Brandon Dubinsky

Quiet Day For Rangers

The official NHL deadline has passed, and the Rangers will finish the season with pretty much the roster they went into the Olympic break with. The only move they made today, a switch of minor league forwards with the Detroit Red Wings involving Jordan Owens and Kris Newbury. Neither player is like to have much impact at the NHL level for their new teams, though the 28 year old Newbury has some limited NHL experience.

It means that the likes of Brandon DubinskyMatt Gilroy and Dan Girardi can now perhaps relax a little and focus on their games, while veterans Michal RozsivalWade Redden and Chris Drury will continue to earn big dollars on over-sized contracts.

In the end, it was the moves before and during the break that have reshaped the team. Sather added scoring depth with the addition of Olli Jokinen, and extra grit and toughness through the acquisitions of Brendan Prust and Jody ShelleyAlex Auld – claimed off waivers during the break – rounded out the picture by solving the question of who would back up Henrik Lundqvist in net.

There’ll be no strengthening of the blueline, despite a deadline day that saw upward of thirteen defensemen change teams. All in all, for Rangers fans it was a bit of an anti-climax.

Dreams of a sell-off of some of the few marketable assets were never going to be realized. For the most part Sather has limited himself to adding at the deadline, though this time he perhaps held a little firmer thanks to a 4-1-0 record in the last five games.

And while he doesn’t have a lot of proven depth on the blueline, rookies Corey PotterBobby Sanguinetti and Ilkka Heikkinen have all acquitted themselves pretty well in spot duty this season.

Other factors such as the ability to move veterans between Hartford and the NHL, as well as the salary cap, likely also made dealing difficult. The Rangers were in a position where they could potentially take on about another $2-3M annualized salary if they wanted, but contracts beyond this season wouldn’t have been too appealing, what with $46.4M already committed.

Don’t underestimate the challenge of integrating yet more new personnel into the line-up either, particularly just as the team seems to be building some momentum. It’s fair to say that the next four games with the Penguins, Capitals, Sabres and Devils could also have undone any value a move would’ve and made any extravagant moves look short-sighted.

Throw in the increased ratio of buyers to sellers since the league pulled back the trade deadline, and you really probably ended up with what has turned out to be the best scenario for the Rangers, no movement at all.

In the end the only thing the Rangers really gave up at this deadline were misfits Christopher Higgins and Ales Kotalik, along with a 2011 sixth round pick. In return they’ve added four players, all who’re expected to contribute going forward.

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