By Brian Monzo
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The trade deadline is right around the corner (Monday, February 28th). There have been a good amount of trades in the last week that saw names like Tomas Kaberle, Chris Stewart and Erik Johnson change teams. As the season winds down, the Rangers are indeed going to be in the market for a few things. This, along with the news that forward Marian Gaborik is out for undisclosed amount of time with a concussion, certainly presses the need for a forward, as well as the obvious need for a offensive defenseman.
When it is all said and done, there are three names that have been linked to the Rangers as the deadline approaches:
Brad Richards - Dallas Stars/Center (24 goals, 39 assists in 56 games) - The biggest unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. After a terrific start, the Stars have started to fade, re-igniting speculation they may deal the playmaking center.
They did move James Neal and Matt Niskanen to the Penguins for Alex Goligoski, in turn saving them some money, so they could perhaps attempt to re-sign Richards. There is no doubt Richards will hit free agency in my mind, and with the Rangers dire need for a center, they could gamble and try to bring him to New York. The asking price for Richards would be deep, perhaps two active players, a prospect and a draft pick, but if it gives the Rangers a better chance to sign come July 1st, it would be worth it.
Ales Hemsky - Edmonton Oilers/Right Wing (13 goals, 27 assists in 42 games) - Hemsky has a lot of talent (393 career points in 485 games), but has shown signs of not always showing that talent. He has been noted as being lazy and has had some injury issues.
Still, he is an amazing skater and has a great set of hands. With a team lacking offense like the Rangers, he would be a good addition. He is an UFA at the end of the next season and it's been reported that the asking price for Hemsky, 27, could be two prospects and a draft pick.
Bryan McCabe - Florida Panthers/Defenseman (5 goals, 17 assists in 45 games) - Bryan McCabe would likely be the easiest to acquire out of these three. At 35-years-old, McCabe can still be a quarterback on the power-play and be a top defenseman.
His days of 60 point seasons are over, but he can still be very effective and log minutes. He is making over $5 million, but is an UFA at season's end, and unless he takes a huge paycut, I would see him as more of a rental for a playoff push. He shouldn't cost more than a 2nd/3rd tier prospect and a mid-round draft pick.
The Rangers have certainly fallen into a funk since the All-Star break, and have gone 2-7-1 in their last ten games. They are losing the games they were winning earlier in the season. I don't think Glen Sather is going to be quiet on the deadline.
Keep it here on WFAN.com as Neil Keefe and I blog about the deadline all week.
Follow me on Twitter for updates: BMonzoNHL660
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