The trade deadline has traditionally been a time when the Rangers add to their roster in an attempt to make a push. In between adding Pavel Bure in 2002 and Eric Staal in 2016, the Rangers added Anson Carter, Sandis Ozolinsh Nik Antropov, Ryan Clowe, Martin St. Louis and Keith Yandle in the days surrounding the trade deadline. Last year represented a bit of a shift in pace, seeing the trades of Ryan McDonagh, Rick Nash, Michael Grabner and Nick Holden. That was a mere sprinkle compared to the monsoon of fifteen years ago, when the Rangers traded away nine players from their NHL roster in a span of a week.
The 2003-04 season opened with mixed expectations. The previous season opened with big hopes, after the big free agent splashes of Bobby Holik and Darius Kasparaitis. Those expectations fizzled quickly, but there was some layer of optimism still there that hadn’t yet been completely snuffed out upon the beginning of the following season.
In Season 3 of Breaking Bad, professional crystal meth producer Walter White was set up with a competent lab assistant in Gale Boetticher. But Walter decided that he wanted his familiar partner in crime, Jesse Pinkman, in Boetticher’s spot. So he staged mix-ups with his assistant and feigned cohesion issues in order to get his guy back.
Some years the trade deadline can be an episode of Let’s Make a Deal, with seemingly endless possibilities behind concealed doors. Other years, it’s much more clear. The 2012 trade deadline was focused on Rick Nash. The 2014 deadline was centered around Martin St. Louis and then-pending UFAs Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi. This season, the two names leading the discussions were Keith Yandle and Eric Staal.
For a long time earlier in the season, it seemed like the Keith Yandle leaving the Rangers at the trade deadline was inevitable. The situation seemed to shift when McDonagh went down with a concussion on February 6th, and Yandle oddly went from playing 3rd pairing minutes to leading the Rangers in ice-time nearly nightly in McDonagh’s absence.
While the application of Rule #1 is pervasive and obvious, Rule #2 has specific relevance to the early season discussions on the play of Keith Yandle. I think our memories left unchecked can be less than stellar evaluators of players like Yandle. Read more