As the 2002 trade deadline approached, the Rangers were on the outside of the playoff picture, and desperate to find a way to get themselves to the post season. This Rangers team was deeply flawed, and outside of the FLY Line (Theo Fleury, Eric Lindros, Mike York) and Brian Leetch, there wasn’t much to be happy about with this squad. Brian Leetch was getting older, and the next best defenseman on the team was Vladimir Malakhov. The Rangers needed defensive help, and fast. In their haste, they traded a young and promising forward in Mike York and a fourth round pick (Ivan Koltsov) to Edmonton for young and promising defenseman Tom Poti and Rem Murray. When the trade was made, Rangers fans, who had grown attached to York as the first legitimate home grown scoring forward since Tony Amonte, almost mutinied.
York was coming off three good seasons in New York, where he put together a line of 58-80-138 in 230 games. He was flourishing on the FLY line, and was an exciting player to watch grow in Ranger blue. Poti, at the time of the acquisition, was in the middle of a bad year offensively, scoring just 2 goals and 25 points in the 2001-2002 season. The season prior, Poti put together a career year, with 12 goals, 20 assists and 32 points for the Oilers. Although Poti was struggling, Ranger fans were sold on the idea that Poti could become the next Brian Leetch, who’s skills were starting to fade as he got older.