Why the Rangers, Islanders and Devils Played It Smart At the Trade Deadline

1. Credit Jeff Gorton for not getting suckered into any outrageous giveaways on Trade Deadline Day. And that goes for the Kevin Shattenkirk move to Washington.

2. We’ve learned in the past that some of the seemingly quietest deals whenever they are made — Ryan McDonagh from Montreal for one example — emerge as the best moves in the long run.

3. The Maven believes that the acquisition of defenseman Brendan Smith will prove to be as good an add to the Rangers D as Shattenkirk to the Caps blue line. And maybe even better. Smith will need a few games to acclimatize to Alain Vigneault‘s system but Brendan will be fine alongside his buddy McDonagh.

4. It sure is a plus that Smith and McDonagh played together for the Wisconsin Badgers and will share the defense as Blueshirts. The added depth provided by Smith will significantly strengthen the blue line core. Plus, he fills the void with both Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein sidelined.

5. Likewise, Garth Snow avoided any panic moves. Sure the month-long talk about either Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog coming to Brooklyn was tempting. Ah, but Colorado’s Joe Sakic’s demands were so outrageous that he found no buyers among the 28 other general managers.

6. By far the best Islanders news today is the return of Travis Hamonic on the blue line. The Big Guy assisted on Brock Nelson’s goal against Chicago and soon should be in mint condition.

7. Meanwhile, Doug Weight has to figure out the Brock Nelson equation. The Big Guy with the blistering shot has been a hot-and-cold scorer throughout his career. If ever the time for “hot,” it’s now.

8. We’ve patiently awaited Josh Ho-Sang‘s Islanders debut and it finally happened on Thursday night in Dallas. Ho-Sang showed nerves of steel and didn’t get wrapped up in all the hoopla. He was very noticeable alongside Brock Nelson and Andrew Ladd. Nor did Josh look out of place in Chicago on Friday night.

9. Doug Weight got a laugh the other day when asked by a newsman, “Will Josh (meaning Ho-Sang) be in the lineup?” To which the Isles coach shot back, “Bailey? Yeah!”

10. Nothing against what G.M. Brian MacLellan has done with his first-place Capitals but right now I’ll match a healthy Rangers defense with ditto on the Caps side any day or night for that matter.

11. I’m with MSG Networks analyst Steve Valiquette in pushing the NHL to revise the offside rule. The Rangers lost a potential win against Washington when Michael Grabner‘s up-in-the-air-leg-at-the-blue-line caused a review and an offside call]= negating a Blueshirt goal. Nix to that. Steve is correct saying if any part of the body is onside — regardless of whether a skate is off the ice, the play should be allowed to stand.

12. According to oddsmaker Jimmy Shapiro, the numbers on the Rangers winning the Stanley Cup currently are 14-1. For the Caps it’s 5-1, and that explains why the term “upset” was invented.

13. My astute Devils reporter Leo Scaglione, Jr. provides a delicious geographic note about the Garden Staters: “When the Devs promoted Blake Coleman it meant that the club had not one but two Texas natives on its roster. The other being Stefan Noesen.”

NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 20: Blake Coleman #40 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the Montreal Canadiens at the Prudential Center on January 20, 2017 in Newark, New Jersey. The Canadiens defeated the Devils 3-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

14. Coleman skated with another Texas native, Justin Greenburg at Miami of Ohio. The Lone Star Trio of Noesen-Coleman-Greenberg all hail from the unlikely hockey town of Plano, Texas.

15. Right this minute my choice of Unsung Rangers Hero is Adam Clendening. Placed in one of those uncomfortable in-and-out roles, the D-man’s work has been admirable, to say the least.

16. This from the insightful Gus Vic: “When Girardi and Klein climb out of Sick Bay, Alain Vigneault will have multiple options on which backliner to dress depending on the playoff opposition.”

17. Any media type who’s had the pleasure dealing with P.A. Parenteau will view his move to Nashville as bitter-sweet. Bitter because he’s always been a class act, and who wants to lose one, but sweet because he has a playoff shot with the Preds.

18. More and more fans are telling me that they so love three-on-three overtime that they’d like it extended by five minutes.

19. With 10-minute three-on-three it virtually guarantees a goal with little chance of the shootout. I still like the shootout but I know a lot of folks who hate the skills competition.

20. Starting Sunday at Calgary, the Islanders conclude their insanely strenuous nine-game road trip. Edmonton (Tuesday), Vancouver (Thursday) and St.Louis (Saturday, March 11) end the expedition.

Islanders Boychuk Leddy Away 021817 Getty

21. Pardon the obvious, but the (above) final quartet of games before returning home on Monday, March 13, will go a long way toward determining whether the Brooklynites make the postseason for the third straight time or not.

22. Ex-Islanders goalie-turned-broadcaster Kelly Hrudey has been on a soap box condemning the Trade Deadline as too nerve-wracking for players.

23. Speaking of the Deadline, Doug Weight opined, “Being uneasy about it is human nature. Some guys were more inclined to be affected by it. Other guys knew they weren’t going anywhere.” Then, a pause and a grin: “Johnny was a little nervous.” (He was referring to Captain Tavares; Tee-hee!)

24. Since it still is “The Bible Of The Game,” The Hockey News and its columnists are to be taken seriously. Hence, listen up to Ryan Kennedy who says of the Blueshirts playoff chances: “The Rangers have been one of the best playoff teams in the East in the past five years — This is the window to win.”

25. A Montreal-Rangers playoff match-up is not beyond the realm of reality. That’s why tonight’s Habs at The Garden game shapes up as Must-See on MSG Network.

26. Many of my Rangers fans buddies worry about a Blueshirts-Capitals match-up. But my sagacious pal, Gus Vic, says not to worry. “For all of the Caps size and brawn,” Vic explains, “collectively the Caps are not very strong when it comes to one-on-ones. They lose far more battles than they should against smaller players.”

27. We’ve seen Nick Leddy return to top offensive form. Exhibit A was apparent on Thursday night in Dallas. No backliner has better, long strides than this Islander. Exhibit A was his piston-like move that eventually found Nikolay Kulemin for the Isles fifth — and winning — goal. The effort was mesmerizing.

28. Thomas Greiss got his goaltending game together on Friday night in Chicago, even though it finished as a 2-1 Shootout loss. But the point was big. It wouldn’t surprise me if Greiss starts all four of the remaining road games on this trip.