Archive for February 12, 2011

Rangers Moving on From Souray, Set Sights on Kaberle and McCabe

As the trade deadline draws near one thing is for certain for the New York Rangers, they need scoring and they need it badly.

The Rangers have now dropped six straight and the offense has looked atrocious, averaging exactly two goals a game.

The team’s superstar, Marian Gaborik, has seemingly dropped off of the face of the earth. Gaborik hasn’t scored a goal since January 24th against the Washington Capitals. After scoring 42 goals last season, he has only scored 16 goals in the 43 games he has played this year which is far below average for the five-time 30 goal scorer.

The Rangers have been relying on players like Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust to bail them out offensively but now that well has dried up and the Rangers playoff hopes are starting to die of thirst.

So with the trade deadline just two and a half weeks away the Rangers will be looking to gear up for a playoff run. The Rangers were reportedly interested in Oilers defenseman, Sheldon Souray, and were ready to trade for him before a few of the Rangers scouts reported that Souray was “Too slow for the AHL much less for the NHL”. All talks of acquiring Souray have died down and now the Rangers will turn their focus to Tomas Kaberle and Bryan McCabe.

Tomas Kaberle has been a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs for his entire 12 year career. Kaberle is not a flatout goal scorer from the blueline but he knows how to distribute the puck to his teammates. Kaberle averages 36 assists a season and is on pace for 49 assists this season. Kaberle has always been known as a powerplay quarterback but the one thing that drives Leafs fans up a wall when it comes to Kaberle is his hesitation to shoot the puck. Kaberle will most likely be on top of the Rangers shopping list over these next two weeks.

Bryan McCabe is the opposite of Tomas Kaberle, he has always been known for his ability to shoot the puck and to rack up large goal totals from the blueline. McCabe isn’t as much of an offensive threat like he was just a few years ago but he could still add quite a bit of offense to the team which, as I mentioned before, they need horribly.

The nice thing for the Rangers is the fact that both Kaberle and McCabe have contracts that expire this upcoming off-season. The Rangers will have about $15 million to spend this off-season with the current roster they have. The main problem for the Rangers is that they will need to re-sign three main pieces to their young core as Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, and Artem Anisimov all have expiring contracts and will be due for a raise.

The Rangers have recently shredded two big contracts off of the books (Rozsival and Redden) but they still have one bloated contract left and that would be the $7 million cap hit that Chris Drury carries. Chris Drury’s offense has evaporated completely and at this point of his career he is a third or fourth line player who is best suited for penalty-killing duty. The best thing for the Rangers to do is to buyout Drury’s contract this summer which would save them roughly $9 million of cap space over the next two years. Now the best case scenario is if Drury decides to retire this off-season which means they wouldn’t have to pay any of his contract on the cap, but it seems very unlikely that he will choose to do that.

Not only do the Rangers want to prepare themselves for the playoffs but they also need to look ahead to this off-season as they need to make sure that they can re-sign their young players and also have the ability to land a big fish in free agency, such as Brad Richards. The Rangers aren’t usually conservative at the trade deadline and Glen Sather is a wizard when it comes to making trades so I’m expecting him to make moves that benefit the team over the next few months of the season and that benefit them once the off-season rolls around.