In one of the first blockbusters of the trade deadline, the New York Rangers acquired Eric Staal from the Carolina Hurricanes for two second-round picks in the 2016 and 2017 draft and a Finnish prospect Aleksi Saarela.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 28, 2016
The price may seem steep for the aging centerman, but it could end up being a savvy move for the New York Rangers who may be realizing that their time as a Cup contender is coming to a close. The Hurricanes are eating 50% of Staal’s salary for the rest of the year – a pretty big chunk considering he is making $9.5 million this year.
Who is Eric Staal now? Is he a player the Rangers can rely on and hope brings them to the promised land? Or is he a player that is more of the complimentary variety?
As you can see in the graph above, Staal is still an offensive force but at times he is having trouble putting it in the back of the net. This isn’t to disparage the Hurricanes, but the offensive talent on the Rangers should give him a much better opportunity.
For the Hurricanes the return is very, very good. Staal could end up returning to the team in the offseason as he is a UFA, but in the short term, don’t be surprised if the Hurricanes leverage these picks into something bigger come June. They have had a very impressive campaign this year as they continue to improve, but this was a tough call for GM Ron Francis to deal one of their most influential players in team history.
On paper this may come across as a draw, but this trade, like many others are a long way away from being decided. If the Rangers win the Stanley Cup this year (a pretty big long shot) then this may be viewed as a worthwhile investment, but like many moves they have made recently, they are mortgaging the future for a possibility at current success. Definitely a risk proposition for a team that has a closing Stanley Cup window.