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N.Y. Rangers vs. Columbus Blue Jackets preview: Trade deadline approaching

With the fawning over Lundqvist’s greatness part of the article over, it is time to move on to the more pressing issues at hand. Let’s set the scene though. The Rangers are currently three points behind the NHL-leading Detroit Red Wings and have three games in-hand. They are possibly the best defensive team in the NHL (they are second in goals against and fifth in penalty kill percentage), and score a high amount of goals as well (they are currently 11th with 2.8 goals per game).

They have a home-grown unit that contributes to their dynamic team chemistry, and every player knows his role. Amazingly, they have gone two for two in big free agent acquisitions, with the additions of Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards fitting brilliantly. Both players have bought into coach John Tortorella’s team style (they both play great defense and block shots), bringing their fine playmaking and scoring touch with them to the Big Apple.

Now this is where the article gets exciting if you are a Devils fan or a fan of any other team in the NHL other than the Rangers. The team’s nucleus is in danger of being blown up any day now if New York pays the king’s ransom for star player Rick Nash of the Blue Jackets. To do this, they likely would be giving up a high-quality intangible (gritty player Brandon Dubinsky), the increasingly valuable blue-chip prospect (Chris Kreider), and something along the lines of NHL-leading plus/minus defenseman (Michael Del Zotto, or maybe a Ryan McDonagh or Marc Staal, all of whom are in their early 20’s), along with possibly a first-rounder or another blue-chip prospect.

This could potentially wreck a very special team that’s only real “weakness” is its powerplay which a) is 5-20 in their last five games and b) not the most devastating weakness a contender can have considering the Bruins won the Stanley Cup with that same problem just last year. But general manager Glen Sather loves to make the big splash, so don’t be surprised if the Blueshirts deflect the “Linsanity” to themselves within the next week by tinkering with a very finely tuned machine.

Rick Nash is one of the best two-way players in the game, and believing that his amusingly incompetent general manager, Scott Howson, will correctly broker this deal is a bold assumption. But if Howson correctly demands two established NHL talents, the blue-chip prospect and a first-rounder, and gets it, and the Rangers part with either Del Zotto, McDonagh, or Staal, the team will suffer a fatal wound by shattering their victory wine glass.



 

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