By Jay Travers
It is now February 6th, and the NHL trade deadline is at the end of this month.
New York Rangers fans may have to face a reality they do not want; big moves for favorite players and bad moves for unlikable ones.
With each passing day Keith Yandle remains unsigned by the Rangers. The 29 year-old defenseman has faced scrutiny from fans all year long for no apparent reason. Claims of which are rarely backed statistically.
The offensive-minded defenseman has 27 points in 51 games played this year, putting him fifth on the team in point totals. His play since the start of the season seems better than a third pairing defenseman, but that’s where he has been placed.
Yandle easily deserves to be on the first power play unit, in fact he should be on the ice for the entire man advantage.
It is because of this that Keith Yandle is on the chopping block by most fans. For fans, Yandle’s bad plays far overshadow his strongest attributes.
Would it be smart for the Blueshirts to drop this offensive magician? The answer is no.
This is where the Rangers find themselves in a little bit of trouble.
Take Keith Yandle and Dan Boyle for example. Yandle is 10 years younger and is producing. Boyle however, is having a rough year with only five goals and 10 assists.
The NHL trade market favors a younger player, so Boyle is at a disadvantage already. It is very unlikely that the Rangers will get rid of Yandle though.
Winning a Cup this season would be nice, but at the same time Jeff Gorton does not need to trade away the Rangers’ future for one playoff performer.
It doesn’t work that way.
Besides, the Rangers need draft picks themselves, and it would not be wise to give more away in trade packages.
Kevin Shattenkirk in St. Louis seems like another good option, but for who? A defenseman for defenseman trade for Yandle? St. Louis needs scoring upfront so perhaps Kevin Hayes or Derek Stepan could work.
But at this point, anything can happen.
It is important to know that team scouts are traveling around the League with the trade deadline rapidly approaching. The Los Angeles Kings and the Rangers have been seen at each other’s games, but not much stock should be put into this.
The deadline has the potential to be very interesting, that’s for sure.