New York Rangers mortgaging future for shot at Stanley Cup now

Subtlety does not win you a Stanley Cup. That, anyway, was the message the New York Rangers bellowed as Monday’s trade deadline came and went.

The New York Rangers left little time in getting newly acquired defenceman Keith Yandle out on the ice. The Rangers are hoping he will unlock their power play. Bruce Bennett / AFP
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Subtlety does not win you a Stanley Cup.

That, anyway, was the message the New York Rangers bellowed as Monday’s trade deadline came and went.

Last year’s finals losers clearly want another shot at the silver trophy, making the most dramatic personnel moves for the stretch run and the looming post-season.

The eye-opening trade was with the Arizona Coyotes for Keith Yandle, a 28-year-old All-Star defenceman who is not shy about pushing the puck.

“I’ve been shopping for this guy for awhile,” Rangers general manager Glen Sather said.

“He’s the type of player I like. He plays the style our team plays.”

And then some.

The Rangers notably faltered on the power play last spring in the finals against the Los Angeles Kings. Yandle’s 24 power-play assists lead the league.

The Rangers bolstered their depth, as well, adding young forwards Carl Klingberg and James Sheppard, and a veteran defenceman in Chris Summers.

Just as important as the Yandle pickup was the signing of veteran forward Mats Zuccarello to a four-year, US$18 million (Dh66.1m) extension.

Zuccarello was approaching free agency this summer and the Rangers reportedly were shopping him around the past couple of weeks.

In the end, the franchise opted to end the suspense.

It is all about “Win today.” The price, of course, was a familiar one in New York: “Goodbye tomorrow.”

The Rangers gave up, among other pieces, their first-round pick in 2016, their second-round pick this year, and perhaps their best young prospect, dazzling 19-year-old forward Anthony Duclair, to the Arizona Coyotes.

The Rangers have not drafted a first-rounder since 2012 and will not have another until 2017.

A youth movement is the last thing on their minds.

“First-round picks are valuable,” Sather said. “But you have to give to get. Giving up the assets we had to make the deal work, that was just part of the deal.”

The Rangers are 21 years removed from their last Stanley Cup title, so their impatience is understandable.

They currently sit atop the Metropolitan Division, tied with the New York Islanders, behind only the Montreal Candiens for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

Rangers goalie, Henrik Lundqvist, is widely regarded as the best in the NHL. Star forward Rick Nash is in the midst of a career year, with 38 goals, behind only Alex Ovechkin.

Best of all, the Rangers are on a roll. They have won 10 of their last 12 games, and picked up a point in one of the losses.

All of that has happened since Lundqvist was injured in early February, with back-up Cam Talbot in the net, proving it is not a team that needs its hallmark player to succeed.

Fellow Eastern contenders, Montreal and the Pittsburgh Penguins, have been patching holes in recent weeks, as well. But neither could claim the kind of prize Yandle represented as trade season closed.

Yandle, of course, was thrilled to go from the wreckage of the Coyotes’ season to Broadway.

“It’s going to be a lot different,” said Yandle. “In Arizona, you kind of fly under the radar. Here, you can’t hide from the lights. So it’s going to be fun.”

Fun is one way to put it. Full-throttle serious about winning the Stanley Cup is the other.

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