Rangers Following Steve Cohen’s Footprints With Tarasenko, Kane

Steve Cohen has set out to stretch the financial boundaries of Major League by doing all he can do to help the New York Mets win. In successive offseasons, he has signed a future Hall of Fame pitcher still near the top of his game.

The Mets are a far cry from the Wilpon era. Instead of trying to sell replacing Zack Wheeler with Marcus Stroman (despite both pitchers being in the same rotation), there is a healthy and fun debate whether Max Scherzer or Justin Verlander should be the Mets Opening Day starter.

This win-now attitude has infected the Mets and their fanbase. It is also something we are seeing with the New York Rangers.

Last year at the trading deadline, Chris Drury made a series of inspired moves. They were able to add Justin Braun, Andrew Copp, Tyler Motte, and Frank Vatrano. The end result was a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. After going up 2-0 in the series, they were within a blown lead of going to the Finals.

Drury would again not be deterred. He went out and got Motte back, who was a popular addition last season most Rangers fans were hoping would return. Then, he made a master stroke to surprisingly add Vladimir Tarasenko. While exciting, there was some mild disappointment because it meant the Rangers were out on Patrick Kane.

We were wrong, and for the most part, we have Drury and Kane to thank.

Kane had a no-trade clause with the Chicago Blackhawks. That meant Kane could go anywhere he wanted, and that anywhere was Madison Square Garden. The trick was finding a way to make it work under the salary cap.

Whereas Cohen has the option to absorb every nonsense financial penalty derived to punish trying to win, the Rangers needed to navigate through a hard cap. That involved some real creativity.

Picks had to be moved to the Phoenix Coyotes for them to absorb salary. Vitaly Kratsov was essentially given away to clear cap room. Jake Leschyshyn was waived. This was all done in the name of getting Kane and making the Rangers legitimate Stanley Cup contenders.

Like the Mets with Scherzer and Verlander, the Rangers have Kane and Tarasenko. They pushed the limits of spending in their sport, and they put themselves in a position to win the Stanley Cup. With any luck, there will be two parades down the Canyon of Heroes this year.