New York Rangers, Mats Zuccarello
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With Feb. 29 fast approaching, New York Rangers fans are anxiously awaiting a trade deadline that could have a huge impact on the team’s future.

By Chris Wengert

There is no way around it, this year’s trade deadline is about as precarious for the New York Rangers as it can be.

The team is plagued by uncertainty that will certainly make life difficult for General Manager Jeff Gorton.

We have discussed whether or not the Rangers could possibly make a deep playoff run as they are currently constructed, but should they really go all in and mortgage the future?

RELATED: New York Rangers: Can This Team Make A Deep Playoff Run?

Should they cut their losses and build for next season?

If they do decide to mortgage the future and fall short, they could fall back into a dark age similar to the 1998-2004 seasons.

Likewise, if the Rangers make calculated roster moves with the future in mind, aging and under performing players could unravel the plan just as easily as the “all-in” approach.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Trade deadlines are a lot like a Rubik’s Cube. Just when you think you have all the roster issues solved, one little square will throw everything out of whack.

First it was Keith Yandle who was said to be on the trading block. Fans were saying their goodbyes and wishing the offensive defenseman good-luck with his future endeavors.

But when Ryan McDonagh‘s injuries forced Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault to increase Yandle’s role on the team, he flourished.

In an interview with Larry Brooks of the NY Post, Yandle hinted that his confidence is building:

“The more I have the puck on my stick, the more confident I am with it and the better I see the ice. I don’t know how to describe it exactly, but when you’re on for about every other shift, it’s a different feeling and it’s a good feeling.”

Trading Yandle would be a mistake. He offers an offensively-minded style that not only improves the Rangers blue line, but also their power play.

Carolina Hurricane forward Eric Staal has also been mentioned as a possible asset, but the Rangers would most likely lose more than they would gain from such a trade.

Also, no one needs to hear Joe Micheletti mentioning “the Staal brothers” any more than he currently does.

The danger that the Rangers face stem from players that are currently on the roster though, not the would-be trades.

Some players are aging, some are under-performing, and almost all of them have no-trade or no-movement clauses attached to their contracts.

Rick Nash, Dan Girardi and Marc Staal are all expensive players that have been under-performing and are most likely entering the back end of their careers. These gentlemen are also the no-trade culprits.

Push Stanley Cup dreams back a season or two, and these players may be non-factors.

The lack of production from Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes has hurt the Rangers greatly, as both of these players were expected to break out during the 2015-2016 season. The reality however, has been quite the opposite.

While Kreider and Hayes have started to produce as of late, 11 goals apiece are not nearly what Rangers’ fans have hoped for.

The x-factor moving forward could be the production of these players. If they start to contribute, the Ranger’s situation could change for the better.

Jeff Gorton will need to keep all of the above factors in mind as the deadline approaches. His moves at the trade deadline could either have us bowing down to him or wishing that Uncle Glen would return, cigar and all.

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