Last season, the Rangers were themselves swept by the Devils in the first round.
Matt Cullen, who won the Cup last year with Carolina scored the game- and series-winning goal at 2:06 of the third.
Now, of course, the second-guessers will come out in full force. I didn't mince words at all on this issue back in February, but the proverbial shit is about to hit the proverbial fan on the Keith Tkachuk issue. Proverbially.
The Thrash gave up a LOT to get the 35-year old left wing:
- 1st round pick in this year's draft
- 3rd round pick in this year's draft
- 2nd round pick in next year's draft
- Glen Metropolit
Metropolit is a spare part in this trade, but that's a lot of draft picks. As I said in February, this would have been worth it if the Thrash had gone on to win the Cup, but now they're playing golf with the Canes. Instead of trading away their future for a championship, they have simply traded away their future. Additionally, the trade just got worse. Suddenly the "not so bad" trade of a potentially low first round pick has become a "pretty bad" trade of a middle round first round pick.
Tkachuk is at the end of a contract which paid him $3.8M this season. Everyone understood this to be a "rental", and I just don't think that Atlanta could pay him even if they wanted to keep him.
The Thrash will have a very busy summer ahead of them. 12 players will be UFA and two more will be RFA. They pressed hard up against the cap this season, and it will be difficult to keep this core group and remain under cap. Both goaltenders, and all of the star players are under contract, but they will have to downgrade in some areas, and they won't have the benefit of a first round draft pick.
Look for them to visit the bargain basement and to sign some undrafted players.
Look for the natives to get restless with Don Waddell.