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April 6, 2013 | 10:47am ET
Rangers reshape roster with deadline deals
 By acquiring Ryane Clowe and trading Marian Gaborik to Columbus, the Rangers have changed their team for the better.

NEW YORK, NY -- As a general rule of thumb, the team that ostensibly acquires the best player in a deal comes out on top. But often, a trade benefits all parties included, and for the New York Rangers and the Columbus Blue Jackets, their deal made perfect sense.

Much had been written over the course of the irregular season about the strained relationship between John Tortorella and Marian Gaborik. Much was written about that same strained relationship two years ago, when Gaborik looked lost without a true number one center. Well, he rebounded pretty well last year netting 41 goals.

Tortorella expressed to the media that in his time here, Gaborik had become a different player. His nose was near the net, he scored dirty goals, and he played a more complete game when they first acquired him? No, Torts never soured on Gaborik's talent and ability. He may, however, have soured on the lack of consistency from Gaborik, who classically scores in bunches.

"He's a good player, and his game is beginning to come," Tortorella said about his now former winger.

Conversely, it appears Gaborik was the one that had soured on New York, and a system void of offensive creativity with its breakout stifling rushes. A system that grew stale and stayed static more so by the minute, leading to back-to-back shutouts north of the border for the Rangers. A system that especially took its toll on Gaborik, who was benched more than most 40-goal scorers for offensive silence.

It didn't help that Gaborik was constantly shuffled around the lineup, and asked to play left wing to start the year which he confessed was not his preference. It seemed that the arrival of a new star in Rick Nash, may have had the same impact that a family bringing home a new baby has on young children. Gaborik felt pushed to other the side, which he literally was.

Gaborik had strong feelings towards the trade, telling TSN it was good to go to a team that "wanted him."

What the acquisitions of Ryane Clowe, Derick Brassard and John Morre - Derek Dorsett was left off because he likely won't play or make an impact this year - gives the Rangers is much needed depth, and guys that are willing to revitalize a system.

It's not as simple as a stale system, or more accurately stale breakouts and neutral-zone transitions. Tortorella rapidly changed his coaching style from his previous gig in Tampa Bay to his current gig on Broadway.

"Safe is death" became "Play safe or you're dead (benched)."

This was done entirely out of necessity for lack of top-end skill. A system beneficial to the forward corps that donned the Ranger logo across their chest. But after every elimination, Tortorella pined for skill. Skill came, adjustments did not.

The trade benefits the Rangers because the guys brought in will be happier to play the style asked of them, and flourish under Tortorella's low cycle furious pressure until the other team makes a mistake system. Clowe and Brassard - especially Clowe - will help re-imagine the identity of a team that simply had none.

"He is a unique combination of size, skill and toughness," Rangers GM Glen Sather said. "His strong leadership and character make him a tremendous addition to our organization on and off the ice."

Expect to see a different Ranger team over the rest of the season. A team that wears its opponents down, then lets the big guys strike. A team that actually wins with any sort of consistency.

"You can see right away, their energy and enthusiasm to be here. They're really excited," Ranger defenseman Michael Del Zotto noted after his first practice with his new teammates.

Clowe is the missing toughness, and heart on his sleeve player, that fans have longed for all season. He will protect his teammates, but unlike a Mike Rupp he isn't wasting a spot in the lineup, but leaving an offensive black hole. Clowe can play in every situation, and as evidenced by his impact on the Rangers' powerplay in his game with the team, he very likely will.

Brassard gives the Rangers a depth down the middle that they have been lacking. Brian Boyle is not as bad as he has been playing, but they need a center that can actually keep up with some of the speedier guys like Hagelin, who was incredibly ineffective when he was playing with the likes of Boyle and Pyatt at first, because he was so far ahead of the play, and Boyle and Pyatt could not get him the puck.

Brassard is also a former sixth-overall pick, and while most guys have reached their full potential by 25, Brassard may begin to show the tools he displayed at a young age in a different system and with different teammates.

Moore is the wildcard in the deal. It's become evident Gordie Clark - Director of Scouting for the Rangers - is a fan of smooth skating defenseman. Ryan McDonagh happens to have some of the best feet on the back-end in the league, and last year’s first round selection in the NHL Entry Draft Brady Skjei's top tool is his skating.

"He's a tremendous skater, you can see that," Tortorella said of his first impressions of Moore.

The other benefit of the trade is the increased cap space the Rangers - who were peering into the depths of the seventh circle of salary cap hell - will have to re-sign some of their top young guys. McDonagh, along with Stepan and Hagelin will need new contracts as their ELC's are going to need new contracts this off-season. And while Sather classically plays hardball with his restricted free agents, everyone of these young core players are going to command a decent-sized raise.

The Rangers may also explore the option of amnesty buying out Brad Richards, who has not lived up to his pricey contract. Although the forward is a favorite of Tortorella, so it likely won't be this summer if the Rangers can swing new deals for all the guys they want to retain.

The long-term ramifications of the deal are impossible to analyze with the trade only a few days old, but for now, it appears that the Rangers have set themselves up for the present and the future.

Patrick Kearns is a Columnist for and the New York Correspondent for The Fourth Period Magazine. Follow him on Twitter.



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