Neil Smith

Architect of Rangers ’94 Cup team: Don’t trade for Rick Nash


Neil Smith — the general manager that built New York’s 1994 Stanley Cup-winning team — said the current Rangers shouldn’t make a deadline deal for Columbus captain Rick Nash.

He also doesn’t think the Blue Jackets should be trading him.

“I wouldn’t trade for a huge player at this point when you’re sitting where the Rangers are,” Smith told the New York Daily News. “I wouldn’t trade Rick Nash if I was in Columbus. And the reason is, those [top-tier] guys, you only get a shot at those kind of guys once in a decade, if that.”

Smith is still working with the Rangers organization as the president and GM of their ECHL affiliate in Greenville. In addition to being familiar with the organization, Smith is familiar with swinging big at the deadline as he made five trades prior to the 1994 trade deadline:

— Todd Marchant to Edmonton for Craig MacTavish

— Mike Gartner to Toronto for Glenn Anderson, Scott Malone and a fourth-round pick

— Tony Amonte and Matt Oates to Chicago for Stephane Matteau and Brian Noonan

— Phil Bourque to Ottawa for future considerations

— Peter Andersson to Florida for a ninth-round pick

As you can see, these were no small deals (Fun fact: Smith made all five deals on deadline day.)

Gartner was the team’s second-leading goalscorer that season while Marchant (20 years old at the time) and Amonte (23) were good young prospects — but the players netted in return were absolutely crucial to New York’s success. Noonan ended up being the Rangers’ fifth-leading playoff scorer, Anderson and MacTavish provided invaluable experience and Matteau scored one of the biggest goals in franchise history:

In light of this, it’s funny to hear Smith telling the Rangers to stand pat — though he did state that, with MVP candidate and All-Star goalie Henrik Lundqvist turning 30, the time to win might be now.

“You’ve got to calculate all those different factors when you’re thinking about when is the right time to go for it — you always go for it — but when you would risk more than other years,” Smith said. “I think because of Lundqvist’s age and where he is in his career this late, it’s a time when they want to try to think that they’ve got a chance to do it now rather than wait.”

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?