The New York Rangers have been looking to build a team that can win the Stanley Cup this season. Trades have been a very big part of the roster they’ve put together. Over the years, the Rangers traded away each of their 1st round draft picks from 2012 to 2016, and have acquired Rick Nash (LW), Martin St. Louis (RW), and now, Keith Yandle (D).
The Rangers have gambled big-time by trading away prospects and future draft picks in order to build a better team for the present.
Rick Nash was acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2012 in exchange for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov (both regulars in the Rangers’ top 2 lines), prospect Tim Erixon, and a 2013 first round draft pick. Nash had only played 4 career playoff games before moving to the Big Apple, but was a regular season superstar. During the first half of the 2012-2013 season, Nash’s longest point drought was only two games. However, Nash failed to convert this production into playoff success. Nash has quickly bounced back this season, and is currently the league’s second leading goal scorer, behind only Alexander Ovechkin.
Martin St. Louis was acquired just before the 2014 trade deadline. He arrived in New York along with a 2015 second round pick in exchange for Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, a 2015 first round pick, a 2014 second round pick, and a 2015 seventh round pick. “Marty” was the league’s top scorer at the end of the 2012-13 season and was expected to bolster the Ranger’s offense at the end of the season and into the playoffs. The transition to New York did not go smoothly for the perennial all-star, as he only scored 1 goal in 19 games for the Rangers after the trade. It was not until the second round of the playoffs when he became a talisman for the team. His mother had passed during the Rangers’ second round series, and the team soon rallied around him. After his emotional performance on Mother’s Day, he quickly became one of the team’s top scorers in the Playoffs, helping them reach the Stanley Cup Finals. Marty’s veteran skill and leadership made him a contender for the captaincy vacated after Callahan’s departure. However, the team opted to name Ryan McDonagh as captain, while choosing St. Louis as the alternate for the 2014-15 campaign.
Keith Yandle, the newest addition to the team, was drafted by the Arizona Coyotes back in 2005. He became a fan favorite over the years in Arizona become of his tremendous displays as an offensive defenseman. Yandle is one of only two defenseman in the NHL to have recorded at least 40 points in five of the past six seasons (the other being Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber). He is consistently strong on the power play, which is partially why the Rangers were interested in him. Prior to his trade to the Rangers, Yandle was one of Arizona’s alternate captains and was the Coyotes’ leading scorer this season, with 41 points in 63 games. He is also tied for the league lead in power play assists, with 24. ESPN’s respected NHL analyst Barry Melrose said that Yandle now makes the Rangers’ defensive corps the “best defensive corps” in the league. Rangers GM Glen Sather and head coach Alain Vigneault both believe that Yandle, who is only 28, can help them win the cup this season.
However, Yandle did not come at a cheap price price for the Rangers. They traded away highly-rated prospect Anthony Duclair, number 6 defenseman John Moore, and two draft picks: a first rounder and a second rounder. The Rangers now have only one pick in the first two rounds of this year’s draft – a second rounder from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Along with Yandle, the Rangers acquired Chris Summers (F), and a 2016 4th round pick. Summers, 27, most likely won’t even feature for the Rangers this season, as he was sent down to the AHL immediately following the trade.
The real hope is that Yandle can get the Rangers back to the Stanley Cup Finals this year and help them win it all. If the Rangers don’t win the Cup in the next two years, then they may regret this trade (along with the others) somewhere down the road. The team’s inability to bring in talented new prospects could end up hurting them in the long run. However, that doesn’t seem to matter to the Rangers’ front office, as Sather and Vigneault are putting their faith in this current squad that is several years in the making.
We know that the Rangers are masters of the trade when it comes to acquiring top-level talent, but the real question is whether or not all of these moves will pay off.