So long, Rupper.
On Monday, the New York Rangers announced that they had traded forward Mike Rupp to the Minnesota Wild for forwards Darroll Powe and Nick Palmieri. Powe played in Tuesday’s game against New Jersey while Palmieri reported to AHL affiliate Connecticut Whale.
I’m really happy with this trade. So pleased with it in fact that I think you’re crazy if you’re not a fan of it too.
On the one hand, I will miss Rupp. He may be aging and not the same fighter he used to be, but he was the catalyst of the Winter Classic victory over the Flyers, and anyone who provides pain to the Flyers gets a gold star in my book.
With that being said, the Rangers clearly got the long end of the stick in this one. Unfortunately for Rupp, bringing Arron Asham into the lineup during the offseason made Rupp’s role on the team a little bit obsolete. His objective on the team was to be a fighter, something that I think has not been as up to par as it should be for someone of his caliber. I’m not a fan of Asham at all, but as far as fighters go, there can only be one.
And to his credit as well, Rupp has been around the block with the league and he is a locker room leader in the postseason. Remember when he got the game-winning goal in the Stanley Cup final with the Devils? Remember when he was playing on a Penguins team that was always a Stanley Cup contender? Rupp knows how to win, but there are a couple of guys on the Rangers now who know what it takes to get to the top. The leadership Rupp brings is something that Brad Richards, John Tortorella and even guys who have won Olympic medals like Henrik Lundqvist and Rick Nash can carry on.
Will I miss Rupp? Of course, but having Powe on the team is going to be a quick lock and fit for the Rangers, and he’s going to work in the Tortorella system fast and efficiently.
Last season, Rupp had four goals, one assist and 97 penalty minutes. Powe had six goals, seven assists and 57 penalty minutes. Oh, and he was second in league forwards with blocked shots. That statistic alone says everything.
Powe is going to fit in because he’s gritty and he isn’t afraid to take a hit or a puck to the body, and it’s no secret that is what Tortorella wants. Torts has his all-star goalie, he has his goal-machine forwards and he has a defense strong and scary enough to shut down the best of the best.
What the Rangers really need are guys who are going to do nothing but produce some more up and down scoring and further strengthen their identity. So far it seems like the Rangers have taken more time than desired to get back to the way we were, especially after last night’s game. Maybe Powe will be the match that lights the spark for the Rangers and bring them back to being a top league threat.