Neil Smith warns Rangers must be ‘really careful’ ahead of trade deadline

Neil Smith was in a similar position with the New York Rangers 30 years ago as Chris Drury is today. So, the former general manager has some sage advice for the man who currently holds the same position with the Rangers.

“I think you need to be really careful with the team chemistry coming down the line if you’re going to bring somebody in that’s going to be a significant cog,” Smith told the Forever Blueshirts Show.

That’s why Smith proposes the first-place Rangers take an opposite approach to last season when they traded for Patrick Kane before the deadline.

“I didn’t think what they did last year was advisable,” Smith explained. “I think Patrick Kane has had an amazing career and is doing some amazing things this year in Detroit. But I think you’ve got great chemistry, you’ve got a tight group. All of a sudden someone completely from the outside comes in and displaces someone from the group.”

WATCH: Neil Smith talks Rangers ahead of trade deadline on Forever Blueshirts Show

That’s why Smith believes it’s best to either acquire depth pieces or a significant player if he has ties to the current Rangers roster.

“If you are talking about a player who one of your leaders has played with in the past, or one of your important players can endorse him to the rest of the players, then it’s a different thing,” Smith explained.

Of course, Smith has experience in this area. Ahead of the 1994 NHL trade deadline, the Rangers were first overall in the League standings and looking to end a 54-year Stanley Cup championship drought. Though he made several trades, each role player had a tie to the Rangers locker room.

Forwards Stephane Matteau and Brian Noonnan had previously played for coach Mike Keenen with the Chicago Blackhawks, where they were also teammates with Steve Larmer. Center Craig MacTavish and forward Glenn Anderson had won Stanley Cup championships with several key Rangers players like Mark Messier, Kevin Lowe, Esa Tikkanen, Adam Graves and Jeff Beukeboom.

“It worked for me, so I believe in that.”

Related: Updated New York Rangers trade board ahead of 2024 deadline

Neil Smith discusses variety of Rangers topics on Forever Blueshirts podcast

Syndication: Westchester
Rangers GM Neil Smith holds up the Stanley Cup after the Rangers defeated Vancouver 3-2 in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals at Madison Square Garden June 14, 1994. Rangers Win Stanley Cup

Here are some other topics discussed by Neil Smith, who was Rangers general manager from 1989-2000:

  • Why Tyler Johnson is an attractive deadline rental
  • Why a Frank Vatrano trade would be so difficult to make
  • Who some intriguing under-the-radar trade targets are
  • What happened to the puck after the final buzzer sounded in Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Final
  • What the inspiration is for his new podcast, the NHL Wraparound Podcast

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

Mentioned in this article:

More About: