In a perfect world for the New York Rangers, the idea of having to trade a heart and soul player like forward Brian Boyle would never be brought into consideration. Unfortunately for New York, they have found themselves in an imperfect situation and are running out of options. The idea of moving Boyle’s salary by finding a trade partner is becoming a very real possibility as we inch closer to the 2013-14 NHL season.
With the Rangers struggling to negotiate a new contract for center Derek Stepan, the time may have come for GM Glen Sather to start getting creative with the team’s roster in order to gain salary cap flexibility, and with Boyle owed $1.7 million in the upcoming season, he seems like the most sensible player to move.
The Rangers are currently around $2 million under the cap, but need more space if they want to see Stepan in camp any time soon. The NHL allows teams to be 10 percent over the cap into September, at which point the franchise must get under.
Along with Boyle, players like Arron Asham and Darroll Powe may be on the outside looking in if Stepan continues to miss significant time. Both Asham and Powe have cap hits of $1 million and are more than likely going to be healthy scratches to start the season, or may find themselves down with the Rangers AHL affiliate if the team doesn’t trade them.
The return for a player like Boyle would more than likely be comprised of a mid-level prospect and one or two draft picks. Although he has not lived up to perhaps unrealistic expectations on the offensive side of the ice from the Rangers’ fan-base, Boyle is well liked in the clubhouse. A gritty player and one of the top penalty killers in the league, the Rangers would certainly miss having Boyle around.
Powe and Asham would not bring in as much return in a trade, but still have enough value that there would be teams looking to add their veteran presence.
Priority No. 1 for Sather and the Rangers is to get their top center in camp as soon as possible. As of now, it looks like neither Sather nor Stepan’s agent seem to be willing to budge. With contract negotiations at a stand still with Stepan and the first game less than a month away, it is time for the Rangers front office to start looking at all their options and it should start with the idea of trading Boyle in order to help get their No. 1 center back into camp.
Martin Burns is a New York Rangers’ and sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter.