Thursday, April 4, 2013
Deadline Day: A look back
By Katie Strang
Although plenty wondered (including myself) whether this year's trade deadline was going to be an uneventful one, it proved to be anything but on Wednesday for the Rangers.
Here's a quick look at all that transpired on Wednesday, and where things stand in the aftermath of a huge trade and the important win that followed.
-- Making room for some new arrivals?
In a move that surprised no one following coach John Tortorella's telling comments Monday night, the Rangers sent down both J.T. Miller and Chris Kreider to the team's AHL affiliate, the Connecticut Whale. Neither player saw the ice past the second period in the Rangers' 4-2 win over Winnipeg on Monday, and Tortorella intimated his concern whether the two youngsters could handle the responsibilities thrown their way at this critical point of the season. Considering what was to come hours later, these two would've been scratched for Wednesday's game, anyway. Important to note, however, that roster flexibility wasn't, and isn't, the issue. The 23-man roster limit no longer applies now that the deadline has passed. However, each team only receives four recalls between now and the end of the regular season.
The writing was on the wall for weeks as rumors and speculation dogged the struggling scorer. Gaborik said he tried not to focus on the incessant trade talk in which his name surfaced repeatedly, but it must have taken a toll, nonetheless. So, it was not altogether shocking that, with less than an hour before the 3 p.m. deadline, the Rangers moved the three-time 40-goal scorer to the Columbus Blue Jackets for three players and a sixth-round draft pick. Gaborik got a much-needed change of scenery while the Rangers addressed some immediate needs in adding center Derick Brassard, defenseman John Moore and gritty forward Derek Dorsett, who is injured but expected to return in the next three weeks. More importantly, the Rangers rid themselves of Gaborik's $7.5 million cap hit, allowing them the flexibility to sign restricted free agents Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh this summer. They may also have the cap space to sign pending unrestricted free agent Ryane Clowe, if they want.
-- Rangers pound Penguins
If his Rangers debut was any indication, the Rangers may want to lock up Clowe for the future. The slumping forward, who had yet to score his first goal of the season when he was acquired by the Rangers on Tuesday, broke out with a pair of goals and an assist to lead his new club to a 6-1 rout over the first-place Penguins. He wasn't the only newcomer to chip in, either. Brassard had a career-high four points, and Moore notched a goal as well. According to Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time in team history that three players scored a goal while making their debut. For a team that entered Wednesday's contest ranked last in the league in scoring, it was a welcome, and wild, surprise.
-- Back in the mix
With that statement win over the Penguins, the Rangers passed two division rivals, the Islanders and Devils to jump from 9th to 7th place in the Eastern Conference standings. With 12 games left until the finish line, they travel next to Pittsburgh to wrap up a home-and-home against the Penguins.