Top 5 New York Rangers offseason moves
Although we are not in the off-season officially, it sure feels like it since we’ve already had a trade. I wanted to take a look back at five of the Rangers best recent off-season moves as a precursor to what could be an interesting summer/fall for Jeff Gorton.
Best Rangers offseason moves #5 – Jacob Trouba
In an absolute stunner of a move, Gorton acquired former Winnipeg Jets defeseman Jacob Trouba for the incredibly average blue-liner Neal Pionk and the 20th overall selection in this year’s draft. A pick that originally belonged to the Jets, mind you.
Although Trouba had a difficult time adjusting, he is still only 26 years-old and was obtained for a low price. We will see where this goes, but right now it stands at number 5.
Best Rangers offseason moves #4 – Ryan McDonagh
Without question, Glen Sather’s biggest heist in his 15-year tenure as Rangers general manager. Somehow, some way, Sather convinced Bob Gainey and the Montreal Canadiens to take on the absurd contract of the grossly overpaid forward Scott Gomez. The complete trade was as follows:
“The Rangers sent Gomez, forward Tom Pyatt and defenseman Mike Busto to the Canadiens in exchange for forward Chris Higgins and defensemen Doug Janik, Ryan McDonagh, and Pavel Valentenko.”
McDonagh was thought to be a throw-in of sorts. Little did anybody know that #27 would become a beloved captain of the Blueshirts and be the cornerstone of the Ranger blue-line for several years. Jettisoning Gomez and his onerous contract paved the way for Sather to sign the Slovakian sniper Marian Gaborik soon after.
Best Rangers offseason moves #3 – Artemi Panarin
Artemi Panarin was the most sought after unrestricted free agent to hit the market in years. The entire league understood he was a game breaker and team maker. Before he signed with the New York Rangers, the Florida Panthers, New York Islanders, Columbus Blue Jackets and Colorado Avalanche were among the most mentioned teams in the hunt.
This season, Panarin’s 95 points led the team in scoring and recognized by the NHL and NHLPA. On the strength of 32 goals with 63 assists, he is up for Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award.
He is undoubtedly the Rangers best free agent signing in a long while. And when it is all said and done, Panarin may one day challenge for number one on this list.
Best Rangers offseason moves #2 – Adam Graves
As the 1991-92 season approached, former general manager Neil Smith continued to look for and add character and leadership to the Ranger locker room. Smith signed little known Edmonton Oilers forward Adam Graves to a restricted free agent contract.
The rules pertaining to free agency were far different and somewhat archaic back in those days. Without boring you with the details, an independent arbitrator had to rule on what was considered adequate compensation for Graves. Then-Oilers boss Glen Sather demanded some of the better Ranger prospects. Smith offered the rugged enforcer, Troy Mallette. Smith won the arbitrator battle. Graves was a Ranger, Mallette was shipped off to western Canada and the rest is, as they say, history.
Best Rangers offseason moves #1 – Mark Messier
In case you were wondering, the biggest theft/heist in Rangers history, the acquisition of Mark Messier in October of 1991, was consummated just after the season had already started and did not fit the criteria of this piece….but hell we will add it anyway because without Messier the Curse of 1940 would’ve never ended.
Note: Large portions of this article are thanks to contributor, Jeff Weinstein.
Editor’s Note: The Mika Zibanejad trade should be on this list. At least in place of Trouba. Expect another list after free agency with that one on it.