The New York Rangers made another trade today as they sent the rights to Keith Yandle to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a sixth round pick in 2016 and a conditional fourth round pick in 2017. The Rangers will get that fourth rounder if Yandle signs with the Panthers. This trade was made by the Rangers because they either don’t want to re-sign the offensive defenseman or, more likely, they simply did not have the cap space to pay him what he would demand. Either way, this is not news Rangers fans wanted to hear.
I’ll revisit the Yandle trade in a bit, but I want to go back a few years and detail the big trades the Rangers have made since 2012. Buckle up, it’s not a pretty sight.
Rangers receive: F Rick Nash, D Steven Delisle, 2013 3rd round pick (Pavel Buchnevich)
Blue Jackets receive: F Brandon Dubinsky, F Artem Anisimov, D Tim Erixon, 2013 1st round pick (Kerby Rychel)
Now, it’s not all doom and gloom as I loved this trade when it happened. I thought the Rangers got an absolute steal in getting 40-goal-a-year player Nash for a first and some decent players. While Dubinsky has turned into a gritty middle six center in Columbus and Anisimov centered a powerhouse line with probable Rookie of the Year Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane in Chicago, I still think the Rangers came out ahead in this deal. They needed a star forward to play with Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards. While that line didn’t quite work out, Nash has been very productive for New York – at least in the regular season. The hidden gem in this deal is the third round pick they got that turned into Buchnevich, who is arguably the best forward prospect left in their system.
Rangers receive: F Derick Brassard, F Derek Dorsett, D John Moore, 2014 sixth round pick
Blue Jackets receive: F Marian Gaborik
I’ll admit I wasn’t a fan of this deal at all. I thought the whole idea was to have Nash and Gaborik lead an offensive attack that would result in a deep playoff run. As it turns out, this was another solid trade as Brassard has turned into one of the most underrated centermen in hockey. This past season he scored 27 goals and had 31 assists while being in the prime of his career. Gaborik on the other hand was a major bust in Columbus, but he did get traded to the Kings where he scored 14 goals en route to winning the Stanley Cup. Who knows if Gaborik would’ve helped the Rangers win it all, but they could have done much worse than Brassard. However, the Rangers did make a bad deal along with the Gaborik swap as they sent three draft picks to the Sharks for 12 games and three goals from Ryane Clowe. Yuck.
Rangers receive: F Martin St. Louis, Conditional 2015 second round pick (for Callahan signing with TB)
Lightning receive: F Ryan Callahan, Conditional 2014 second round pick (turned into a first after Rangers made ECF), 2015 first round pick , Conditional 2015 seventh round pick (because they signed Callahan)
Here is where it gets ugly. I hated, hated, hated the trade when it was announced. First off, trading away your captain in an effort to improve the team is usually frowned upon. Cally was a beloved figure in New York; heck he was one of my favorite players in the sport. I loved everything he brought to the team. That being said, trading him for St. Louis almost straight up certainly could be defended. St. Louis, although getting up there in age, was an elite scorer and would help them in the playoffs. As it turned out, the Rangers rallied behind MSL to make it all the way to the Finals before they lost to Gaborik and the Kings. What I didn’t like about the trade is the fact the Rangers essentially sent two first round picks to Tampa Bay when St. Louis basically demanded to be traded to the Rangers. He said he would only go to New York. That was it. Why overpay for an aging, albeit skilled, forward when you’re the only team he will go to? I could understand the conditional second, but another first on top of it??? Too much.
Rangers receive: D Keith Yandle, D Chris Summers, 2016 fourth round pick
Coyotes receive: F Anthony Duclair, D John Moore, 2015 second round pick, 2016 first round pick
If you thought I hated the Callahan-St. Louis trade, just wait. That trade had nothing on how bad this trade was. I also hated this trade from the jump because I felt it was extremely unnecessary. Keith Yandle is a damn good offensive defenseman and would help any blue line, but was it really worth trading away your top prospect in Duclair and yet another first round pick – their fourth year in a row – plus a second round pick and a young defender in Moore? I didn’t think so, but they did. I didn’t like it because I didn’t think trading all that to beef up your sixth defenseman was crazy. Moore could handle those minutes behind one of the better D corps in hockey (at the time).
What makes this trade even worse is how bad it kept progressively getting. It was bad on it’s own and compounded the trade of the previous season. At some point going “all in” needs to produce a Cup. It didn’t. Then Duclair turned into a stud paired with another dynamic rookie in Max Domi. He scored 20 goals and had 24 assists in his first full season at the age of 20. Moore signed with the rival Devils and had a decent season which he can build on as he’s only 25. Now, they couldn’t re-sign Yandle so they had to trade his rights to Florida for at best two ‘meh’ draft picks. What a disaster.
Rangers receive: F Eric Staal
Hurricanes receive: F Aleksi Saarela, 2016 second round pick, 2017 second round pick
Do they EVER learn their lesson?? STOP TRADING AWAY THE FUTURE SO YOU CAN TRY AND WIN NOW BUT ULTIMATELY FAIL. I understand going for it because Henrik Lundqvist won’t be elite forever, but sheesh. You can’t sell the farm four/five years in a row, not win it all, and then come out on top. The best thing I can say about this trade is that they didn’t trade away their 2017 first or Brady Skjei. If they had, I don’t even know what I would be saying. As it is they traded away two valuable second rounders and one of their remaining good prospects for a guy who had three goals and three assists in 20 games and a first round exit from the playoffs. Not good.
If you’re still reading this, I swear I’m not some Devils fan who’s just trying to rip on a rival. It’s just amazing at how year after year, the Rangers continue to compound bad trades in previous seasons with even worse ones. At some point you have to think they’ll stop doing this. Sometimes it works, other times it goes down in flames. Chicago pulls it off, the Rangers haven’t.