Now that the Olympics are (mercifully, if you’re a U.S.A. fan) over, the NHL’s trade window has opened and will close on March 5 at 3 p.m. Not much has happened yet, but the rumor mill in New York has been churning for days now.
This past Sunday, former NFL quarterback and sports radio personality Boomer Esiason took to Twitter and said something “huge” was going to happen with the New York Rangers. It didn’t take too long for the Ranger’s social media sphere to light up and ignite seemingly endless discussions about what would happen before newt Wednesday.
To offer some perspective, Esiason is usually spot-on with his predictions and news tips. He’s at almost all of the Rangers’ home games and he has friends in the NHL; he successfully predicted the end of the NHL lock out and the Kevin Klein trade.
In other words, Blueshirts fans can count on something drastic happening before the trade deadline.
It probably has to do with Ryan Callahan.
So far, the names coming up the most are Callahan’s, Dan Girardi and Henrik Lundqvist, in exchange for Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis.
It’s safe to assume we can take Lundqvist off the list. The contract extension he signed earlier in the season has a no-trade clause and it’s more or less fact that Lundqvist will be a Ranger for life.
Girardi and Callahan aren’t as safe, even if their worth as team leaders and franchise players are of a similar ilk to Lundqvist’s. Talks about whether or not they would resign with the team at the end of this season and how much they would be asking for have been going on for months. It’s hard to imagine this trade doesn’t include one of them.
And if Pat Leonard at the New York Daily News’ report that St. Louis only wants to come to New York is true, than it’s more than likely Callahan will be the one to go. It may be more sad since he’s captain, but it does make more sense and it is smarter than letting Girardi go.
I’ve said it before and I stick by the belief that it is more difficult to find a first-pair defenseman than most other positions. If the Rangers decided to trade away Girardi to Tampa they may not lose more than gain, but they’d still lose a lot. The Rangers would be getting goals (St. Louis has 25 goals so far this season), but the loss of a defenseman like Girardi would hurt. Lundqvist and Cam Talbot would certainly feel the loss.
If Callahan goes, that’s a huge drop in chemistry and morale in the room. However, finding a grinder who can put in goals and block shots is easier to find than a top-line defenseman. The Rangers are a team that has more third-liners than pure goalscorers. We’ve needed someone like St. Louis for years now and while I worry about the age, I’m comforted by the fact that players like Jaromir Jagr have come here later in their careers and have made all the difference.
But no news yet. Whatever happens, it’s probably going to be emotional and there will probably be tears. For now, let’s hope for the best.