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Rangers landing Pierre-Luc Dubois could come at painful cost

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Rangers landing Pierre-Luc Dubois could come at painful cost 1

Teams do not collect a stable of upper-echelon prospects under the illusion that one day, they will all be in the lineup. On the contrary, assets are collected in case someone like a 22-year-old Pierre-Luc Dubois shows up on the market.

Of course, the Rangers are monitoring the situation in Columbus, where yet another marquee player has made it known that he has no interest in signing on for the long term. But if you think the Blueshirts would be able to acquire Dubois, the first-line center selected third overall in 2016 while current Rangers president John Davidson was running the Blue Jackets’ operation, without feeling pain in the transaction, you are delusional.

Yes, the Blue Jackets would probably like a center in return. Immediately, your mind leaps to Filip Chytil. So maybe a combination of Chytil and Matthew Robertson or Tony DeAngelo? But what if they want K’Andre Miller? Oh, you’d prefer to substitute Vitali Kravtsov for Miller?

But is Columbus really going to allow Dubois to stroll back into the embrace of Artemi Panarin, with whom he combined for 1,699 five-on-five minutes during their 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons as teammates, for any of these combinations?

If the Rangers ask about Dubois, then the Jackets would be pretty well obligated to ask for Alexis Lafreniere in return, don’t you think? And if Lafreniere is walled off, Kaapo Kakko would have to be next in line, and because Kakko is a wing while Dubois plays the middle, figure that the Finn alone wouldn’t be enough.

So Kakko and Chytil? Or Kakko and Miller? Kakko, Chtyil, plus? The price would be that high.


Scott Niedermayer once sat out months in a contract dispute with Lou Lamoriello. So did Jason Arnott. So did Billy Guerin. Sean Burke once sat out a full NHL season over an impasse with the monolith in the New Jersey front office.

That was then and there. This is here and now.

The Mathew Barzal situation was always merely a hiccup. It was perhaps the most benign contract dispute in NHL history, seemingly orchestrated to give Lamoriello’s Islanders just enough time to put their cap house in order before getting No. 13’s approval on a three-year contract worth an annual $7 million cap charge that will bring the brilliant center within one year of unrestricted free agency.

Oh, I forgot.

What happened to the Summer of the Offer Sheet?


Old news, perhaps, but if the Lightning and Blues are in line to reap massive bonuses connected with long-term injured reserve during the playoffs if, respectively, Nikita Kucherov and Vladimir Tarasenko are able to return from season-ending injury/surgery, then shouldn’t independent NHL-affiliated physicians begin to examine the athletes on a regular basis through March and April?

A change in the over-35 rule will allow the Devils to escape Corey Crawford’s sudden retirement unscathed in relation to the cap, but they won’t be so fortunate in nets, where it’s now Scott Wedgewood, rather than Crawford, as Mackenzie Blackwood’s partner.

So Myles Wood said the Devils are using a system under Lindy Ruff that no one has ever played or seen before, and okie dokie, but that’s kind of the way it looked in the Rangers’ defensive zone a lot of the three years Ruff was an assistant for the Blueshirts, no?


Isn’t it ironic that the corporate logos slapped onto NHL helmets make the league look amateurish?

Don’t you think?


There seems to be a window of a week or two following the season to accommodate postponements, now counted at three with a pair of Dallas-Tampa Bay matches and one Dallas-Florida contest.

A full effort would be made to reschedule all games without forcing teams into playing three straight days or nights.

The Rangers, for example, have not played three straight days since March 1965, when, for no apparent reason (no postponement, no mention of peculiarity in the contemporary reports), they played at home against the Red Wings on March 19 before a home-and-home against the Maple Leafs that opened in Toronto the following night.

The first was a 6-6 draw. The next was a 4-1 defeat. And the finale … 10-1 Leafs at the Garden, with Marcel Paille in nets allowing all 10, including four goals in the final 5:36.

There is no record of Paille storming off the ice, confronting the Rangers’ owner and demanding a trade.


Meanwhile, to address my omission of John Vanbiesbrouck among the lineage of goaltending royalty cited in a column earlier in the week:

Had a couple of terrific seasons, won the Vezina Trophy and probably would have crafted a more substantial career on Broadway had general manager Phil Esposito not made the bizarre move to acquire Bob Froese in 1986.

But no, he rates a cut below Davey Kerr, Chuck Rayner, Gump Worsley, Ed Giacomin, Mike Richter and Henrik Lundqvist on the all-time rankings.

Finally, when do we start to acknowledge that the USHL, and not the CHL, just might be the best development league in hockey?

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