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Morning Skate: The Rangers made a good trade but still have that Dan Girardi albatross

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So close.

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

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Lace 'em up. Time for the Morning Skate.

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NOT THE TRADE YOU WERE LOOKING FOR

I don't mean to alarm you, but we have a trade to announce. In mid-July.

Rangers fans had to be excited when they saw reports GM Jeff Gorton was on the move. Perhaps the team would finally be free of defensemen and possession-drains Dan Girardi or Marc Staal!

Not quite, though they should be lauded for the trade they did make. New York sent center Derick Brassard to Ottawa for center Mika Zibanejad and a second-round pick.

By all accounts, this was a good move for both sides. In giving up Zibanejad for Brassard, the Senators have traded a frustrating player with as-yet unfulfilled potential for a solid, known-quantity center. And the Rangers have done well for themselves here. Perhaps most importantly, New York gains a high draft pick to add to their empty cupboard. (They have one pick in the first two rounds next year, but now have three in the first two in 2018.) Rangers fans should be pleased that the front office finally decided to trade a veteran for a younger, potentially more talented player.

But it wasn't the veteran player they really need to trade to make this offseason one of significant improvement. Young, promising defensemen like Brady Skjei and Dylan McIlrath will still be scrounging for playing time scraps while Dan Girardi and Marc Staal struggle ahead of them while keeping the team in a cap crunch.

Zibanejad, Chris Kreider and McIlrath will all need raises next summer, so a move for one of those two defensemen is coming at some point. Until it does, every good move the Rangers make will be evaluated and praised under their shadow.

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