No Big Move is Right Move for Rangers at Trade Deadline
For maybe the first time in his tenure as Ranger GM, Glen Sather refused to jump at a big name whilst, in turn, selling out his club’s future. Rick Nash is still in Columbus. The Rangers are still intact. And that was unequivocally the best move. @JoeBianchino
The NHL trade deadline has come and passed. Did you notice? I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t, the deadline whispered by today, with the anticipated monster deal involving Columbus’ dynamic goal-scorer Rick Nash having never materialized. The Eastern Conference leading Rangers had been pegged a front runner for Nash’s services, but found the Blue Jackets’ asking price – rumored to be a combination of Ranger youngsters Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan and Michael Del Zotto – too high a cost. For New York, a team who’s biggest weakness appears to be their ability to lose games 1-0, the inability to add a goal scorer is a small disappointment, but in the long run, it was, without a doubt, the right move.
The bottom line is the Rangers don’t need Rick Nash. Point wise the Rangers are already the third best team in the NHL. They’re playing the best hockey they’ve played in a decade, and tearing through the Eastern Conference to the tune of a seven point lead on second place, and a 14 point lead on third. There’s a buzz and excitement about this team, a fervor they’ve generated with a roster that at year’s start had only five players over the age of thirty. With an average age of 27.1 years, the Rangers are the fourth youngest team in the league, and the only of those four to head into Monday’s action a playoff team. Essentially, they don’t need Rick Nash because not only is this team already a Cup contender, but with such a wealth of young talent, the Rangers have finally built a bright and promising future – finally being the key word to Ranger fans.
For too long the reign of Glen Sather has been without any such future. Or more appropriately, for too long the future of the Rangers has been consistently bleak, beholden to the bloated contract of an underperforming star whose best days were likely behind him – sorry Scott Gomez. For too long, this front office has sold its youth for the promise of a 30 year old shell of his former self. Think of the Rangers as a charity whose beneficiaries were once great players in need of absurd contracts that comically overstated their value, and while Rick Nash is certainly still a brilliant player, Ranger fans everywhere had to be worried that the club was walking this path once again.
But they didn’t. They understood that at 23 and 21 years old respectively, Carl Hagelin and Derek Stepan are already impressive around the net, and that while at this point in their careers they may not be fit to tape Nash’s stick, but give them time to mature around savvy veterans like Marion Gaborik and Brad Richards, and the sky may very well be their limit. The Rangers have stumbled into what every team wants: championship caliber youth. That’s a gift you just don’t give up, and credit the Ranger front office for understanding that the right choice isn’t always the flashy one – a lesson learned the hard way by the guy from the end of Indiana Jones III. In the end, Glen Sather and company chose…wisely. Apparently the win column isn’t all that has changed for the better in New York.