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February 22, 2018
LCS Extra: Rangers Acquire Dunham
by Jim Iovino and Dawn D. Taylor, LCS Hockey
Mike Dunham has been traded by the Nashville Predators to the New York Rangers for one role player and two hopefuls.
The Predators (6-14-5-4) sent their former top goalie to Manhattan for left wing Rem Murray, defenseman Tomas Kloucek and defenseman Marek Zidlicky.
What The Rangers Get
The move could have been avoided had the Rangers signed a backup goaltender over the summer, but they chose to instead spend a boatload of cash on Darius Kasparaitis and Bobby Holik. And we can all see where those two moves have gotten them.
Instead, the Rangers rolled the dice with 19-year-old first-year netminder Dan Blackburn. While Danny Boy might someday become a quality NHL goalie, he's not even close to being one now. After playing 17 consecutive games in Richter's absence, the kid smells of burnt toast.
So now the Rangers turn to Dunham, who had started the season with promise, but that quickly broke and his record was only 2-9-2 at the time of the trade. He has been the subject of trade rumors (and at times, hopes) for his entire five-year tenure with the Predators.
Dunham's best season came in 2000-01 when he posted a 2.28 GAA, a .923 save percentage and four shutouts for the lowly Preds. Since then, however, his stats have declined. Last season his GAA rose to 2.61 and his save percentage dropped to .906. This year the numbers were even worse (3.15, .892).
He'll get a fresh start in New York, but he also moves from one really bad team to another. One might even say the Blueshirts' defense is worse than the Predators' blue line. And that's saying something. So it won't be all cotton candy and nacho cheese for Dunham. Playing in New York can give a goaltender headaches and make him nauseous. Richter knows from experience.
Speaking of the man with Aunt Jemima on his helmet, Richter's future doesn't look so good. After suffering serious injuries in each of the past four seasons, the 36-year-old netminder's career finally might be coming to an end. Sure, we've written Richter off numerous times in the past, but he's always proved people wrong by coming back and playing like he always had.
But this is different. Richter might just pocket his fat new contract and call it a career. Heck, I would. He deserves every penny for the sacrifice and dedication he showed to the team without much thanks in return. The way the team left him hanging during the initial stages of the free-agent period this summer was downright criminal.
Richter isn't the only injured Ranger. Pavel Bure could be done for the year. Brian Leetch is out for what looks like an extended period of time. And Eric Lindros is always one hit away from an extended vacation at Sunshine Acres.
Since the Rangers are already thin throughout the organization (and have just traded away three more players while getting one in return), they made another trade Thursday night, acquiring forward Josh Green from Edmonton for a conditional pick in the 2004 draft.
What The Predators Get
Rem Murray is the only one of the three players who is currently playing in the National Hockey League. He's a decent player, but is too streaky offensively to be counted on. His streaks tend to go like this: score a goal, wait 15 games, score another goal, wait 10 more games... You get the idea.
Kloucek has spent most of the season with the Rangers. He loves to hit, but doesn't play smart. Zidlicky is currently playing in Finland. He led the Finnish Elite League in scoring among defensemen last season with 37 points in 51 games. He is said to be a very mobile defenseman who looks for physical contact, can rush the puck and has a hard shot on the power play. He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2001 draft.
Granted, these players may turn out to be greatness eventually. But this team doesn't have eventualities. They need results. Now. Only Murray is positioned to deliver on that. And in their current state, it will take a great deal more than a single player to make a difference on this team.
Plainly put in a cliché: Poile had one shot and he blew it.