Shopping Shanahan?

02Feb07

(Note: This is speculation — not rumor! Don’t take it as such, please!)

It wasn’t that long ago that things were mighty rosy on Broadway. The Rangers had the league’s leading scorer, started off the season in first place, and Brendan Shanahan looked as good as he did ten years ago. Sure, Henrik Lundqvist was a little shaky, but things were rolling and life was good.

Now the Rangers are teetering on the brink of another non-playoff season. Everyone’s calling for a firesale out of Philadelphia, Boston, and even Toronto, but wouldn’t it make a little sense for the Rangers to trade off their assets?

The Rangers top-four scorers all have solid totals, and on paper the combination of Jaromir Jagr, Michael Nylander, Martin Straka, and Shanahan looks pretty strong. However, it’s no secret that Jagr and Shanahan are essentially in the last 2-3 years of their careers. Nylander and Straka are over 30, and then what?

Petr Prucha is the Rangers’ best young player and he had an impressive rookie debut. A sophomore slump has him with only 12 goals so far this season, but one has to think Prucha’s talent should help him at least be a solid second liner in the long run, if not more. After that…well, unless Marcel Hossa gets a DNA injection from his brother Marian, it’s pretty slim pickings for the Rangers forward youth. Simply put, the Rangers future up front isn’t pretty.

On the blueline, Fedor Tyutin has performed below expectations and Michal Rozsival‘s not bad as he approaches 30. Karel Rachunek can be a #3 or #4 guy at best, and Marc Staal has the potential to be an impact player just like his brothers. The Rangers aren’t terrific on defense, but they’re not bad considering their lack of name players — their goals-against is around the top third of the league, and they should get better with time.

In net, the Rangers remain strong. Despite some inconsistency from Lundqvist, no one doubts that he’ll be a #1 goalie, and Al Montoya remains a top prospect. So the real question is who will score for the Rangers? If Jagr’s hurt or unhappy, it won’t be him. Shanahan will give it his all, but he’s only got a little gas left in the tank. After that, the well’s run a little dry.

In theory, even if the Rangers got on a roll, their window for Stanley Cup contention is two years at best thanks to the ages of their top forwards. If they fall out of the playoff picture, suddenly all that money looks like a big fat waste. So, what’s Glen Sather to do? With the trade deadline just a few weeks away, everyone’s whispering the names of Mats Sundin and Peter Forsberg, but should the Rangers be sellers?

The strongest trade asset Sather has is Shanahan. Now Shanahan may not want to move, but he’ll bring a lot back in return. This is a guy who’s still in the hunt for the Richard trophy, even at age 37. He’s a warrior, a natural leader, and a guy that pretty much everyone likes in the locker room. He can help a power play and he can punch in dirty goals. For any team needing skill, grit, and leadership — even for just one year — trading for Shanahan could mean the difference between a long run and a quick exit. Plus, he’s a free agent after this season, so there’s no long-term salary cap impact. It’s simply a Cup-or-bust move a la Doug Weight last year.

Because Shanahan brings all those qualities to the table, if Glen Sather leaked that he was available you can be certain that a bidding war would start. I’d be that Shanahan’s trade value is much higher than Peter Forsberg’s (due to Forsberg’s injury history), and the Rangers could get some quality youth in return.

I’m not as certain with Jagr, who has a history of disappearing when he’s not motivated. Jagr’s stated that he loves playing for Tom Renney and he loves New York. With his wild mood swings (cue the Cure’s underrated album of the same name), teams may be hesitant to trade for him.

The Rangers have some other trade possibilities, such as Montoya, but no one would start a bidding war faster than Shanahan. You’d get some GMs tripping over themselves just to prevent rival teams from getting him. Shanahan’s stated that he’s happy in New York, but Glen Sather may want to look at the bigger picture — trade him, get a ton in return, then try to bring him back next season to finish what he started.

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6 Responses to “Shopping Shanahan?”

