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BREAKING: Rangers acquire Eric Staal from the Hurricanes

Bobby Bevilacqua

Eric Staal

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Welp, the Rangers have done it again.

For the third straight year, the Rangers have made a splash at the trade deadline, acquiring Eric Staal, the face of the franchise and captain of the Carolina Hurricanes. But with Jeff Gorton in charge and not Glen Sather, things were handled a bit differently.

In exchange for Staal, the Rangers sent two second round draft picks and Finnish prospect Aleksi Saarela, a 2015 third round draft pick. On top of that, the Hurricanes agreed to retain 50% of Eric Staal’s salary, giving him a cap hit of just $4,125,000, which they can afford without placing Rick Nash on LTIR.

The Hurricanes wanted more out of it, but Staal would only waive his no trade clause to go to the Rangers, which drove down his price.

Honestly, this is a really good trade. Gorton didn’t give up any first round draft picks (crucial!), he didn’t give up anyone like Kreider, Hayes, Milller, Lindberg, Skjei, Buchnevich or someone else, and he got the Hurricanes to eat half of that salary. That is really well done.

Also, Saarela is a 19 year old, third round draft pick that the Rangers scouts found and turned into a highly coveted prospect. They Rangers got a lot of nice pieces in this last draft later in the draft, so I don’t think this will sting too much.

Also, adding Eric Staal to this lineup is a huge boost. To the people claiming that he’s washed up, you’re wrong. Staal is only 31, and he had been playing with guys like Viktor Rask and Elias Lindholm on the top line. Realistically, they’re more like third liners. Staal didn’t have a lot of talent around him to play with. Imagine him playing alongside Stepan and Kreider? Yes please!

He’s a guy with a proven track record of offensive production, including seven straight 70+ point seasons, which included a 45 goal, 100 point season.

His numbers don’t look good this year (16-23-39 in 62 games), but it’s somewhat deceiving, kind of like how Rick Nash’s numbers are deceiving. Staal has had bad luck (shooting 4% below career average) and the lack of talent around him make for deceptively low production.

And for all of you that love to point out playoff production, Staal has done that too. When the Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup in 2006, Staal scored nine goals with 19 assists, totaling 28 points in 25 games. In 2009 when the Canes went to the Eastern Conference Finals, Staal scored 10 goals and 15 points in 18 games. That gives him 43 points (19-24-43) in 43 playoff games.

However, he currently has the second highest Corsi for% of his entire career (56.56%), and that number is very, very impressive. He’s driving possession and creating chances at the same rate as he always has been, but hasn’t gotten the bounces or help from his teammates. If you put him on a line with Kevin Hayes and Chris Kreider, I have no doubt that his scoring will pick up.

He’s also shooting well below his career average of 10.3%, and just like Rick Nash, he’s bound for that to rise and to start scoring more. Plus, Staal has got to be happy to come to a contending team and play with his brother. Don’t underestimate that happiness and motivation translating into scoring either.

The Rangers lineup is set to look like this, when everyone is healthy;

Rick Nash-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Eric Staal

JT Miller-Kevin Hayes-Jesper Fast

Oscar Lindberg-Dominic Moore-Viktor Stalberg.

The Rangers have depth, they have offense throughout all four lines, and now they have another goal scorer in Eric Staal that can drive possession and someone that is a proven playoff performer. All without giving up a roster player, a first round pick or an elite prospect. Nice work Gorton.

The Rangers are putting all of their chips on the table and trying to win now. Keith Yandle is still here. Eric Staal is a Ranger. Rick Nash will be coming back. The team is playing well and winning now, and they’re within striking distance of being the second best team in the league. It’ll be an interesting rest of the season.

Follow The Ranger Zone here and on Twitter for updates, because there could be some more minor moves made.

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Posted on February 28, 2016, in Rangers Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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