The Zionist Conspiracy
Monday, November 28, 2005
26 games into the season, the Rangers are a shocking 16-7-3, their best start in a decade.
The Rangers latest victory came on Saturday night, in a 15 round shootout that finally ended when defenseman Marek Malik improbably beat Capitals goalie Olaf Kolzig.
I still don't like the shootout and found the 15 rounds to be more tedious than exciting. Of course, I was pleased with another win.
While the Rangers have been winning, their two glaring weaknesses have been the lack of an effective offensive defenseman - especially on the power play - and the lack of a second scoring line, particularly since Martin Rucinsky was injured.
Rucinsky will probably be back soon, but with the Rangers playing so well, the question is whether they should look to upgrade their roster via trade. They have around $4 million of salary cap space if they decide to make a move.
New York Post writer Larry Brooks has called upon the Rangers to look into acquiring Anaheim right-wing Petr Sykora and bringing back longtime Ranger defenseman Brian Leetch, now with the Bruins.
Any move would risk messing with the Rangers chemistry and youth movement, but I think Sykora and Leetch would both be great fits if the price is reasonable.
The Rangers top line and goaltending have been good enough that players like Leetch and Sykora could make them into real contenders. Both have won the Stanley Cup and Sykora almost won a second with the Mighty Ducks, who lost to the Devils in 7 games in the 2003 Cup. The Rangers are reminding many of the 2002-03 Ducks.
If Sykora is available for less than a first round draft pick, I'd trade for him. Sykora would not displace young Ranger forwards like Blair Betts, Jed Ortmeyer or Dominic Moore. Petr Prucha also would probably still remain on the roster. If Sykora's arrival meant that underachieving Marcel Hossa was sent down, there's nothing wrong with that. Youth should not automatically guarantee a roster spot.
Similarly, Leetch would take ice time from Tom Poti - who has been a huge disappointment since being acquired a few years ago from Edmonton for Mike York - and rookie defenseman Maxim Kondratiev. Kondratiev, who is 22 and was acquired from Toronto as part of the Leetch trade, has been rather shaky and might benefit from some regular playing time in the minors this season. Next year, Poti will likely be gone so Kondratiev would be back in a significant role.