The Rangers pulled off a very savy trade yesterday for Eric Staal. Staal isn’t the player he once was, but he provides the Rangers with a lot of flexibility. They can slot him in at center on the third line, moving Hayes out of that spot, and deepening their overall roster. Or they can put him on the wing, and let him add experience and grit to one of their top lines. Having him as a wing gives you a very good face-off guy on the ice as an alternate to your center. Don’t underestimate the impact of that in a playoff series.
And the price was right. This is a team built for today, so renting Staal makes sense. They needed another piece and they got it, the problem is Staal doesn’t solve their problems on the penalty kill or their defensive malaises this season. But ultimately this team is a team built around a goaltender. It’s still up to Henrik to carry them across the finish line.