By: Jonathan Kovacs
There has only been one trade since the last update by Eric Bancker, but this one is worth mentioning. The Pittsburgh Penguins traded away Alex Goligoski, their talented young defenseman who has been a solid player so far in his young career to the Dallas Stars. The Stars sent promising winger James Neal and former 1st round pick in the ’05 draft, Matt Niskanen. I’d say the Penguins got the better deal here, Neal is having a good year tallying 39 points in 59 games up to this point. Niskanen isn’t bad either, he is young and still has some upside. I’m not counting out Goligoski either, but Neal has the potential to be a superstar, consider this one a win for the Ray Shero and the Pens.
Things can’t get much worse for the New York Rangers right now. They put together a half-hearted effort, until the 3rd period, this afternoon against the Flyers and Marian Gaborik went down with and undisclosed injury which turned out to be a concussion.
The Rangers were able to score first against the Flyers when Wotjek Wolski got one past Brian Boucher but the Rangers shutdown after that and let the Flyers take it to them.
The Rangers came alive in the 3rd period and looked like a completely different team and they threw everything they could at the net but in the end it just wasn’t enough to beat Boucher and the Flyers. Boucher was phenomenal today and out-dueled Henrik Lundqvist. Does that make you cringe Rangers fans?
The Rangers can’t seem to score as they have only scored over three goals just five times since they beat Toronto 7-0 on January 19th, which is a 13 game span.
Henrik Lundqvist has also been below average as he has allowed soft goal after soft goal, including a couple today. Lundqvist has lost confidence in himself and it’s showing and when this team isn’t scoring, like they haven’t been for the past five years, they can usually rely on him to shut the door and give them a chance but it hasn’t happened too often lately.
So with the trade deadline a week away, what do the Rangers do?
They obviously need scoring and Bryan McCabe is being looked at as a possible powerplay quarterback for the Rangers.
Filip Kuba and Chris Neil have been mentioned from the Ottawa Senators but neither one can fulfill the Rangers need for scoring at this point.
Brad Richards is off of the table now that he recently suffered a concussion so the Rangers most likely will not pursue him until the off-season.
At this point Glen Sather needs to do something and fast because the Rangers are sinking rather quickly and are about to find themselves outside of the playoff race which at this point may be a good thing with the way they have played because they don’t stand a chance of winning a seven-game series.
Most Ranger fans are calling for Gaborik to be traded but I’m sure they will all break their ankles when he starts scoring again because they will be forced to jump off of the “Trade Gaborik” bandwagon. Last time I checked the guy is a two-time 40 goal scorer, one of which was last year when he lit the lamp 42 times.
The Rangers are now showing their true identity, a rough and tough team that can out muscle you but not out score you. They are the sixth youngest team in the NHL and they aren’t Stanley Cup bound just yet. They teased us earlier in the season with the amazing run that they had but injuries and inconsistent play have helped to show that this team just isn’t ready for a deep playoff run. They still need to shred contracts, (Drury), and continue to develop their young talent so until then they just need to focus their sights on making the playoffs and they need to do that without jeopardizing their future. The playoffs are a great benchmark for this young team and it will keep the fan base happy, for now.