(UPDATE: 4/4/13- Ryane Clowe got the monkey off of his back last night! He scored two goals and added an assist, for 3 points and was awarded the games first star! Hell of an impact by Clowe, as well as the new players the Rangers got in the Gaborik trade)
Yesterday, the New York Rangers pulled off a trade for San Jose Sharks forward Ryane Clowe. Now, this trade surprised me a little bit, as I thought he was going to the Flyers or Wild. I thought when the team made the Rick Nash trade last summer, a major trade wouldn’t have to happen this year, but that’s not the case. The Rangers currently rank dead last in the NHL for goals scored with 79, while first place leader Pittsburgh has 122 goals! Even the damn Islanders have 105 goals scored and are currently in 8th place!
With the talent the Rangers have, not being in a playoff spot right now is completely unacceptable. The Nash trade hurt the team more than many thought (Note:I would make this trade 10/10 times) as the Rangers lost the middle of the order “grinders”, such as tough guy Brandon Prust, as well as heart and soul Brandon Dubinsky. But to Rangers fans, it is all about goals scored, and many fans who see that Clowe has zero, yes ZERO goals scored so far this season, shake their heads and wonder how this move helps the team. To put Clowe’s season in perspective, New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur has more goals this season than Clowe. This trade has brought out all of the “sky is falling”, whining end of the world fair weather Ranger fans, saying this team is done and stupid for trading for this guy. But many of these fair weather fans need to wake up, and realize it is more than goals! Again, I know the Rangers are in last, but what great goal scorer is out there that will just jump right in and help us score? Tortorella’s system doesn’t allow offensive creators do what they do best, in my opinion.
Here is the statement from Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather on acquiring Ryane Clowe (from NHL.com)….
“We are extremely pleased to be able to acquire Ryane, He has a unique combination of size, skill and toughness. His strong leadership and character make him a tremendous addition to our organization on and off the ice.”
Rangers fans need to look past the fact that Clowe has zero goals. Yes it sucks, and it is an ugly statistic to have. I wish Clowe could have scored even one goal so we wouldn’t be talking about this drought he is in, but that is not the case. The Rangers aren’t bringing Clowe in to score more goals. Surprisingly, the team has the goal scorers despite being last in the league. Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik really need to step up their games, as they only have 5 and 9 goals respectively. If these two players scored some more goals, there is no doubt in my mind the Rangers would be sitting in a playoff spot. Derek Stepan has stepped up as of late, and Rick Nash, Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin can all carry the scoring burden.
So where does Ryane Clowe fit in? Do you remember Brandon Prust? Rangers fans certainly do. Many fans have been condemning this trade for Clowe, yet say how badly we need Prust back. I love Prust, he is one of my favorite players and I loved his time here in New York. The guy scored 5 goals last year and had a total of 17 points. Despite Clowe having zero goals this year, he still has 11 points! Like Glen Sather said, he is big (6’2″, 225 pounds) and tough. The Rangers were one of the top teams in fighting majors last year, with 65. Yet if anyone has watched a lot of their games this year, that fighting, grit and edge the team played with last year is gone. No one fears Arron Asham anymore, our only tough guy. How many times do we have to see Lundqvist get a snow shower or Callahan get into a scuffle a fighter (like Asham) should be getting in? How about when Kreider got hit by the Penguins a few months ago? No one did anything! I am not saying Orpik’s hit was dirty at all, but if this happened last year someone would have gone at him. After Orpik hits Kreider, he just skates away while no Ranger does anything! Clowe will stand up for his teammates, and open up the ice for the offensive players. Put him on a line with Gaborik and Richards, and he will make sure no one messes with either. This will give more comfort to these two players, who have been playing soft this season.
Finally, can Clowe score? He is on a bad run, and many San Jose Sharks fans have called him snake bitten, getting so close to scoring. Despite having zero goals, the Sharks still sent Clowe out onto the ice and play some big minutes, so his impact must have been felt in other areas of the game. Clowe has 271 points in 423 career games, as he put up 45 points last year and 62 the year before. The man knows how to score, and maybe a change of scenery will help him to score some goals. Again, in Tortorella’s system though, you can’t be so sure anyone will score on a consistent basis.
The Rangers gave up their second round pick in the 2013 draft (no first rounder due to the Nash trade) a third round pick obtained from the Florida Panthers and a conditional pick in the 2014 draft. The 2014 pick can be a fifth rounder, however, if Clowe resigns with the Rangers, or the team wins two series in this years playoffs, the pick will turn into a second rounder instead. This is a steep price for a “rental” player, as there is only 13 games left in the season and Clowe will be an unrestricted free agent after this year. I feel that the Rangers can sign the 30 year old to an extension, and get him on the cheaper side due to his down year. The Rangers signing Clowe won’t hamper our chances of signing some of our big names over the next two summers, I believe. This will be a good move for the Rangers, but they need to make the playoffs, it is absolutely imperative they do. There is no excuse the one man team that is the New York Tavares’, I mean Islanders, being ahead of us.
Hopefully Clowe can provide the grit, toughness and physical play this team has lost. This is a great move for depth, and allows Tortorella to play more lines consistently and send Chris Kreider or JT Miller back to the minors. Judging from the sadness of his teammates and Shark fans alike, I am pleased with this trade, and I believe that Clowe will win over many skeptical Rangers fans before the end of the year.
Ryane Clowe fights