To Rangers GM Chris Drury: This isn’t 1994 so don’t mortgage the future for Patrick Kane

To Rangers GM Chris Drury: This isn't 1994 so don't mortgage the future for Patrick Kane
Written by Publishing Team

Rangers Patrick Kane rumors

December 4, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers goalkeeper Alexander Georgiev (40) looks for a puck after a shot on goal from the right wing Chicago Blackhawks Patrick Kane (88) in the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are one of the best teams in the NHL. They are currently in the first metro division after 26 games and will stay there, albeit tied down, even if the Hurricanes beat the Oilers in Edmonton today.

At 18-5-3 for 39 points, they also tied with Minnesota Wild for second overall in the entire league. Fabulous all around.

Statistically, they are making comparisons to the 1994 Cup winning team. However, I urge GM Chris Drury to leave this ending at that.

1994 Rangers were a different team in a different era

In 1994, Rangers were coming into the season considered to be cup contenders. Two years ago, they won the Presidents Cup but fell to the eventual champion Penguins in the second round. They were also a team full of veteran winners and appointed Mike Keenan as coach to take them over the top.

They had Marc Messier, who won 5 Cups with the Oilers, in the lead and a supporting group of greats. Brian Leach, Adam Graves, Mike Richter, Steve Larmer, Kevin Lowe, Sergey Zubov, etc…

The previous season, they traded a promising young Doug Weight position for veteran checking team Esa Tikkanen. GM Neil Smith was intent on bringing in every lubricant he could look like.

Despite this stacked team, in the ’94 deadline trade they spoiled their future once again by replacing 23-year-old Tony Amonte with two mills in Stephane Matto and Brian Noonan. There were other youth-sacrificing moves but winning the Stanley Cup 54 years later was well worth it.

Once all the champagne from Lord Stanley’s greatest gift to hockey was gone, there was no hope of winning another. Neil Smith continued to mortgage the future by trading players like Petr Nedved and Sergei Zubov to vet Luc Robitaille and Ulf Samuelsson.

There was no salary cap either, so the money was randomly spent on veterans like Theo Florey, Valerie Kaminsky, Stefan Quintal to name a few. These players were more like mercenaries than anything else, they came for money but didn’t stick to the contract.

Chris Drury: Don’t stake the future

1994 Rangers
Rangers Mark Messier (11) celebrates the Stanley Cup after Rangers beat Vancouver 3-2 in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals at Madison Square Garden June 14, 1994. Rangers win the Stanley Cup

This season, Rangers should be in the playoff mix or be considered a legitimate competitor when the final trade date comes. There are plenty of rentals to get, but in recent days the question of getting a player like Patrick Kane, if he becomes available, has arisen.

The Longtime Rangers outsmarting writer Larry Brooks recently asked an interesting question: “Would you trade Patrick Kane if you were a Rangers?”

Let’s be clear, the whole premise of the article is speculation. Although it immediately goes back to 1994 and what GM Neil Smith did to end the drought.

Would you get Kane if it cost you Capo Kaku (but not Alexis Lavrinier), Nils Lundqvist (or Zach Jones or Matthew Robertson but not Braden Schneider), Vitaly Kravtsov (but not Coyle or Brennan Osman) and the first manager of 2022?

New York Post

Brooks’ suggestion is akin to the 1994 Rangers essentially sacrificing their future to win just one trophy. Players like Weight and Amonte were given up to get aging vets or treadmills for the holy grail of hockey. It worked, but Rangers didn’t come close again until the 2014 qualifiers. They’ve only made their World Cup appearances since then.

Patrick Kane is awesome but…

Kane, 33, is a Hall of Fame player and would look great on a streak with Panarin again. It comes with a $10.5 million cap that the Rangers can’t afford. So in order for this to happen, Blackhawks would need to eat the full 50% allowed. If they do, it becomes a real perplexing thought.

However, in this age of salary caps, retaining a healthy pool of talented young players on entry contracts is key to winning tournaments. Yes, that is the plural if you understand drift.

Rangers will start to feel a crunch next season thanks to players like Kakko who is out of ELC, and Lafreniere and K’Andre Miller will follow in 2022-23. Although trading 10 years of production from Kakko for maybe two glasses with Kane doesn’t make sense to me in this day and age.

In fact, the real question is how far would Chris Drury go if the Rangers were on the trading deadline and felt they could win the Stanley Cup? With so many viable rentals that will be the UFAs at the end of the season, Drury doesn’t have to take such a step.

Thomas Hurtl for Filip Chytil and the former is more digestible to me if Drury feels he is another striker away from the cup.

At the end of the day, Rangers must learn the painful lessons of 1994. Despite the euphoria at the celebration, I don’t think fans really want this special tournament to last “for life”.

NHL rumors

Tyler Toffoli is an exciting trading chip for the Canadiens, and will the islands try to salvage their season with a move? Read more.

About the author

Publishing Team

Leave a Comment