Toronto Maple Leafs forward Brooks Laich was placed on waivers today. A player of his stature might fit with the New York Rangers.
Brooks Laich feels like he can still contribute to an NHL organization. He now has that opportunity. On February 26, 2016, Laich was traded from the Washington Capitals to the Toronto Maple Leafs. He played a few games to conclude the 2016 season and was poised to start strong with the Maple Leafs come next season.
Boy, was he wrong.
The Toronto organization decided that Laich was better off in their AHL affiliate to nurture the young talent in the organization. Laich was not happy to say the least.
As reported by Joshua Kloke of “The Athletic,” Laich was quoted saying, “You don’t win a Stanley Cup playing in the American League. If the Leafs don’t have a plan for me with them then I would like to pursue a Stanley Cup somewhere else.”
That sounds like a hockey player eager to win a Stanley Cup. That sounds like a hockey player the Rangers should be interested in.
Brooks Laich has compiled 331 points in his 764 career games with 134 goal and 197 assists. More importantly, Laich’s power forward mentality, grittiness, and physicality are what the Rangers should be interested in.
The Rangers have lost their physicality over the years and often find themselves overmatched and outworked by the opposition. Come playoff time, this is an important void that needs to be filled. Laich can add that element in a bottom six role, would stay close to GM Jeff Gorton’s price range as a pro-rated acquisition for helping out on the penalty kill and is a proven grinder. At the very least he adds the kind of forward depth that Pirri, Lindberg, Fast or Puempel were acquired to provide. That would free any or all of them as to be trade bait in the upcoming week prior to trade deadline.
Laich has one year remaining at $4.5M against the cap. Money might be an obstacle for a cap-tight Rangers team, but Toronto might also be willing to play ball. some salary might be retained by Toronto making it a more feasible acquisition.
Laich has the potential to contribute physically and offensively during a long, exhausting Stanley Cup Playoffs. Is Jeff Gorton interested in adding a chippy, skilled player? Only time will tell. In Gorton we trust.