Rangers Rumors & News
This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 15th, 2008 at 6:06 pm and is filed under Hockey, Rangers Rumors & News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

jagr1.jpgOn ESPN.com today, Scott Burnside looks at the 21-20-5 Rangers in the wake of their latest disappointing loss, a lop-sided 4-1 defeat in Pittsburgh. The Blushirts have dropped six of their last seven, and find themselves last in the Atlantic Division, ninth in the East. Despite the much-hyped acquisition of Chris Drury and Scott Gomez in the offseason, their offense ranks dead last in the NHL, averaging just 2.37 goals per game.

Burnside believes that the Rangers need to do something more dramatic than tinkering at the trade deadline if they hope to turn their season around. GM Glen Sather should consider trading captain Jaromir Jagr, says Burnside, a move that could serve as addition by subtraction. The article doesn’t go out of its way to bash Jagr, as some ESPN personalities have in the past, but rather suggests that the current dynamic in New York is simply not working, and the economics of the new NHL being what they are, Jagr is the most “logical piece to move.”

Funnily enough, this same discussion reared its head prior to last year’s trading deadline, however, it makes a lot more sense today with Jags sitting in the final year of his contract and the front office mum on their intentions to resign the 36-year-old superstar for next season.

I have said since training camp that the Rangers painted themselves into an interesting corner this offseason. Their disinterest in bringing back Michael Nylander illustrated that their eagerness to build around free agents Gomez and Drury outweighed their interest in Jagr’s ego and comfort, perhaps for the first time since Jagr arrived here. It also cast doubt on whether management saw room for Jaromir on the roster beyond this season. You could argue that the team has already put themselves in a salary cap situation that allows little leeway for Jagr.

Ideally, the 2007-2008 season would have played out as a graceful passing of the torch, however when do transitional years ever run that smoothly? The Rangers should have known better, in this fan’s opinion.

Burnside states, “It goes without saying that there would be a market for a player of Jagr’s immense talent,” which is interesting because it was only last season that Barry Melrose stated, “No one wants Jaromir Jagr.” If Burnside is correct, and a team like Colorado, San Jose, or Vancouver would be interested in dealing for Jagr at the deadline, then the Rangers should listen hard. Adding a valuable asset in exchange for an expiring one is exactly the sort of move the team needs to pursue if it hopes to return to the Stanley Cup Finals in this new salary cap age.

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