No question, the Stanley Cup Playoffs rank as the most exciting aspect of the season.
But when it comes to the homestretch, the tension surrounding the annual trade deadline can’t be beat and this year is no exception.
On Wednesday, the National Hockey League clock will be ticking up until 3 p.m. when all deals must be consummated.
As Rangers’ fans know from past experience, some of the most meaningful trades made by the Blueshirts took place between the 11th and 12th hour before the gong signaled END.
By far the year that produced the most significant — and numerous — deals was 1993-94. The melodramatic moments leading up to the deadline never will be forgotten by Rangers fans who were around at the time.
As the Blueshirts were heading for a Presidents’ Trophy regular season Championship, General Manager Neil Smith and his turbulent Coach Mike Keenan bickered over the manner in which the lineup should be altered.
Smith reasoned that, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” since the club was playing so well from beginning to end.
By contrast, Keenan argued for change, His argument centered around the difference between playoff hockey and the regular season.
For one thing, “Mad Mike” was not happy with Mike Gartner, despite the speedy forward’s goal-scoring ability, nor did he think of Tony Amonte as a strong enough playoff performer.
Eventually, Smith saw the light and followed through on his coach’s wishes. By the time the deadline dust had cleared, the Blueshirts had vacuumed their roster of Amonte, Gartner, and another forward, Todd Marchant.
Meanwhile, the following performers were added including Stephane Matteau, Brian Noonan, Glenn Anderson, and Craig MacTavish. All were forwards with an assortment of talent and one common trait — grit.
You don’t have to be a Rangers’ rooter to recall how valuable each of the additions were, nor can anybody forget that they were instrumental in the Rangers winning the Stanley Cup that spring.
With that deal in mind, not to mention many others, The Maven presents “The 9 Best Around The Trade Deadline All-time Deals Made By The Rangers.” In chronological order.
I rated them on the basis that five stars is the best possible deal. Here goes: