Are the New York Rangers willing to trade Marian Gaborik after a disappointing start to the 2013 season?
According to Craig Custance of ESPNNewYork.com, it’s a real possibility after Gaborik has been demoted to the third offensive line as of late, and has just eight goals in 25 games so far this season. Gaborik had 41 goals last season, the second highest total of his career.
But in New York City, under-performing athletes with big contracts don’t go unnoticed. And they don’t seem to last long when the pressure is on them.
Rangers beat writer Andrew Gross of The Bergen Record also feels that Gaborik is a “poor fit” with the Rangers, and that this very well may be the last season Gaborik is with the team.
The Rangers are quietly testing the market and shopping Gaborik to interested teams, reports Gross.
Gross sees three possibilities for Gaborik:
- Gaborik is dealt by April 3 trade deadline
- Gaborik is traded during the off-season
- The Rangers sit tight, ride out his last year on his contract that will expire 2013-14 – and not re-sign
Either way, it’s pretty obvious that unless Gaborik somehow can repeat the scoring success he had last season, there is a ticking clock on his time on Broadway and Rangers head coach John Tortorella apparently couldn’t be happier about it.
Gross had a chance to speak with Gaborik after the loss to Buffalo regarding what most are calling his demotion to the third offensive line:
“He’s the coach and makes decisions,” Gaborik said. “The lines tend to change all the time. So we have to be better. The guys that have to step up, have to step up. It’s got to be night in and night out.
“I’m not going to talk about that,” Gaborik continued when asked if he considered the glaring line switch a demotion. “Like I said, it’s his decision and I have to play better. I want to be out in every situation.”
Gaborik has eight goals and nine assists in 25 games in this lockout-shortened season. But all his goals have been concentrated into five games and he has just three goals in his last 20 games, none in his last three.
The constant grinding, physical play of Tortorella’s system doesn’t come natural to Gaborik, and as Gross points out, there is an obvious disconnect in mentality and play-style between what Tortorella demands and how Gaborik is inclined to play.
Gross comments that putting Gaborik on a line with Taylor Pyatt and and Brian Boyle is like putting a racehorse (Gaborik) on a line with two workhorses. It just doesn’t work, and it isn’t the offensive line that Gaborik should be placed on, either.
Further spelling out the distance between Gaborik and Tortorella, Gross reports:
Tortorella insists Gaborik plays better when he’s shuffled through the lines. Gaborik has said repeatedly having consistent lines is what players strive to attain.
Tortorella essentially has switched Gaborik to left wing this season. Gaborik has not complained but has said several times he’s more comfortable at his natural right wing.
Bottomline – as Gross even says – the longer Gaborik’s goal-drought continues, the greater chance the Rangers divorce themselves with Gaborik.