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Well, it’s taken a little longer than I had hoped to get this put up. You can blame my family for all deciding to come down here at the same time for some family get togethers. It’s been keeping me busy, but I did want to get something up here before the draft tomorrow.

So here is basically the conundrum the Rangers have. We have a lot of solid defensive prospects, but few of them are ready. We have very few offensive prospects, but we do have 1 gem who might challenge for a spot next year. Finally we have a team caught in cap hell that needs to be addressed.

So, let’s think about this logically. What you have to do is think about where the Rangers are drafting, and who is available at that spot. Frankly, I am not enamored at all with any of the players likely to be there at 19. Kreider, Palmeiri, Ashton, etc…none of these are even remotely going to become game breakers, even if everything works out in an ideal fashion. So what we need to do is think a little outside the box.

Here is what I do. As most of you know, Ilya Kovalchuk is going to be a free agent next offseason. However let’s not make any bones about it. The likelyhood of Ilya Kovalchuk becoming available at that time is highly unlikely. In all likelyhood Kovalchuk will re-sign here in Atlanta, and will do so for a massive contract, probably in the neighborhood of 10 years, 90 million dollars. The only think stopping that from happening right this minute, is Kovalchuk wanting to see what the Thrashers do to improve the team in the here and now. So, you have a Thrashers team which needs to improve today, a team that is a very undesirable location for free agents, and a team that will get almost no use out of their first round pick in terms of keeping their superstar happy. Whoever is available at #4 will not be NHL ready. So, my proposition is very simple. Trade Scott Gomez, and our #1 pick to the Thrashers for the #4 draft pick. It’s a trade that makes sense on a lot of levels. Gomez gives the Thrashers the center they desperately need to play with Kovalchuk, and they still have a #1 pick to draft with. The Rangers on the other hand gain cap flexibility, and most importantly have the opportunity to draft Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson. MPS is the game breaker we so desperately need. He is more than likely the fastest skater in the draft, he plays both sides of the puck, has ridiculous hands, and has a great attitude. The only downfall is that he is (apparently) under contract in Sweden for another season, but we can wait for a talent of this magnitude. MPS has seen his stock drop a little during the combine, and many people liken his game to a Naslund, but I see a Toews or better in this kid. He does everything at an elite level, and most importantly has the speed and hands to play in the NHL today if need be.

So, once you trade away Gomez, you have opened up a spot for Artem Anisimov and have cleared away 7.5 million dollars in cap space. The Rangers should use that money wisely, and to me, the best move they can make is to sign Marian Gaborik to a 5 year, 32.5 million dollar deal, or Mike Cammelleri to a 6 year 36 million dollar deal. Either player would give us the goal scoring we so desperately need.

Next, continuing to address the big 3 contracts that we have, I fully explore trading Chris Drury to the San Jose Sharks for Patrick Marleau. Let’s say, hypothetically, it takes Drury and a B level prospect (IE, Potter, Kundratek, etc) to get it done. Pull the trigger on that deal. I know that Drury has a full no movement clause, however he does live on the west coast, and clearly things are not working out here. If you make it known to him that we do not want him, I think he would accept the deal.

Next what I do is waive Wade Redden, or trade him away for a bag of pucks. Waiving him is more than possible, and it should be done at all costs. So let’s simply assume Redden is waived and his salary is completely off the books. That is another 6.5 million dollars saved. With that money I would sign Mike Komisarek to a 5 year 25 million dollar deal and use the balance of the money we saved to pay for our RFA’s.

Finally I would play our kids. We have to use this as a transition year to prepare for next season and the season after that when we probably can actually go on a run when we have had time to gel, and to acclimate with our coach and the way he wants to play. We also will have gotten our kids’ teeth cut at the big level and they can adapt within a year or 2 to this style of hockey.

So, if I were running the Rangers, and I could make those things above us happen, I would have next years team look something like this:

Player Name (Cap Hit)
Player Name (Cap Hit)
Player Name (Cap Hit)
Combined Cap Hit
Marian Gabork (~6.5)
Brandon Dubinsky (~2)
Nikola Zherdev (~3.25)
Sean Avery (1.938)
Patrick Marleau (6.3)
Ryan Callahan (~2)
Evgeny Grachev ( .933)
Artem Anisimov (.822)
Lauri Korpikoski ( ~1)
Freddy Sjostrom ( .875)
Blair Betts (.750)
Dane Byers ( .750)
Aaron Voros (1)
Total Cap Hit For Forwards: 28.118 Million


Player Name (Cap Hit)
Player Name (Cap Hit)
Combined Cap Hit
Marc Staal (.827)
Daniel Girardi (1.550)
Mike Komisarek ( 5)
Michal Rozsival ( 5)
Paul Mara (~2)
Michael Del Zotto ( 1.0875)
Matt Gilroy (1.75)
Total Cap Hit For Defenseman: 17.2145 Million
Player Name (Cap Hit)
Combined Cap Hit
Henrik Lundqvist (6.875)
Stephen Valiquette (.725)
Total Cap Hit For Goalies: 7.6 Million

With a combined cap hit of 52.9325 Million, leaving us with about 3 million dollars in cap space to make trades, or to give raises to any player who needs them. You also have MPS to plug into the roster in a year or 2 to give you your 2nd game breaker. I know it isn’t an ideal setup. However Marleau and Gaborik would probably give you about 20-40 more goals than Drury and Gomez assuming both are healthy.

Now granted, this is all in an ideal world, but it’s what I would hope we would do if it were possible. But what I am really looking for is for the Rangers to pick up some goal scorers, to trade away those terrible contracts, and to move up in the draft into a top slot to grab Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson. Not much to ask for, right?

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