Hey, I was busy at “the other job” yesterday but I spent a bunch of time here reading the comments, and especially enjoyed some of those about trading pretty much everybody because of a 2-5 start.
Never mind that a lot of the excuses are fairly legit: The nonsensical preseason trip that wrecked training camp for a new coach with a new system, a nine-game road trip that included games against three California powerhouses in four nights followed by another against a Western favorite in St. Lous; not to mention the ridiculous injuries that have just taken the heart out of what was already a thin top-six forwards. Those are legit, kids.
Then comes the reality: That a lot of the players still standing haven’t played well at all, starting with the goalie(s).
And that’s where we’re going to start, with the “Trade Henrik Lundqvist for a big-time forward, or for prospects” idea.
I’m not saying you’re completely off-base in this regard: If you could get a John Tavares, or a Sidney Crosby or a Steven Stamkos for Lundqvist, and thought you could find a goalie not as good as Lundqvist but better than average … well, I’d say go for it.
But that’s not happening for a few reasons, none of them this mysterious little injury that he has developed.
First, you’re not getting a player like that for Lundqvist, especially with him being an unrestricted free agent. What team is going to give you a franchise forward, or defenseman, for a rental. Ditto for a top prospect.
Some mentioned a guy like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Well, Edmonton needs a goalie. Edmonton, though, isn’t close to contending. Lundqvist isn’t going to re-sign with Edmonton, then, so they’re not giving up a top prospect for him.
A team that acquired Lundqvist would have to be close to contending, really in need of a goalie, and with cap space. That team would then have to be somewhat confident it could re-sign him, otherwise it’s not giving up top return.
Mostly, though, the Rangers won’t trade Lundqvist because that would be throwing in the towel, and this franchise is never going to throw in the towel. This franchise will do what it must to make the playoffs every year. And if you put in the caveat that the Rangers might be out of it by the trade deadline and convinced he isn’t coming back, so they’d trade him then, well, mathematically that’s not very likely at all … not in the Lesstropolitan Division of the Leastern Conference.
(Remember, all the other Leastern teams also have to go play at Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose and St. Louis, too).
I think Lundqvist wants to be here. I think the Rangers are going to figure it out, and whether Rick Nash comes back soon or not, I think they are going to be right there in the playoff battle. They can’t do it without him, obviously. They won’t give up and trade him. And, actually, I expect him to re-sign before the season’s over.
He has been a big part of the problem so far, along with the non-existent offense, the terrible play by most of their top defensemen, the preseason trip, the nine-game road trip, the new coach, the new system and the injuries. They cannot overcome average play by Lundqvist.
But of all the problems they’ve had, the most easily fixable one, I sure think, is Lundqvist.
Photo by the Associated Press.