In March 1994 I sat down to watch the Rangers take on Mark Messier's former team. The Oilers were in town, and I cranked up MSG just after dinner. Anticipating a great game, I got an extra suprise when the Rangers traded one of my favorite young players Doug Weight for Esa Tikkanen. It was a deal virtually done in the halls of MSG. Weight walked from the Rangers dressing room right down the hall and put on his new jersey all with in a few hours. I remeber the footage of both players meeting their new teammates and then panning the bench to see # 39 now in BLUE,WHITE,and ORANGE. Esa would prove to be the 1994 Sean Avery leading the Rangers to the Cup,and what a cannon of a shot. It was a deal that felt right being conducted at the Garden. It added a headline to a team that already was making them,and gearing up for a drive. It was one of those last few pieces added at the right time.
The Rangers are looking for those final pieces to add to thier 2008 playoff drive. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what they need either. The club still needs a PP QB that will give Roszival some breathing room. They also need another depth foward ( with size ) as well. Last, the club has to at least look into upgrading the backup postion by adding another goaltender to their stable. Here is a quick breakdown....
1) ROB BLAKE , PRIESSING, BOYLE
If the Rangers brought in Blake ( Ankle injury), it would be flash back to 1994. A west coast team in for a visit and then bam a deal. Even though Blake is out of the lineup chances are you would see a former Ranger skating for the Kings the same night. When a fully rested and healthy Blake gets back to join the Rangers,they will have a double threat with #3 and #4 unloading shots. Even if the Rangers chose to split the duo, it then gives them two complete PP units with heavy artillery. This also keeps their rotation fresh in PK situations and for 5 on 5 play. It might take alot to get the deal done. A roster player,a prospect, and a pick looks like what L. A might want back. With Blake out right now it may be a good time to go shopping before his price hits the roof in a few weeks. The Rangers young D-core is able to learn and apply on ice knowlege, with the best of them. Tyutin has made huge strides ( Kasper), Girardi god what a player (Pearn,Strudwick) and Staal (Strudwick) . With no offense to those vets who have helped develop those kids, imagine the influance that Blake could provide. A Cup winning sure ballot H. O. F. that the Rangers could take for all of his knowledge,all of his shot,and all of his character.
The Rangers could look into a cheaper option by bringing in another King. Priessing has not meshed well on the Kings and even more ,the west. He was an underrated player in Ottawa and has been to the finals already. His hunger is still fresh coming off last years loss to the Ducks and he may just know 1 or 2 things about Ottawa. Having an extra card to play in the playoffs goes a long way,and if the Rangers meet the Sens they could use it. Tom Priessing also works well with fluid fowards and I'm almost sure Pearn is familiar with him from his Ottawa days. Priessing also comes to a Rangers team that is battling for a playoff postion and not sitting in last place. It's like adopting a dog ,they stay loyal. Last,he will come alot cheaper and could help right away making his Tikkanen -esk appearance the sme night.
As for Dan Boyle ,I already wrote last week that the Rangers like him. Renny has coached him in the past and he is a PP specialist. They could offer Montoya and Malik as the Lighting look for goaltending stabillity.
2) NIK ANTROPOV, HOSSA
I did some thinking and I think the 6'6" foward could be a great fit in NY. We may have to roll the dice and send Prucha,but the performance of Dawes, Dubinksy, and Callahan lightens the blow. Plus the Rangers are getting back a monster who has some skill and has scored a hat-trick at MSG this year. The Rangers are a small team and with Hossa pretty much invisible and Shanny hurting,they need to add some more. Most eastern Europeans are enamored with Jagr so how about putting him on the other flank. Last year we saw Isbister and Hossa perform on the wing creating room for # 68. In addition, it gives the Rangers a body in front of the net on the PP. When the dust settles after this season your looking at two years left on his deal and a possible line of Anisimov,Cherpanov,and Antropov.
The Atlanta superstar looked great riding shotgun along side Scott Gomez at the Allstar game. Hossa fits right into the Drury/Gomez age bracket and has lit up the Garden for years. The only thing that scares me is his asking price and his playoff history. With the Rangers being patient with Marcel for years I'm sure Marian is aware of their courtesy. A line with both brothers is also an intriguing idea. We have seen the younger brother show signs of power and brillance then disapear totally. Wich brings me to Marian Hossa and his vanishing act in the post season. In Ottawa he never made it out of the first round and last year with ATL Marcel was the only Hossa around. The Rangers will have tons of money to spend in the summer and he could replace Jagr as NY's # 1 Wing.
Ok,ok it seems crazy but hear me out. I have seen Razor play some great games in Boston and Toronto. He has played behind some suspectable defenseman with Ready mix trucks in front of him.He has plenty of athletic abillity and can handle two on ones and odd man rushes with his split saves. Raycroft is a butterfly goaltender who may benefit from working with goaltending guru Benoit Allaire. Working with Lundqvist, Allaire has made sure the Swede stay upright and plays big in net. Razor has talent and with added positioning and a young mobile defense is not far off from being great. The Toronto native will also be walking out of a pressure cooker in which he already has been replaced. He knows that Lundqvist is #1 in NY and all he has to do is be ready when called on and learn from Allaire. The Ducks had Francois Allaire and his two butterfly keepers last year. Bryzgalov and Giggy... enough said. Razor is a former Calder winner there is something there.
Last if Holllweg is given a suspension it will be a blessing in disguise. The Rangers will be able to give another young foward with scoring touch a shot at that 4th line position. Renny could opt to put Strudwick ( speed ????) in there , and call up Ivan Baranka. Baranaka played well against Tampa early this year and is ready for the big show.