Rangers interested in Leafs defenseman, Roman Polak could mean more deals are coming
According to Mark Zwolinski of The Star, the Rangers could be one of several teams interested in stay at home defenseman Roman Polak. Could this mean that there is a change of heart on the Rangers current situation on defense?
Polak is a decent size defender (6’1″, 235lbs) who can clear the crease and protect Henrik Lundqvist. Currently, his cap hit is 2.75M AAV. At the age of 29, he still has a few good years left in him should the Rangers opt to re-sign the pending UFA this summer. The cost according to Zwolinski would be a 2nd round pick, but Polak is considered a rental and it’s likely that a 3rd could get the deal done.
There is no doubt that this is a significant shift from a recent statement made by Vancouver GM, Benning that the Rangers are happy with their defense. I guess leaving a man alone in front on an almost nightly basis will do that. Still, who does that put out in the cold?
The Rangers will not risk losing Dylan McIlrath, especially after the kid has shown that he will be ready to take on a full-time job with the team next season. Keith Yandle is still the most likely to be dealt simply due to his free agent status this summer.
Could the Rangers be looking at Polak as a 3rd pairing defender this season? One with 9 years of NHL experience that can kill penalties and clear the crease. Does this open up an option to move Keith Yandle in a package deal for an elite forward? Or at least someone who can thrive on the top two lines?
Of course there is an outside (albeit slim chance) they move Dan Girardi. He does have a limited no trade clause, so it isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Although if we are honest, they consulted with him before signing Daniel Paille today. To me that at least indicates how much they value Girardi in the organization.
The bottom line is this, the mere fact the Rangers are interested in a veteran defenseman tells me two things:
A) They don’t trust Dylan McIlrath down the stretch and in the playoffs
B) Something is about to go down. A shakeup could be coming that will either make or break the 2015-2016 Rangers.
Let us know what you think in the comments section below.