Really depends if the Rangers are in the hunt come early March. If they are in playoff position or close to it, I see them adding some secondary scoring (think Frolov) at the deadline along with a brusing defenseman (think Exelby).
If they are out of it though, I can see guys like Prospal, Higgins, Lisin, and even Girardi moved. Let's give it a try.
Higgins to Chicago for Sopel
Lisin to Vancouver for a 3rd/4th rounder
Valiquette to a Western team for AHL fodder or a low pick
1. Waive Redden.
2. Call up Heiks, Sangs, Sauer and see who earns the role.
3. Call up Potter to play 7th dman - he's a call up who, I hate to say has no future but it doesn't look bright, it wouldn't be bad to have him up here to rotate if Tortorella needs to send a message by scratching someone or just to throw him into that rotation of Heiks, Sangs, and Sauer to add a little more competition. Competition is never, ever a bad thing.
4. I move Kotalik for whatever possible draft pick wise. I'm sure he can only really command a 4th or something of that matter. And I'm taking it. As far as I know Kots has a NTC? What is the status of that? Or is it a full NMC? I don't know.
5. I do whatever it takes to bring Filatov to the team. Maybe something along the lines of: Higgins, Sanguinetti, Lisin, and a 2nd in '10 gets it done.
6. I guess at that point my team looks something like:
Prospal - Dubinsky - Gaborik Filatov - Anisimov - Callahan
Avery - Drury - Hartford call up (is Weise ready? Guy seems like the prototypical third liner)
Voros - Boyle - Brashear
Staal - Rozy Del Z - Sauer/Potter/Heiks
Gilroy - Girardi
Bold face = your core, and IMHO, it's a very, very good start.
This team also leaves us with a ton of cap space we could use to re-sign Staal, and bring in a few MINOR pieces through free agency if necessary.
That's the way I view the post-lockout NHL. Build the team through your system and the draft, maybe even via trade if you have to, but you can't buy your core through free agency, only the pieces that benefit the core you should have in place.
Now for what I think Sather is going to do? Assuming the Rangers are in the playoff hunt come the deadline, I really see him doing absolutely nothing major, and sticking to his MO of recent seasons, bringing in a minor guy like Reitz and really doing nothing to actually help the team.
Hes gotten rid of one bad contract that I can think of, and that was Gomez's, a guy who actually had some value.
What team in their right minds is going to take 2+ years of Kotalik at 3 million per? All while not returning any salary and handing over a pick or a prospect?
What team in their right mind would take 7 million in Gomez and give back one of the best defenseman prospects in hockey? The way you view players and GM's view players is completely different. Coaches and GM's look at players and how they fit into their system. They don't care about what you think.