There’s no longer any minutiae about whether or not the New York Rangers are going to be sellers at this year’s trade deadline. Admittedly, I’m one of the last adopters of the approach since, with a drearily weak Eastern Conference and a position in the playoffs, it was too early to forfeit this year at any point before the emotionless loss to Toronto. The players have packed it in, shown little battle, and decimated any hope of title contention this year. But this year’s trade deadline should be the start of New York’s rebuild, not the denouement.
Through April, assuming their Unrestricted Free Agents (UFAs), at the least, are traded off, this is a tank roster, and that should, ultimately, be the goal for the rest of the year. If that’s the case, then Jeff Gorton & Co. must understand that there won’t be an immediate return and embrace a full rebuild next year as well. Tearing it down means not contending until at least 2020, as no return of picks and prospects will immediately bring back the influx of NHL-ready talent this team needs.