Brendan Smith, courtesy of NHL.com
The trade deadline came to an end at 3pm today, and much to my chagrin, the Rangers were not super active. Utilizing TSN’s Trade Centre, let’s take a look at deals struck by Jeff Gorton and his team:
- Defenseman Brendan Smith acquired from the Red Wings for a 2017 3rd-round pick and a 2018 2nd-round pick.
- Forward Daniel Catenacci acquired from the Sabres for defenseman and Hartford Wolfpack captain Mat Bodie.
- Forward Taylor Beck acquired from the Oilers for forward Justin Fontaine.
The Rangers really blew a chance to strengthen the team. I previously wrote about Brendan Smith and was thrilled with the acquisition. I think he’ll prove to be a really productive player and one who we will probably look to re-sign over the summer. The Brian Boyle trade was tough to swallow, but the price of a decent prospect and a 2nd-round pick was a pretty steep one. I doubt that Gorton even inquired about him, which pisses me off to no end, but I could understand our GM passing on Boyle at that price. The trades that occurred today, however, left me feeling completely gutted. First were the deals for 4th liners that occurred. The Red Wings’ Steve Ott was sent to Montreal for a 6th round pick and the King’s Dwight King also went to the Habs for a conditional-4th rounder. Good on Montreal for bulking up their 4th line. Ott is a pain in the ass and wins face-offs, and Dwight King is quality winger with grit. Where were the Rangers in all of this? I understand that they don’t have a ton of assets to give away, but the market dictated that quality role players could be gotten for bargain prices. It kills me that I have to watch Brandon Pirri NOT even get a shot on goal for 10 minutes a night while other teams actually have a grinding, defensive checking line. It’s as if AV, Gorton and company forgot the dynamic trio of Brian Boyle, Derek Dorsett and Dominic Moore that helped to lead a Stanley cup Finals run and weren’t watching the ass-kicking last night. You need size, toughness, grit, a fight or two, and sound defense from your 4th line. The lack of all of these things will be one of the reasons why the Rangers don’t reach their ultimate goal this year. They have a chance to redeem themselves by calling up Tanner Glass, but I doubt they’ll actually sack up and do it.
As if my day couldn’t get worse, Florida sent Dylan McIlrath and a 3rd-round pick going to the Detroit for Thomas Vanek. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I should mention that I love McIlrath; he’s a big dude with a mean streak and underrated ability. Gorton basically put the boy on top of the trash heap, shipping him out for Steven Kampfer and a 7th-round pick. Now suddenly, and with no more playing time than he received in NY, McIlrath is good enough to be packaged with only a mid-round pick to acquire a proven 20-goal scorer for the playoff run? What in the hell was Gorton doing here? He may as well have either kept him to deal him now, or maybe PLAY HIM and allow him to become the 3rd-pair defenseman and bruiser that the Rangers desperately need. I suppose Jeff Gorton’s conservative approach to the trade deadline coupled with the uncertainty around the expansion draft can be digested. I definitely like it better than the absurd moves of that Looney Toon, Glen Sather. I will say, however, that Gorton definitely was not shrewd enough this year. He could’ve really made a huge impact on the team for minimal sacrifice and without leaving key players at the mercy of the expansion draft.