The rapidly approaching NHL trade extravaganza brings up familiar questions, at least as they have applied to the Rangers last two trade deadlines. Are the Rangers buyers or sellers? Are they in it to win, or not? Are they willing to mortgage their future or not? Questions once again the Rangers face. Time will tell their answer.
In the meanwhile, the early preview from here is they should go all in. They are built for the now, rebuild or retool, do whatever you have to do after the season. For now worry about upgrading the present roster for a run this year. In a season highlighted by inconsistency, player acquisitions might be just the impetus a veteran team needs, to rededicate themselves to putting forth all the sacrifices needed, to reach the goal they often talk about.
If its all in, the one player they should be targeting is Eric Staal, who's been down in Carolina running on half throttle for the last couple of seasons, toiling in a futile no hope situation, out of the playoffs and going nowhere if they sneak in.
At this point in his career he needs something more to play for. He understands what a season ending personal stats push, and lengthy playoff run would do to his cheque book, guaranteeing one more massive contract this summer. Staal could be a monster for the Rangers, who can provide his needed motivational stimulus. If you were to design the prototypical forward the Rangers need he would be a mirror image of Staal. Big, strong, fast, can win a face off, score, and has a edge. Adding Staal and a healthy Rick Nash, both capable of reigniting dormant scoring skills, to the Rangers top six just might be the depth needed to get back to the dance.
If Mr. Gorton can figure out how to add Staal, plus a rugged fourth line center that battles for every inch of ice, wins face offs, kills penalties, and is hard to play against, and a depth defense man the Rangers would be in excellent shape. How can Mr. Gorton add all that? If there is a will, there is always a way.