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Brad Richards' Price Too Hefty

Alex Silverberg

On the eve of the trade deadline, all eyes are on Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk as he decides whether to hold on to or ship away star center Brad Richards. But all Ranger fans are paying more attention to their own GM, Glen Sather, to see if he is willing to mortgage the future in order for a slim chance at the Cup.

Although past reports have indicated that Sather is on the same page with head coach John Tortorella in keeping the young and talented "core" of the team in tact, the NY Daily News states that Sather is "determined" to land Richards by the 3 p.m. deadline tomorrow. If the GM is truly determined that means that at least a part of the core is going to have to pack their bags for Texas.

As of last week the rumored cost of Richards was Marc Staal, Brandon Dubinsky and Derek Stepan. Make no mistake, Richards is a world-class talent who can certainly bring Marion Gaborik back to his high-scoring ways, but to ask for the team's top D-man, it's points leader and a Calder Trophy candidate is absolutely ridiculous. Even a straight up trade involving any of these guys for the 30-year-old Richards would cause chaos among the Blueshirt faithful.

However, if Sather is so "determined" to acquire Richards instead of waiting for the summer when the Rangers can throw the most money at this year's biggest free agent (as they've done in the past), he is going to have to give up some good, young talent. My prediction is that if the trade does go down, Dallas will receive one of our forwards and one defenseman plus cash and picks. Artem Anisimov has been mentioned in trade rumors as has 21-year-old Evgeny Grachev. One of these Russians plus either the surprising Michael Sauer or the disappointing yet immensely talented Michael Del Zotto would be the main players in a deal.

The player I can live without the most is Grachev, a potential dominating power forward. Grachev has yet to put it all together but has the raw tools and the time to live up to everyone's expectations. And although Del Zotto has taken a step back this year, most people forget that he is only 20 years old and has the puck-moving skills of no other defenseman in the Rangers system. Anisimov, meanwhile, is becoming one of the best two-way players on the team while Sauer has become a above-average defenseman with a good amount of grit. These players are part of the core that Tortorella and the rest of the league highly covets.

Glen Sather has truly worked some magic this season in acquiring streaky scorer Wojtek Wolski for MSG scapegoat Michal Rozsival as well as PP QB Bryan McCabe for basically a third-round pick. I don't think it's possible to cast a spell on Nieuwendyk the same way. If this deal goes down the Rangers will have to give up part of their future. I can only hope that Sather realizes that if he stands pat the team will be a perennial playoff contender with top young talent instead of the big name, no chemistry clunkers of his much maligned past.


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