Looking to upgrade their skill level up front, the Columbus Blue Jackets turned the tables on the New York Rangers and put a package together for a high-priced scoring winger.
Numbers Game analyzes the Blue Jackets bold move for Marian Gaborik.
The Blue Jackets Get: RW Marian Gaborik and D Steven Delisle.
Gaborik, 31, is struggling through what may be his worst NHL season since his rookie year of 2000-2001, scoring nine goals and 19 points, with a minus-8 rating in 35 games.
While Gaborik does have a positive shot differential this season, he's also starting more than two-thirds of his shifts in the offensive zone, which makes his lack of production all the more troubling.
Nevertheless, setting aside what has obviously been a disappointing season, Gaborik has been a premier goal-scorer throughout his career, scoring more than 40 goals three times and more than 30 goals seven times in his career.
In Columbus, not only does Gaborik get a fresh start, but he also gets to turn back the clock somewhat. He's played with both current Blue Jackets Artem Anisimov and Vinny Prospal when they were with the Rangers, so that familiarity, from better, more productive times, could help Gaborik get back on track.
With the Blue Jackets surprisingly within a point of a playoff spot, the addition of Gaborik does give them a chance to make a playoff push. Whether they make it or not, it's not bad for the Blue Jackets to make this move in the short term, to keep fan interest, so long as it doesn't upset the long-term plan for new GM Jarmo Kekalainen.
Under contract through next season, Gaborik comes at a hefty $7.5-million salary cap hit but, for a team seeking a potentially elite scorer, that's not an unreasonable price, particularly because the term involved isn't like taking on a massive long-term contract. The Blue Jackets may want to get him signed to an extension and, if you want to sign a big scorer to a contract extension, doing it when their value isn't at its peak is a way to secure potential value.
Of course, that price could be much too expensive if Gaborik doesn't recapture his scoring form.
22-year-old D Steven Delisle, who has played primarily in the ECHL, was moved in order to create contract room. He was initially acquired by the Rangers from the Blue Jackets as part of the Rick Nash trade last summer.
The Rangers Get: C Derick Brassard, RW Derek Dorsett, D John Moore and a sixth-round pick.
Brassard is a 25-year-old centre who broke into the league with some offensive success, scoring 25 points in 31 games as a rookie in 2008-2009, before injuring his shoulder in a fight with James Neal, who played with the Dallas Stars at the time.
Brassard has failed to produce at that level since, topping out at 47 points in 2010-201, but moving to the Rangers will give Brassard an opportunity in a secondary role. Down the middle, he slots behind Brad Richards and Derek Stepan, so while ice time may not be as easy to come by, Brassard could find himself in more favourable matchups to provide secondary offence for the Rangers.
Brassard, whose contract runs through next season, comes with a $3.2-million cap hit, so he's not cheap for that role, but with the Rangers sending Gaborik's salary the other way, they likely needed to take at least one significant deal in return.
Currently out of the lineup with a broken collarbone, 26-year-old Derek Dorsett is a scrappy winger who led the league with 235 penalty minutes last season, a total which included 19 fights. Doesett has been given more responsibility in Columbus, playing a career-high 15:59 per game this season, while handling the responsibilities of a checking forward, with more starts in the defensive zone and facing a decent level of competition.
When he is healthy, Dorsett may not be required to handle quite as big a role in New York, but his toughness will help fill a void created when the Rangers lost Brandon Prust as a free agent last summer.
Dorsett is under contract for the next two seasons, at a cap hit of $1.633-million.
22-year-old defenceman John Moore is a smooth skater with good size (6-foot-3), who has played a limited role in his NHL career to this point, averaging 15:28 time on ice per game in 86 career games.
Not only does Moore give the Rangers immediate depth on the blueline, he's still developing and could play a more significant role in the future. His entry-level contract expires this summer, at which point he'll be a restricted free agent. Given his production to this point in his career, it shouldn't require a major financial commitment to get him signed to a new deal.
The Rangers have struggled to score this season, yet still felt okay dealing away Gaborik, who has two goals in the last 22 games. They will have to hope that recent additions Brassard, Ryane Clowe and Mats Zuccarello will be able to help inject offence.
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.