Rangers general manager Glen Sather did his due diligence and inquired about Rick Nash and others Monday.
But in the end he found the cost to augment the Eastern Conference’s best club too high on a day in which only 16 trades were made. Thirty-two players and 11 draft picks were exchanged in the transactions.
“We talked to a lot of people today,” Sather said when he met with reporters nearly 75 minutes prior to Monday night’s game against the Devils. “The way the deals were falling out just didn’t make any sense for us. We like our team; we like where we are; we like the youth we have. We have a program in place [and] we want to stick with it.”
Sather would not divulge the specifics of the conversations the Rangers held with other organizations. Instead he characterized the costs for adding players as “a bit high,” before noting that “so many teams are in the [playoff] hunt. The teams that [aren’t] in the hunt, they were trying to get as much as they could to maximize their assets.” The only two teams that are not alive in the playoff race are Columbus and Edmonton.
Interestingly, Sather hinted that Chris Kreider would soon join the organization without actually mentioning the 20-year old center by name.
“We have some other people that will probably turn pro at the end of the school year,” Sather said. Kreider has scored 45 goals and 83 points in three seasons with Hockey East power Boston College. This season he has 36 points (19 goals and 17 assists) in 34 games. The Rangers selected Kreider with the No. 19 overall pick in the 2009 draft.
Scott on board
The Rangers’ lone deal was to acquire John Scott from Chicago for a fifth-round pick. Sather envisions the 6-foot-8, 270-pound Scott as someone who can bring size to both the defense and forward corps.
“He gives us a little more depth at defense [and] he’s a huge guy upfront if we want to play him upfront,” Sather explained, along with noting the Rangers will play 17 games in March. It is a stretch that includes home games against the Bruins, Islanders and Devils, and a visit to the Rock.
“We got some games this month against some pretty rugged teams,” Sather said. “He’s a real good factor to stop any of that kind of fooling around that happens in this time of year.”
The acquisition is curious as the Rangers possess physical elements in Mike Rupp, Brandon Prust and Stu Bickel. The Rangers lead the NHL with 48 fighting majors. Prust’s 11 fights lead the team. Rupp is second with nine fights and Bickel’s seven bouts rank third.
“They’ve done all the heavy lifting this year” Sather said. “If a situation gets to where someone gets hurt, [we] have another asset.” Scott has had four fights this year according to HockeyFights.com.
Richards deja vu
Perhaps more than anyone in the dressing room, Brad Richards knew the uncertainty that had engulfed Brandon Dubinsky and Rick Nash.
Richards’s name had been bandied about at the trade deadline last year as he was a pending unrestricted free agent and the then-financially strapped Stars were not going to be able to re-sign the center.
“You can drive yourself nuts, if you want. It’s not as easy [to ignore trade rumors] now with all the social media,” Richards said. “You just try to hope everything will work out the best for you. It’s part of the job.”
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.