I was reading Larry Brooks’ piece on Sunday about the decade in hockey (which was excellent, by the way). For the second week in a row he mentioned that worst draft day ever, when the Islanders traded Roberto Luongo and Olli Jokenen to Florida for two stiffs, Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha, then drafted Rick DiPietro instead of Marian Gaborik and Dany Heatley, among others. And just last week I was thinking the Isles also had Zdeno Chara and the draft pick that became Jason Spezza (both dealt for Alexei Yashin).
Got me thinking about the what-ifs around the Rangers. Obviously they could have drafted better through the years, especially Neil Smith’s final years and the great Hugh Jessiman mistake by Glen Sather.
But what if they could have just undone some bad trades and not made some bad signings.
They could right now have a first line of Mike Knuble, Marc Savard and Marian Gaborik. They could have Marek Zidlicky on defense and Ian Laperriere on their third line, and maybe Sergei Zubov would still be playing, but if not he’d be a Rangers immortal by now. And if they weren’t handcuffed by the Drury and Redden signings, they’d have had some cap room to compliment Gaborik’s signing this past summer.
But that also got me thinking about this past summer. If you could go back and do the Gomez deal and the Gaborik signing all over again, then undo the other stuff … would you rather, right now, have Zherdev and Antropov and Orr and Sjostrom and Korpikoski on your forward lines than, say, Higgins and Boyle and Lisin and Kotalik and Brashear?