With injuries still lingering on the Rangers blue line (including Sauer’s recent setback on his road to recovery), the Rangers have an interesting choice to make. Larry Brooks recently discussed the notion of the Rangers acquiring a defenseman in the coming weeks. It makes sense that they would consider it, but exactly what type of defenseman they go after is another issue altogether – and here is where the dilemma lies.
According to Brooks, the Rangers have supposedly long held Tim Gleason in high regard, but he should only be an option if Sauer is out for the season. The Rangers need to decide sooner rather than later, whether they want help for the powerplay or depth (and size?) on the blue line.
The Rangers have had a great season so far and the way the defense has collectively played over their talent level because of the injuries on the back end suggest they can do so for a while longer. However, this team cannot go deep in the playoffs with the way the powerplay is performing this season. So often in the post season it’s a good, tight defense and great special teams that win you games and playoff series.
The Rangers have the stingy defense, they have an excellent penalty kill, but they have failed to win a few games this season because of their inadequate power play; which brings us back to the dilemma facing the Rangers. Brooks is absolutely right that the team should acquire a blueliner. However, what kind of blueliner they go and acquire could be critical. It could have a massive impact on just how successful this season could be.
If the decision goes in favour of an offensive defenseman then there are a few options available, however, all come with an element of risk. The likely available players include Marek Zidlicky (former Ranger draft pick) who has been a consistent 40 point defenseman in his career but has been in the Minnesota Wild doghouse this year. So far he has failed to repeat his usual power play production and carries a $4m contract for next year.
The Avalanche, who have been very inconsistent this season, could make Kyle Quincey available. He is another player capable of putting up points and the Av’s already have Erik Johnson. Quincey likely holds more appeal than Zidlicky, as he is a restricted free agent after this season.
Then there are the kind of players the Rangers are routinely linked to such as Sheldon Souray. Big shot, short term contract, but he didn’t impress the Rangers enough to pick him up on waivers during his time with Edmonton, so has half a season in Dallas changed their opinion? Unlikely.
The Rangers decision on the type of defenseman they (may) go after would likely be influenced by the quality available. This is where the problem lies as most players available come with significant question marks. So while the Rangers may indeed go after a blueliner the choice is far from an obvious one at this stage of the season.