For the first time in recent memory, hockey's biggest US market made the least splash on arguably the NHL's most decorated non-playoff day.
There were no major trades, salary dumps, veterans acquired for the playoff push. There were two depth moves to help the AHL Hartford Wolf Pack's injury situation and give the Rangers an emergency 7th defenseman, if necessary.
Instead of a Sheldon Souray or Tomas Kaberle, the Rangers acquired Kris Newbury and Anders Erikkson, both of whom will have little to no impact on the playoff chase in New York.
Following the 3 pm deadline, many throughout the Rangers fan base, blogosphere, and media were critical of the lack of player movement from GM Glen Sather. From what we've been told, Sather did try to make a move or two, but the price was simply too high.
It's easy to look at what should have been done, like moving out a big contract such as Wade Redden's. The debate raged on for weeks in regards to whether the Rangers were "buyers" or "sellers," but in reality they couldn't really be either.
In order to be a seller, you need to have a team willing to take on your bad, veteran, or expiring contracts in exchange for prospects and picks. No NHL team is going to reasonably take on a Redden or Michal Rozsival in an even swap. For a team, particularly at the deadline, to take on a contract like that, the Rangers would have to throw in a sweetener.
Rival GM's know this and are of the mindset, "We'll take your bad defensive contracts, but we also want Brandon Dubinsky or Marc Staal." Essentially, they have Sather in a corner. So then there becomes the discussion of whether losing an asset like Dubinsky is worth alleviating the cap hit and gaining whatever player you get back in return.
Ultimately, that's what happened. Sure, Sather could have swung a deal for a player like Ryan Whitney or Peter Mueller, but he would have had to sacrifice an integral piece to the Rangers puzzle.
Frankly, it wasn't worth it.
Aside from the cap situation, the Rangers honestly didn't have much to sell. Could a team have used a player like Vinny Prospal? Sure, but he is a major factor and leader on this team and they are still in the playoff hunt. No member of MSG Management is going to simply allow Sather to tank the last part of the season while they are so close. No member of Cablevision is going to say, "Glen, we brought in Marian Gaborik, but we're OK with rebuilding."
It's not reality.
Aside from Prospal, no team was going to take on Olli Jokinen for similar reasons as Redden and Rozsival. Who else on the roster has value to a contender? Chris Drury? Ryan Callahan? Of course, but Sather isn't going to move them.
Truth be told, when most fans and media talk about selling and rebuilding, they are referring to the contracts and Redden and Rozsival and the potential for a draft pick return for Prospal and possibly Erik Christensen.
On the flip side, the Rangers couldn't be buyers either for the same reason. A perfect example is the trade of Mueller from Phoenix to Colorado in exchange for Wojtek Wolski. Which Ranger player is equivalent to Wolski? Callahan, maybe. Would you be willing to give up Callahan for Mueller? Didn't think so.
One player who we touted on Pucks on Broadway, Whitney, was moved and could have been a help for the Rangers. But, Anaheim received Lubomir Visnovsky in return from Edmonton. Is any Ranger defenseman in the same scoring category as Visnovsky? No. So, again, the Rangers would have had to sweeten the deal.
It just didn't make sense long term.
Criticize the Rangers for the right reasons: poor early round drafting, bad veteran contracts, and signing too many similar players. But on this trade deadline, Sather got it right. He had little to work with and he wasn't sacrificing the future for the sake of a half-assed playoff run.
Agree or disagree, the Rangers are far better today and the future for the lack of careless moves yesterday.
Thanks to all of those who joined us for our day-long live chat. Special thanks to Bruce Berlet of the Hartford Courant, Jess Rubenstein of Prospect Park, Jonathan Ragus of NYR Nation, and Blueshirt Bulletin Assistant Editor Greg Donahue for stopping in and sharing their toughts and analyses.