  1. 1 Fauxrumors

    1) How much do you think Shanahan would get back? Teams usually don’t want to part with an active rsoter player
    2) Among the many reasons this will NOT happen is that by trading Shanahan the rangers would be admitting to their fans they are out of it.
    3) Additionally, Shanahan has been the defacto captain on a team very thin on true leadership. His departure would leave a void more than at forward
    4) We see Shanny resigned to a 2 year deal, and the rangers active ‘buyers’ at the deadline, unless the wheels fall off between now and the end of this month

  2. 2 NYCWickedWrister

    I’m not sure you watch the Rangers enough with a comment like this: On the blueline, Fedor Tyutin has performed below expectations and Michal Rozsival’s not bad as he approaches 30. Karel Rachunek can be a #3 or #4 guy at best, and Marc Staal has the potential to be an impact player just like his brothers. The Rangers aren’t terrific on defense, but they’re not bad considering their lack of name players…

    Tyutin has been fine on defense. Malik, Ward, and Rachunek have been the main problems. Their defense is among the league’s worst if you watch them consistently. The +/- #s of Malik are deceptive because he plays with Jagr. Staal should already be here, but Management hasn’t handled that well.

    They have younger players, the management just isn’t willing to play them. They’d rather play stiffs like Hossa, Betts, Ward, Hall, Orr, and Krog as they rotate line partners for Shanahan.

    Sure you can trade Shanahan for parts, but the last time the Rangers traded all-stars for parts (see Kovalev to Montreal) they acquired players that are no longer with the organization (see Josef Balej). It’s time for a clean sweep of management at the Garden.

  3. 3 Mike Chen

    Fauxrumors — The way I look at it, you already have teams clammoring for broken parts in Forsberg. Shanahan’s been consistent and he provides so much of what teams need to get over the hump. If there’s already a high price for Forsberg, I gotta think Shanny — and his health and intangibles — would go for even more.

    His deal is up after this season. Yeah, it’d be waving the white flag for this season, but if you’re in 10th/11th/12th place at the deadline with an aging core, why not get something in return and try to resign him later?

    This is, of course, all assuming that the Blueshirts don’t find the consistency they’d been lacking since around December. If they turn things around and find some consistency, I definitely agree with you and see GS being a buyer.

    NYCWickedWriter, you’re right in that I’m not a devoted Rangers fan. I watch them a bit on Center Ice but I’m usually flipping between a bunch of games at once. I know Rachunek’s been pretty awful at times, but I’m more talking about his potential — he had definite flashes of steady in Ottawa, and he may eventually turn out to be a decent #4 guy. Not this season, though. Regarding Tyutin, I was referring to his point total — maybe cause I drafted him in a fantasy league, I was hoping he’d offer up a little more help on the PP!

  4. 4 NYCWickedWrister

    Mike, I’m not saying you need to be a devoted Rangers fan, I’m just saying your opinions seem to be based on statistics and old opinions rather than actually seeing the team play (whether it be Center Ice or anything else).

    Rachunek hasn’t shown any of hte potential that was visible in Ottawa and he’s become a defensive liability. Tyutin’s point total doesn’t reflect his defensive play. He’s the only defenseman who constantly throws a hip chick. He doesn’t even play much on the PP as he’s on the 2nd unit and with Jagr being on the 1st unit, the 2nd unit only gets about 30 seconds of PP time. He’s shown good maturity at the position over the course of the year.

    We all crave better fantasy performance, but just because a guy is putting up good fantasy numbers, doesn’t mean he’s having a good season (see Micheal Nylander). I’m sorry if this is supposed to be fantasy focused, it’s just missing the point.

    Malik and Ward are the main problems on defense. They’re playing 20+ minutes a night and they continue to make mistakes. +/- might be a good judge statistically, but Jagr affects that total, and their actualy defensive play is inferior.

  5. 5 Anonymous

    Good points on Shanahan. He could definetely go for some picks and/or prospects. I can see him playing just about anywhere. A team would give up plenty for his playoff track record. The Rangers really have two choices- trade off Shanahan or give him someone to play with. Hell bring Forsberg in (i’m perfectly aware the chances of this happening are about 0 but i’m bored with the lack of trades.)

  6. 6 Anonymous

    Ha! Shanny turned down Detroit for the same $ he took from NY and turned down L.A. which offered more $…if he gets traded to some off beat team, his wife will KILL him! The whole point of this was to get closer to her family and their permanent home outside of Boston.


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