Bryan McCabe

Rangers Acquire Bryan McCabe

The Rangers have officially announced today that they have acquired 35 year old defenseman, Byan McCabe from the Florida Panthers in exchange for center Tim Kennedy and a 2011 third round draft pick.

Despite picking up their power play performance in recent games – 7 for 23 over their last seven games – the team has long been on the search for offensive help from the blueline after youngsters Michael Del Zotto and Matt Gilroy both failed to provide an answer.

In McCabe, the team gets a player who was averaging 21 minutes of ice time, and appeared on the point for the second power play unit. His key attraction for the Blueshirts is his ability to get shots on net – averaging around two a game – and his ability to make a good first pass.

On the negative side, McCabe was used relatively sparingly by Florida in shorthanded situations and the defensive side of his game, along with footspeed has never really been a strength

The veteran defenseman had reportedly indicated that he wanted to stay in Florida, but Panthers management had not approached the pending UFA with an offer, and appeared intent to move on. McCabe waved his No Trade Clause to accept the move to New York.

McCabe is in the final year of a five year contract that carried a Cap hit of $5.75M per year. Unless he makes a substantial impression, it seems unlikely that the Rangers are looking to resign him this summer.

The price paid for the Rangers is relatively low when you consider some of the other deals that have been done for blueliners over the past couple of weeks. Glen Sather had a good deal of leverage thanks to McCabe’s no trade clause, and his reported willingness to come to New York.

Off-season Tim Kennedy largely fell victim to the current waiver system that makes it difficult for teams to recall all but the least experienced players up from the minor leagues. After being let go by the Sabres last summer, the Rangers signed him as a UFA and gave him a chance to compete for a spot.

As it turned out, the undersized winger failed to convert on his promise during the pre-season and when the Rangers were forced to make a roster decision, they elected to keep veteran Todd White on the roster, rather than Kennedy.

With the Whale, Kennedy got off to a slow start offensively, but had risen to second on the team with 42 points – 12 goals, 30 assists – at the time of the trade. The 5-10, 176 forward will likely remain in the AHL the remainder of the season, but the Panthers can elected to retain the RFA’s rights next summer.

Overall this deal is about helping the Rangers in the present. Like so many trade deadline deals, there’s likely to be little overall impact to either team going forward, but the hope will be that McCabe’s addition on the blueline might give the Rangers a little added offensive punch as they make the run to the playoffs.

To make move for the acquisition, Michael Del Zotto was returned to the Connecticut Whale of the AHL.

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