Sunday, February 24, 2019

N.Y. Rangers: The Jeff Gorton Purge Continues


New York Rangers: Mats Zuccarello traded to the Dallas Stars in exchange for two conditional draft picks.

Traded in the midst of his ninth season with the Rangers, Mats Zuccarello has always been considered one of off-Broadway's brightest stars, and will forever remain a fan favorite.

An extremely smart player both with and without the puck, he had a knack for being everywhere his line mates needed him to be.  Also never one to shy away from physical play or steer clear of the dirtier portions of ice, Mats continually demonstrated himself to be an explosive player in a small package.  And for the last five-plus seasons he has easily been one of the team's top forwards, and often times their best.

And there's the rub ...

Taking account of Rangers personnel over the last seven years is to know Mats Zuccarello should never have been the team's top scorer; not with the likes of Rick Nash, Chris Kreider, Ryan Callahan, Brad Richards, Keith Yandle, Kevin Hayse, J.T. Miller, Derick Brassard, Derek Stepan, etc., populating the roster.  Yet between 2013 and 2018, Mats Zuccarello did just that, leading the team in scoring four out of five seasons with an average of 56-points - an indictment against the players, if I may, with whom through the years Zuccarello has been surrounded with, including the man who assembled them together, Glen Sather, whose cap-consuming win now business model inevitably proved ruinous.  This is why the Rangers find themselves in this present condition of tearing it down and rebuilding from the ground up.

I liked MatsZucs as much as the next fan.  But if it's change that you seek, well then things must get worse before getting better.  As such, many of life's best decisions usually start out being the most unpopular ones.  So touche to Jeff Gorton for picking up where he left off last year insofar as trading away players of value for draft picks and prospects; the more, the merrier.  My only gripe is that Gorton has still not gone far enough (last year included). 

But there's still time to jettison more players before Monday's deadline.

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