Rangers

Hartnett: Rangers Will Suffer If Sather Doesn’t Strike Right Deal

Rangers Have The Pieces To Land Either Nash Or Ryan But Can't Be Desperate
Rick Nash (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) | Bobby Ryan (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Rick Nash (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) | Bobby Ryan (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

New York Rangers
Upcoming Games

Buy Rangers Tickets Full Schedule
Saturday Dec 27
vs. Devils
Saturday Jan 3
vs. Sabres
Tuesday Jan 13
vs. Islanders
Rangers Central
Shop for Rangers Gear
Buy Rangers Tickets

NHL Scoreboard
NHL Standings
Team STATS
Team Schedule
Team Roster
Team Injuries

‘Rangers Inside And Out’
By Sean Hartnett
»
More Columns

Friday could be one of the most pivotal days in recent New York Rangers’ history.

General Manager Glen Sather has brought his chips to the Consol Engery Center in Pittsburgh as he’s eager to strike a deal that lands the Rangers a much-desired scoring ace.

In recent years, Sather has done an excellent job assembling a wealth of organizational trade chips to land either Rick Nash or Bobby Ryan, two coveted wingers who can address the Rangers’ well-documented scoring woes.

The Rangers will be without Marian Gaborik when their 2012-13 season gets underway in Los Angeles on October 12.  Gaborik is projected to return in mid-November after undergoing off-season shoulder surgery.

Even when Gaborik is in the lineup, it’s clear the Rangers need someone to take the scoring burden off his shoulders.  That become all too clear during the Rangers’ exit to the Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals.

While either Ryan or Nash would be an ideal fit for the Rangers, it’s a matter of asking price.  Sather doesn’t want to lose his shirt by meeting a ‘king’s ransom’ to acquire either star.  Last February, Sather smartly pulled out of the running for Nash than caving to the demands of Blue Jackets’ GM Scott Howson.

According to Ken Campbell of The Hockey News, there are seven teams on Nash’s approved list.  It should be noted that any of these teams will turn to Zach Parise should he not agree to a deal with the Devils before he hits the open market on July 1.

If Parise’s recent comments can be taken at face value, he won’t be entertaining offers from the Rangers.  This can play into Sather’s hands as other teams will be less-willing to meet Howson’s asking price for Nash or Anaheim GM Bob Murray demands for Nash.

Players likely to be made available by Sather in negotiations are Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Derek Stepan, Tim Erixon as well as prospects Dylan McIlrath and J.T. Miller.

Chris Kreider, Carl Hagelin and Michael Del Zotto are considered untouchables by Sather and the Rangers.

Buzz coming out of Anaheim is that Murray isn’t interested in taking on Brandon Dubinsky’s salary and would prefer a package that includes Artem Anisimov.

My feeling is that a deal including Dubinsky and/or Anisimov, Stepan, Erixon, Miller and a collection of high draft picks could land the Rangers a star sniper.

It’s up to Sather to avoid the temptation of including someone like Del Zotto or Hagelin in order to land Nash or Ryan.

A Few Quick Hits:

Should Sather scoff at the asking price for both Nash and Ryan, there are options he can turn to in free agency.

Evergreen 40-year-old Ray Whitney and 35-year-old power forward Shane Doan could hit free agency should the Phoenix Coyotes.  Negotiations between the veterans and Coyotes’ GM Don Maloney have hit snags over the length Doan and Whitney are seeking.  Doan wants a four-year deal to finish his career in Phoenix, while Whitney is looking for a two-year deal.

Predicting the future of fellow 40-year-old Jaromir Jagr is significantly harder.  Stranger things than Rangers-Jagr reunion have happened, but Jagr lacks the defensive focus needed to fit into John Tortorella’s system.

A buy-low option could be Ryan Smyth.  The 36-year-old wanted to finish his career in Edmonton but talks between Smyth and the Oilers have hit a stalemate.

The Rangers are also among many teams looking at Coyotes’ two-way defenseman Keith Yandle.  Given the Coyotes’ financial issues, it’s a strong possibility Yandle could be traded in the near future.  Yandle would certainly fill the no. 4 defenseman need for the Rangers would be a valuable addition for many clubs around the NHL.

Is Nash or Ryan the better fit to address the Rangers’ scoring woes?  Or should the Blueshirts explore free agent options?  Share your thoughts below and send your tweets to @HartnettWFAN.