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Rangers Rumor Mill: Gorton is “looking to shake things up”

jeff gorton and sather

Photo courtesy of the New York Rangers.

Bobby Bevilacqua

Craig Custance, an NHL reporter for ESPN, spoke to some of the general managers around the league, and it appears that Rangers GM Jeff Gorton has been making some calls. Because the general consensus around the league is that Gorton “is looking to do something to shake things up” after a lackluster start to the season.

The Rangers have won just four of their last 15 games, seeing their big lead in the Metropolitan Division fall apart. The defensive structure has collapsed and become disorganized, there has been inconsistent production from the top six.

As a result, it seems like Gorton wants to make a few tweaks, and he’s looking at the trade market to help make some adjustments.

According to Custance’s reporting, he said that the Rangers may have an interest in trading Dan Boyle, but he doesn’t want to go anywhere. Some of the GMs believe that the Rangers would be willing to trade Keith Yandle, despite his cheap cap hit, “for the right price.”

Both of the reported trades that Custance talk about don’t make much sense, and they wouldn’t make the Rangers a better team.

I don’t know what everyone’s issue is with Keith Yandle, because he has been really good this season. Vigneault just hasn’t been utilizing him to his full potential. He’s on pace for a 40+ assist season, and when he’s actually been used with significant power play time, he’s been effective.

Despite his age, Dan Boyle has been great as of late. He’s been outstanding on the man advantage, and he’s been on the ice for 16 of the team’s 22 power play goals, and he’s a lot more reliable defensively than people give him credit for. He doesn’t turn the puck over a lot, and has been better with the more minutes that he’s given.

The Rangers do need to do something on defense, but their problems stem from the big contracts. Ryan McDonagh has been lackluster, but because of his age and upside, that’s not a guy you trade. Dan Girardi and Marc Staal have both been pretty rough this season, and they’re both showing signs of regression. Unfortunately, they are both making a lot of money for a lot more years, and their NTCs and NMCs in the deals make it really hard to move them.

On offense, people point to the impending free agents that the Rangers have next season. Kevin Hayes, Chris Krieder, JT Miller and Emerson Etem are some of the notable forwards that will need new contracts next season. Kreider will likely command over $4 million, Hayes may get a bridge deal for over $2 million, and Miller and Etem will get a bump in pay as well. They probably can’t afford to keep all of them.

One possibility that people have been discussing is trading for Ryan Johansen, the 23 year old center on the Columbus Blue Jackets. He’s fallen out of favor with head coach John Tortorella, who has scratched him a few times and criticized his work ethic and fitness. Johansen totaled 63 points and 71 points in the last two seasons, respectively, and still has managed to record 23 points (6-17-23) in the 33 games that he has played this season.

Tortorella is a big fan of players like Girardi and Staal, and they fit well into his system during Tort’s time with the Rangers. Could Gorton manage to get one of them to waive their clauses? Johansen is making $4 million, but is a UFA after next season.

Getting Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes going would be like adding two top six forwards, so they may not make a move there at all. But with the cap issues and the free agents after this season, don’t be surprised if Gorton pulls the trigger and makes a move.

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Posted on December 24, 2015, in In the Crease and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. If you sit Girardi and Staal for a long stretch I sure they would demand a trade

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