(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Talk of the New York Rangers trading players away has already started. Not only is this mind-boggling, but it’s completely ridiculous.

At 10-9-2, the New York Rangers are just about a .500 hockey team right now. They have taken their fans on a crazy roller coaster ride; a horrid start to the season, a six-game winning streak, then dropping two in a row and finally winning their last game, which by the way, was their sixth in a row at home.

They are 21 games into this season and some are already talking about how the Rangers are a bubble team, so they should look at moving players who have contracts ending soon. An example is Ryan McDonagh, who some believe could be a good player to move for the value he could bring to the team. I may write about Rangers hockey here at ESNY, but understand I am a fan first, as many of you already know.

The Rangers have some concerns with contracts, but that is part of the process. This team can not, this early in the season, legitimately discuss moving a player like Michael Grabner or McDonagh. Not now, in the month of November, with 61 games remaining and the team currently positioned in eighth place in the conference.

For a quick review, let’s take a look at the Rangers’ contract status with regards to unrestricted free agents at the end of this season and next season.

Unrestricted Free Agents after 2017-18

Unrestricted Free Agents after 2018–19

Do you believe the Rangers should dump the season by trading Grabner or Nash prior to the trade deadline? A better question is what are the plans for the future of these two players? An even better question would be what are the future plans for Zuccarello and McDonagh? Trading McDonagh now, a year before he is a UFA, could land the Rangers some pretty good players and/or draft picks for the future. But what would that say to the team and the fanbase? I understand the response of plenty of fans who haven’t been happy with McDonagh’s play, but is trading him now a real option?

Thankfully, that decision lands on general manager Jeff Gorton and the organizations big wigs at Madison Square Garden.

From a business standpoint, one could understand why this discussion is taking place. The future of the team can be more important than the present at times, but I do not be like giving up on what the team has now.

Alain Vigneault has looked for chemistry all season and, slowly, it has begun to form in a positive way on the ice. Yes, the team is in desperate need of a center. The defense has not played to its potential and the offense is not scoring often in five-on-five situations.

But there are plenty of positives too.

Henrik Lundqvist has been standing on his head and continues to keep the Rangers in games. Mika Zibanejad has 10 goals and 20 points on the season already. Kevin Shattenkirk has been stellar with point production. Pavel Buchnevich has been playing very well and scoring goals. Kevin Hayes and J.T. Miller has done everything asked of them and more so far this season. Boo Nieves, who didn’t even start the season with the Rangers, has fit in nicely as the fourth line center.

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 06: Kevin Shattenkirk #22 of the New York Rangers (l) celebrates the game winning power play goal by Pavel Buchnevich #89 (r) against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Madison Square Garden on November 6, 2017 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Blue Jackets 5-3. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

I just can’t see the organization giving up on this team. Today, to some, the Rangers may look like a bubble team, more on the verge of missing the playoffs rather than getting in. We have to remember the NHL regular season is a marathon and not a sprint. Reaching the top eight is the finish line for the marathon part, then it’s a sprint to reach 16 wins first.

The fan in me never thinks the Rangers are that far away for getting to the finals. Yes, I have been accused of being blinded by the love of the team, but so what! That’s what being a fan is all about. I think the Rangers should wait before moving any players right now.

Its very hard to predict how the team will look in the standings come mid-January, but that is the time to re-evaluate what the team is and where they are heading.

Making a deal now, that would not improve the team at this time, could be looked at as throwing in the towel after a quarter of the season played.

I think it is much too early for that.


A graduate of St. John's University class of '91. I have been a fan of the New York Rangers since the days of Peter Puck. Founder of Ranger Proud, the Facebook page that covers all news, notes, pre /post-game stats, and player quotes. I can be reached at Nyrfc12@gmail.com