Are the Rangers looking to trade Dominic Moore?
Two games ago, Alain Vigneault made the surprising move to scratch the ever-reliable Dominic Moore, a mainstay in the Rangers lineup for the past two seasons. He stated that he wanted to see Jarret Stoll as a true center, with two wingers by his side.
A bit odd, but experimental, which is fine. Stoll is a centerman by trade, and it allowed Emerson Etem to get some more games in. Nothing to see here.
Until it happened again.
For the second consecutive game, Alain Vigneualt scratched Moore again, keeping the lineup the same for the game against the St. Louis Blues. The Rangers won and the fourth line played well enough, so it’s hard to complain. But it’s puzzling why Vigneault would scratch Moore for two consecutive games.
Last season, Dominic Moore played in all 82 games, enjoying his most successful season since 2010-11 with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Despite playing a majority of the season with Tanner Glass, a possession black hole that has never been known for his offense, Moore still managed to score 10 goals along with 17 assists. He was great on faceoffs, a staple on the penalty kill, and always reliable every game.
I don’t have a problem playing Stoll at center. He’s actually been a nice surprise this year, providing another faceoff specialist (55.3%), some offense (1-2-3), and another forechecker. Like the 2013-14 season, having two centers on the line allows for one of them to be aggressive at the dot without being afraid of being chased from the circle.
I also don’t buy the excuse that Vigneault wants to let Etem play more. Last night against the Blues, Etem had just 11 shifts and a total of 8:37 of ice time. Stoll and Fast, his linemates, both played for nearly 12 minutes at even strength. The game before that, against Carolina, Etem played for just 9:31 during the game. Fast and Stoll played more, but they were used a lot on the penalty kill.
If you want Etem to play more and to prove that he’s a capable everyday player, why is he only getting 8:37 in a game? Dominic Moore would have been utilized a lot more and can be used on the penalty kill and in more situations than Etem was.
Which poses the question; are the Rangers looking to trade Dominic Moore?
Moore is a UFA after this season ends, carrying a modest cap hit of $1.5 million. His salary, prowess in the faceoff circle and offensive upside create the perfect scenario for any team looking to bolster their bottom six for cheap.
For the Rangers, it also works out. Just about every season, Glen Sather has made a big move as the Rangers try to make a run to the playoffs, like acquiring Martin St. Louis and Keith Yandle over the past two seasons. While Gorton is now at the helm, I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes a move to try and improve the roster too. This team is really, really good and very deep, and they seem ready to make a long run into the playoffs.
The Rangers currently have about $1.2 million in free cap space. If they move Moore, then that creates space to make a bigger move for a top six forward, a prospect or any other route they decide to take.
Trading Moore is not the only thing the Rangers may be looking to do. A less likely possibility is that they’re showcasing Etem for a trade. This doesn’t seem like it’ll happen because Etem has a very affordable contract and is still very young with room to improve.
This is all speculation, but it seems like a possibility. Trading Moore doesn’t seem like it would help the Rangers right now, and if they’re going to play Etem, play him. Not for nine minutes a game. Stoll has been pretty good, but I’m not sure that he’s a better everyday player.
Posted on November 13, 2015, in In the Crease and tagged Alain Vigneault, Dominic Moore, Emerson Etem, Hockey, Jarret Stoll, New York Rangers, New York Rangers blog, NHL, NHL Rumors, NHL Trade Rumors, NYR, Rangers, Rangers blog. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.