Michael Grabner is open to returning to the New York Rangers, but first, he is putting all his focus on the New Jersey Devils.
For Michael Grabner, the last three weeks as a member of the New York Rangers was a long one. Knowing he was going to be traded prior to the Feb. 26 trade deadline was one thing, but the question of when and where he was going was especially excruciating.
The 30-year-old enjoyed a great run on Broadway, recording 52 goals and 19 assists for 72 points in 135 games played. He had 25 goals for the Rangers at the time of his trade this season.
Grabner was traded to the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 23, marking the first ever Rangers-New Jersey Devils trade, and, admittedly, he was glad to get that part of the season over with as he told Bret Cyrgalis of the New York Post.
“I was glad it was over. That was my first reaction,” Grabner said. “It was a long couple weeks before that, just trying to think about it, plan it out. But obviously you get reminded of it quite a bit with fans, family, friends. But I was just glad it was over. And my first thought was that it was good, it was close, not too far from the family. Didn’t disrupt the life too much.”
After the trade was made, the question immediately asked was if the Rangers and Grabner should pair up again after this season ends. Grabner will be an unrestricted free agent as of July 1. Would Grabner be up to a reunion with his former team?
“I’m open,” Grabner told The Post before the Devils beat the league-leading Lightning 2-1 on Saturday night in Newark. “I haven’t thought about it, but I’m open to anything. I’m trying to play out my season here, try to have the best possibility of my play here the rest of the year, then see what happens after.”
Grabner could help the Rangers in their rebuilding process but he would probably have to leave some years and money on the table if he were to return to the Rangers next season. General manager Jeff Gorton most likely would not offer more than a two-year contract for the aging winger.
The time for a reconciliation is still a few months away.
For now, Grabner will try to get his New Jersey Devils into the playoffs and worry about his 2018-19 home later this summer.