The NHL All-Star game is this weekend, and the Daily News talks about the Rangers’ only representative in the game: Henrik Lundqvist. The fourth year goaltender comes into the game with the third most wins in the league, and a 1.85 GAA in January. This will be Lundqvist’s first appearance in the game, despite having been nominated for three consecutive Vezina trophies through his first three seasons.
Larry Brooks meanwhile focuses on the ever present Cap problem, pointing out the Rangers can realistically only take on a contract of about $2M face value…unless they can do something with some of the players they have sitting on the bench.
While no doubt the Rangers have put themselves into a poor Cap position, I have to say that some of Brooks’ points are a little off the mark. He seems to want to clear the bench of all three healthy scratches…which is fine on paper, but beyond those three (and perhaps Artem Anisimov who is yet to suit up in an NHL game), the Rangers have little depth at forward. Moving one of those players probably makes sense, but unless they’re adding some depth (and he suggests that Bill Guerin would be a good option…too bad the Rangers and Islanders are about as likely to make a trade as the Palestinians and Israelis are to make a long last peace accord before the deadline).
As for the things the Rangers “need”: A power forward and a physical defenseman…well there’s probably twenty or so other teams out there who are looking for those things, meaning the price for playing is going to be stratospheric.
Since the league moved the trade deadline back (they’ve adjusted it back a little bit since) it means that there are more teams in contention for the few players on offer, and so those few teams that are out of contention get to ask for a high premium on the players they are willing to trade. In some ways, it’s probably just as well the Rangers can’t make any moves (a-la Pittsburgh last year, who acquired Marian Hossa, but are still struggling to overcome the loss of several depth players).