One thing Jack Eichel knew about Tuesday’s game against the Rangers at the Garden was that he wasn’t going to be serenaded by 18,000 fans saying « We don’t want you! » To sing. like Rick Nash when he walked into town with the Blue Jackets eight days before the 2011/12 cutoff date. Nash scored the decisive goal 1:33 in regular time before Derek Stepan won it for the good guys in extra time.
(How would Eichel know that? Well, there could only be 1,800 fans in the building for that one.)
Nash used to be the shiny apple of the Rangers eye, the winger whom then General Manager Glen Sather saw as the missing link in the team’s Stanley Cup aspirations. It had been headline-making stuff, with the blueshirts willing in the first place to part with a fairly substantial package to include the winger in their line-up.
The Rangers, as reported at the time, featured Brandon Dubinsky , 2011 first class JT Miller, Tim Erixon, Christian Thomas and the 2012 first round selection in exchange for Nash, who had a no-trade clause and therefore was able to choose his target after asking about the multi-year rebuilding process in Columbus.
But then-GM of the Jackets, Scott Howson, was greedy. He wanted more. In fact, he asked for either Ryan McDonagh or Michael Del Zotto, Stepan or Carl Hagelin, the rights to Chris Kreider, junior at Boston College, Dubinsky, and a first-round player.
It was relatively easy for the Rangers to reject this outrageous demand. The fans weren’t exactly against the takeover of Nash per se, but they didn’t want the Black and Blueshirts roster, which had turned out to be a surprise team in the NHL, to be disbanded. (Surprise, then head coach John Tortorella didn’t want to split the team either.)
The Rangers reached the conference finals before being annoyed by the Devils in six games. Months later, of course, Sather got his husband (and a third-placed who became Pavel Buchnevich) for the package from Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Erixon, and a first-class that was the equivalent of the offer before the deadline.
Fast forward through multiple clashes, a Presidents’ Trophy, a trip to the Stanley Cup final, and a disappointing playoff production of Nash prior to his deal with the Bruins in 2018.
The center wants out when he and his constantly suppressed Sabers are theirs Making way to Manhattan amid what appears to be the tenth consecutive season out of the playoffs and sixth in a row since Eichel was voted second overall behind Connor McDavid in 2015, Draft. Freshman Buffalo Kevyn Adams, GM, may be in no hurry to house Acorn.
But when it gets real, the Rangers will be at the forefront of contestants, whether before April 12 or in the off-season. It’s very Ranger-like to hunt shiny objects, but there’s a difference here. Acorns would not be superfluous. It wouldn’t be a luxury item. He is needed. He is also 24 years old. No, Marcel Dionne, here.
The mysterious demise of Mika Zibanejad has meant that the blueshirts urgently need to tackle their problems in the middle. It’s no longer about Ryan Strome’s viability as a long-term second-line center. It is no longer about deepening problems through the organization. Rather, it’s about the first point at which the hierarchy idea was determined due to Zibanejad’s emergence in the last two seasons.
Of course, there was an insane end last year, a season with 41 goals and 75 points on a schedule of Made 70 games in which Zibanejad played 57 competitions. This strengthened Zibanejad’s references as the upper level center. In the past two years the 27-year-old Swede has collected 149 points (71-78), 20th place in the NHL overall.
But this year? According to NaturalStattrick.com, 166 strikers had been on the ice at least 5:00 p.m. at 5:00 p.m. by Monday. Zibanejad was 166th and last in production, with one point (one assist) in 237-10. Zibanejad of course still has one year of contract before he can become a free agent after 2021-22. It seems impossible for the Rangers to extend it over the summer.
This creates the urgent need for a first-line center. Now, you might find that Eichel ranks 149th among the qualified strikers in the five-on-five production with five points (1-4), but this is largely due to an organizational dysfunction, not a deficit in his play . Nobody questions his status as a stud.
The Rangers would have to pay for Eichel, who has five years left to close a deal that is a fixed price of $ 10 million a year, there’s no doubt about that. It’s nearly impossible to conjure up a scenario where the blueshirts could fit in with the Boston University product that played for Rangers coach David Quinn in college, unless Zibanejad (with a no-move clause) is part of it of the package going the other way. But summer is coming and the possibilities will be endless, albeit expensive. Nash-like expensive.
But the opportunity could have inspired 1,800 fans to sing: “Yes, we want you! Yes we need you! «
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