The New York Rangers are making it very clear they not only want to make the playoffs, but they want to make a playoff run. Following a 6-0 blowout win against the Washington Capitals, they made their big move — acquiring veteran defenseman and now former Florida Panthers captain in exchange for Tim Kennedy and a third round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
McCabe led the team with a big C on his chest but he did not lead his blue line in goals, assists or points due to missing 13 games earlier in the year with a broken jaw. However, it speaks volumes to his character that the 35-year-old played almost a complete game with that injury.
By grabbing the Ontario native, the Rangers get an offensive talent on the blue line who will not only help their powerplay but could be the triggerman on it. As John Giannone of MSG points out, “McCabe hasn’t been in playoffs since before lockout. Super motivated.” There should be no reason to think otherwise as he made it clear that the Rangers were his only choice.
From a trade standpoint, the acquisition looks to be a low-risk, high-reward type move. McCabe did not cost a bounty in terms of assets, as Arthur Staple points out, and only costs $1,329,301 in cap space for the rest of the season. With the massive amount of injuries which include Marian Gaborik, Chris Drury and Marc Staal all on the shelf, the Rangers can afford to take on McCabe’s salary.
Additionally, his presence on the blue line should definitely help this offensively challenged team as his 22 points would rank third on the team, one point behind Staal.
Similarly, the deal works for GM Dale Tallon and the Panthers as they grab yet another pick in the top three rounds of the upcoming draft while helping the Rochester Americans make a run for the Calder Cup.
Kennedy would need to clear re-entry waivers in order to make it back to the NHL, which he would definitely not clear considering the claiming team would pick up on half of his remaining $127,151 cap hit. The Buffalo native is too good for the AHL — 42 points in 53 games in the AHL — but failed to crack a crowded Rangers roster out of training camp. He likely stays in the A barring an emergency call up.
In summary… (line changes)
Panthers: Dennis Wideman comes back into the lineup or the team will re-call another defender from the AHL, maybe Keaton Ellerby.
Rangers: The team already sent Michael Del Zotto down to the Connecticut Whale of the AHL. McCabe also will take time away from Wojtek Wolski, Mats Zuccarello, Dan Girardi or Derek Stepan as one of them will need to move off the point on the PP.
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