By Brian Monzo
» More Columns
In the last 48 hours, the Rangers have completely revamped their team — not only for the playoff push, but moving forward for next season.
Last July, Brandon Prust priced himself out of New York and the Rangers made the obvious move to let him walk. It was tough to see it happen, but he is not a $2.5 million-per-season player. They made decisions not to bring back Ruslan Fedotenko and John Mitchell. They traded Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov in stealing Rick Nash from Columbus.
The Rangers’ struggles have been evident this season. The scoring hasn’t been there and the power play has been invisible. There has been very little grit on the team.
For those reasons, the decisions to acquire Ryane Clowe and remove Marian Gaborik were no-brainers for Glen Sather.
We will start with Clowe.
Clowe previously played with the Sharks, and was a consistent 20 goal/100 PIM player. He has size, grit and drops the gloves. He is good in the defensive zone and can score goals. He’s a perfect John Tortorella player.
The negative was that he had zero goals this season and he is an impending unrestricted free agent.
The fact is that players, at times, need a change of scenery and a new system to find their game. Clowe had an immediate impact on Wednesday night, scoring two goals in his Rangers debut and throwing his big body around from the first shift.
The Rangers now need to find a way to sign Clowe.
How can they do that?
Look, I know that this was a tough move for many Rangers fans to deal with. How can they trade a guy who has a big name for three players who most people have never heard of?
I don’t expect every Rangers fan — or even Eastern Conference fan — to watch Columbus Blue Jackets games. But the Blue Jackets paid a heavy price to add Gaborik.
Derick Brassard is a crafty young center with good hands. There was a reason he was drafted sixth overall in 2006. He can play, and if healthy he will be a big contributor.
Defenseman John Moore was drafted 21st overall in 2009 (two picks after Chris Kreider). He is expected to be a top four defenseman who can contribute offensively.
Derek Dorsett is a third/fourth line forward who can bang a few pucks in the net, But he can also get in the mix with fighting and hit hard. He lead the league in PIM a few seasons back.
The fact is that Gaborik’s time in New York was good. He was a good Ranger and had two 40-goal seasons. But all good things come to an end. Blame it on the coach, the lockout — whatever. Gaborik had to go.
Moving Gaborik also gives the Rangers some breathing room with the salary cap, which is lowering next season. It will allow Sather to attempt to re-sign Clowe and lock up players like Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin and, most importantly, Ryan McDonagh.
It was also a wakeup call for the rest of the team. Players like Brad Richards and Brian Boyle looked like different players on Wednesday night.
So, Rangers fans, enjoy and embrace the rest of the season. It will be exciting.
Follow Brian Monzo on Twitter @BMonzoWFAN.
Do you agree that both of these moves were no-brainers for Glen Sather? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…