In recent articles, I’ve discussed how the New York Rangers seem to be on track to make a deep run in the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs and with line change variations and recent trade acquisitions, they seem to be top-tier organization within the NHL. Well, you know the old saying, “three steps forward and two steps back” and this addage seems to sum up the Blueshirts as of late.
No the polar ice caps haven’t totally melted away and more signs of doom and gloom are not just popping up to sound an alarm that the Rangers are in trouble. What this teams needs to do, however, is stay the course and finish out strong. The Rangers have now lost three games in a row which isn’t necessarily the end of the road for the Blueshirts but a team with lofty goals of raising the Stanley Cup in June can’t afford to go on three-game losing streaks this time of year. The Blueshirts hit similar low skids back in November when they were hinting at changing their act to become circus clowns but they found that pay in the NHL was much better and fixed their problems.
Is the recent skid a hint at things to come?
That folks is the big question – are the Rangers in trouble? I wouldn’t say they are in trouble and still sit with a 33-16-9 record with 75 points and eight points. The Blueshirt record has them pretty comfortably sitting in the third playoff spot in the Metro Division and eight points ahead of the New York Islanders who are leading the Eastern Conference wild card rush right now. On the surface, things should be almost on auto-pilot at this time but no team in the NHL should rest on their laurels just yet. The season is far from over and the Rangers have 24 regular season games to go. Although unlikely, a late season total collapse isn’t unheard of and the Rangers, if they fall into this trap, could be watching the playoffs from their favorite sports bars this spring.
Do the Rangers have any trade deadline rumblings?
It’s safe to say that every NHL team has some sort of trade deadline plans right now and the Rangers have already dived deep into that pond already with the Vladimir Tarasenko/Nikko Mikkola trade with the St. Louis Blues. With healthy scratches of players such as Vitali Kravtsov, Jake Leschyshyn and Ben Harpur now becoming more of the norm to make room for MIkkola, is there a chance that the Rangers will be looking to make more trades? March 3rd is literally next week and I would suspect that GM Chris Drury is drawing up plans to make more trades before the deadline.
This of course leads to the biggest possible trade left out there right now – any trade for Chicago Blackhawks’ stalwart Patrick Kane and getting him to go to the Rangers certainly is what the hockey world is waiting for. Lots of machinations are of course rumbling in the NHL trade background but if the Rangers have their sights on Kane, the three earlier-mentioned players more than likely will find themselves playing for another team by next weekend.
This is all pure conjecture but fans who watch multiple teams know that Patrick Kane is still one of the big trade prizes left out there and any move would probably require a third team to gobble up some of $10.5 million dollar annual salary for any trade to take place. All I can say at this point is stay tuned – this week in hockey will no doubt be entertaining.