Rangers Still Reap Benefits From Gomez Trade


Written on 9/30/2010 by Jim Cerny

By placing Wade Redden on waivers last week, and eventually removing his $6.5 million hit from the salary cap by assigning the veteran defenseman to Hartford, Rangers GM Glen Sather at least partially erased a big mistake from the Rangers' recent past.

Of course, it is a costly mistake as the Blueshirts are still on the hook to pay Redden, not only this year, but for three more seasons aftewards.

Stll Sather removed a mistake from the roster. And that, along with what I have seen so far in Rangers training camp, has made me think of what a great job Sather did in erasing another mistake: the pricey signing of free agent center Scott Gomez four summers ago.

After a solid 70-point first year with the Rangers in 2007-08, Gomez not only was limited to 58 points the following season, but his fit in the locker room was not a good one. Plus his cap hit, along with those of Redden and Chris Drury, was suffocating the team.

So Sather engineered a masterful trade with Montreal, one that I would argue is the type which could set up a franchise in a positive way for years to come.

Please follow my logic:

The Rangers unloaded Gomez and his big salary....
...which freed them up financially to sign the superstar sniper they desired in Marian Gaborik. That alone would make this a winning trade for the Blueshirts. Trading Gomez, a decent second-line center at his best, for an elite goal-scoring machine is a slam dunk win for the Rangers. Yes, I understand that Gaborik is a risk because of his past medical history. But after one healthy 42-goal season on Broadway, the Rangers have to love this swap.

The Rangers received Christopher Higgins in the trade...
....and though the Long Island native did not pan out with the Rangers, Sather shuffled him off to Calgary in the Olli Jokinen trade. Included in that deal was winger Brandon Prust, a rugged third-liner who helped spark the Rangers down the stretch last season and who is a terrific locker-room presence. So, in essence, Prust, not Higgins, was part of this deal since Prust is still playing for the Rangers. Another plus.

The Rangers received Ryan McDonagh in the trade...
....and after leading the University of Wisconsin to the NCAA Championship Game last season, the 21 year-old defenseman turned pro this past summer. McDonagh, a former first round pick of the Canadiens, has looked rock solid and very mature in his first pro camp with the Rangers, and he is on the verge of earning a spot on the opening night roster. He is projected to be a top-four defenseman for years to come.

The Rangers received Pavel Valentenko in the trade...
...and though Valentenko flew under the radar since the deal went down he has emerged as the biggest surprise in this year's training camp for the Rangers. Valentenko is a bruising, fearless, hard-hitting defenseman who told me last night that rocking someone's world "is my favorite". Love it. He also has a cannon of a slap shot, and is not afraid to fire it. Valentenko may start the season in Hartford for more seasoning, but the 22 year-old has an NHL future without question. If he finds his way on to the Rangers roster at some point, that would be four solid NHL players in the lineup in exchange for one regular.

The Rangers traded away little else other than Gomez....
...not to demean center Tom Pyatt, who is a gritty fourth-liner, but the Rangers did not surrender a top prospect to Montreal when they sent Gomez up north. And not to demean Gomez either. He put up only 59 points in Montreal last year, but he did play very well at times in the playoffs, notching 14 points in 19 games as the Canadiens reached the Eastern Conference Finals. But especially with the emergence of McDonagh and Valentenko, this trade keeps getting better by the day for the Rangers.

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1 Comment

  1. LI Joe |

    still a great deal but the cap space of the new guys has to be considered in the deal as well as that is space unavailable for others. not a big deal now but could be as these guys salaries go up


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