With acquisition of star forward Rick Nash, it appears the Rangers’ forward group is set, although there are reports that Sather is trying to coax Coyotes’ captain Shane Doan to sign with the Rangers. That appears to be a longshot, however, with reports that Doan is looking for a 4 year deal within the range of $24M-$30M. With that in mind, the Rangers are still looking to acquire a right-handed defenseman. What is unclear is whether that righty D is a 3rd pairing veteran or a legitimate puck mover, which is essentially the last “true need” for this Rangers team. Of course, if Michael Sauer is making the progress Dave Maloney has said he is, this may all be pointless, as Sauer gives them that right handed second pairing defenseman.
With all of that said, not many players have been mentioned as targets for the Rangers. Before the entire offersheet fiasco, the Rangers were extremely close to acquiring Norris caliber defenseman Shea Weber, but aside from the connection to him, crickets from the big wig insiders. However, it was rumoured that Dan Boyle for Marian Gaborik is a trade that almost happened, but I find that hard to believe. What I don’t find hard to believe is that the Rangers made an offer, or at least inquired about the 36 year old defenseman. He fits the bill perfect – right handed veteran, and as an added bonus, he was a part of the 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning cup winning squad, which was coached by current Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella. In Tampa, Richards and Boyle formed a formidable powerplay duo, along with the likes of Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis. The Rangers could really use that kind of a presence on their PP, a presence they currently don’t have. Young offensive defenseman Michael Del Zotto is currently a decent candidate to be the QB along with Richards, but while he put up a respectable 41 points during the regular season and 10 points in the playoffs, he is a bit too predictable and his shot is all over the place – it has little accuracy and while it has power behind it, all too often does he shoot it right into the goaltenders chest. Boyle, while not a heavy shooting defenseman, is a player that can get the puck through the mass of bodies on a penalty kill, and knows when to take a shot. He is more of a playmaker, but he regularly scores 10-20 goals, and that’s no small feat.
The main question is whether the Rangers have the assets to pull off a deal such as this. For the Sharks, I assume their main target would be Swedish rookie Carl Hagelin, as they lack speed on the wing, and Hagelin is one of the fastest skaters in the league, while also adding a decent offensive touch (38 points in 64 games). JT Miller would probably be a target as well. What it comes down to is whether or not the Rangers are willing to make a leap of faith and put all of their hope into next season. I, for one, hope that if the price is something like Hagelin, that the Rangers avoid Boyle and hope for Sauer to make a recovery. That said, no one should put a trade such as this behind Sather. He is really trying to go out with a bang, and he desperately wants to win a cup. So, for the time being, he will still target Dan Boyle and other players like him to complete the roster.
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