gorton risks to be left with if he doesn’t move the Rangers valuable UFAs and they are allowed to hit free agency on July 1.

Joe has said countless times on Bantering the Blueshirts that every draft pick is essentially a lottery ticket. And, as much as it pains me to admit this, Joe has a point. The Rangers are currently in the business of buying lottery tickets, which is to say that they want as many swings at the piñata filled with prospects as they can get. That’s something we all need to keep in mind at this year’s deadline, even if it’s tempting to fantasize what the Rangers could be getting if Brian Boyle brought back a 2nd round pick.

Don’t get bamboozled

The internets are filled with tricksters, trolls, tomfools, and total dicks who enjoy nothing more than skylarking by spreading misinformation on deadline day. So remember to double and then triple check where breaking news and scoops are coming from before you start pouring gasoline around your room to the tune of “The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel.

Lest ye forget, Cat Silverman recently tweeted a handy dandy little checklist. If you’re prone to putting holes in your drywall, you should definitely consider printing out Cat’s tweet a couple hundred times and putting up some temporary wallpaper.

Don’t get hoodwinked. It’s no fun.

Remember to have fun

We all know how painful this deadline can and likely will be, but it can also be fun. Well, I suppose a lot of that will depend on your definition of fun, but you get the idea.

After the deadline, we’re sure to see David Quinn give the team’s youngsters more ice time and more meaningful roles. Heck, we might even see him dress eight or nine defensemen just to keep us guessing. He sure is a handsome rascal, isn’t he?

In addition to watching how violently the Wolf Pack spiral after Lias Andersson and a few other kids are called up after the deadline, we’ll also have a fresh crop of newly-acquired prospects to learn about. Just think about all of the three-year-old scouting reports we’ll read on EliteProspects player profile pages and all of the old Corey Pronman articles we’ll read together! Oh, it’s going to be a hoot, just you wait and see.

Regardless of what happens, remember to be civil and good to each other. If you hate this time of year, take comfort in the knowledge that it will all be over soon. If you love the drama and chaos of the deadline, it certainly looks like we’re in for a good one.