(Source: NY Post) – The Rangers made a splash on Sunday afternoon when they obtained Eric Staal from the Hurricanes in exchange for second-round picks in 2016 and 2017, along with Finnish prospect Aleksi Saarela. The ‘Canes had reportedly been looking for a first-rounder, but Rangers first-year general manager Jeff Gorton managed not to part with that, or with any of his young players on his current roster.
So Eric Staal to the Rangers, huh? I’d say this is pretty much how an ideal trade in the NHL should look. Both teams get a return that’s fair and it seems to fill each of their needs. But is it enough for the Rangers? I say, no.
At 31, Eric Staal is not nearly the same player he once was. The one-time 100 point stud and Stanley Cup champion certainly adds to the Rangers current stable of centermen but I’m just not sure he’s the missing piece that gets them to the promised land. We’re talking about a forward with a great bloodline but also diminishing returns since the lockout shortened 2012-2013 season. He is a career point per game playoff performer, which normally is seen as a big plus, but he hasn’t played in the post season since 2009, and his big Cup run was a decade ago. There’s just a pile of unknowns here as Staal moves from a franchise in rebuild to one that’s contending. Maybe being around an upgraded roster in a new city can kick start his performance to the glory days level.
Carolina on the other hand comes out of this deal nicely. They get two 2nd round picks and a highly regarded prospect in Aleksi Saarela. The Canes now have nine picks in each of the next two drafts, which they could still add to with Skinner, Versteeg, and Liles reportedly still available leading up to the deadline tomorrow. For a team that’s rebuilding yet still just outside a wild card playoff spot this is a really good thing for the franchise. And who knows, maybe Eric Staal wants to pull an Antoine Vermette and resign this summer with the team that just traded him since he’s spent his entire career in Carolina? That’d be quite a move by the Canes. As far as valuing draft picks go, this is now four years in a row without a 1st round pick for the Rangers and in this deal they just dumped a couple more 2nd rounders. That kind of void in the cap era draft will catch up to any franchise eventually.
I’ll give the Canes a B+ for this deal only because I still think they could have gotten a first round pick for Staal somewhere. But Staal would have had to waive his no-trade clause to another franchise willing to part with said pick, and I doubt he wanted to go many other places. I’ll give the Rangers a B on this one because we just don’t know what it’ll turn into. It’s either a shot in the arm eventual A-deal, or a dud C-.
Either way I don’t think it’s enough to get the Rangers the Stanley Cup they’ve come so close to getting recently.