Rangers' dump aids Senators' quest

Updated: March 9, 2004, 11:03 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers traded Greg de Vries to Ottawa, and Martin Rucinsky to Vancouver on Tuesday and claimed veteran forward Sandy McCarthy off waivers from the Boston Bruins.

The Rangers also claimed center Mike Green off waivers from Florida and traded right wing Paul Healey to the Panthers for defenseman Jeff Paul.

New York received defenseman Karel Rachunek and prospect Alexandre Giroux from the Senators for de Vries, who has three years and $8.8 million left on his contract signed last summer.

De Vries, a reliable two-way defenseman, adds to the Senators' already-strong defense. Their top four are de Vries, Wade Redden, Zdeno Chara and Chris Phillips.

In exchange for Rucinsky, the Rangers acquired prospect defenseman Martin Grenier and a second-round draft pick this year.

New York has the NHL's highest payroll but is on the verge of missing the playoffs for a seventh straight season. The Rangers are dismantling their team, stockpiling younger players and draft choices.

"All the players we traded were going to become free agents at the end of the year," general manager Glen Sather said. "They all said they loved playing here, and if the opportunity presented itself they'd like to come back."

Sather also made two trades Monday, and he has completed eight deals in the eight days leading up to Tuesday's NHL trading deadline.

Since last Tuesday, Sather has dealt de Vries, Rucinsky, Vladimir Malakhov, Matthew Barnaby, Brian Leetch, Alexei Kovalev, Petr Nedved, Jussi Markkanen and Chris Simon.

"I wasn't trying to purge the organization," Sather said.

New York acquired one first-round pick and six second-round choices in the next two drafts.

"We thought we had the opportunity to get some real good assets going forward," Sather said. "We've made a lot of changes in a short period of time that we think will help us for a number of years."

Sather said he didn't talk with captain Mark Messier about whether he would be open for a trade. He also said that Messier's name didn't come up in any trade talks. Messier hinted Sunday that he might not report if a deal was completed.

McCarthy, 31, has three goals and one assist in 37 games with the Bruins this season. In 723 career games with Boston, Calgary, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Carolina and the Rangers, he has 71 goals, 76 assists and 1,532 penalty minutes.

McCarthy played in 245 games with the Rangers from 2000 to 2003 and had 27 goals and 32 assists.

Green had one assist in 11 games with the Panthers.

Healey, 28, did not have a point in four games with the Rangers this season. In 75 career games with New York, Toronto and Philadelphia, Healey has six goals and 14 assists.

Sather said he recently fielded calls from teams who were interested in acquiring forward Eric Lindros, out since late January because of a concussion.

While rehabbing from that injury, which has nearly healed, Lindros tore a muscle in his right shoulder as he shot pucks in practice. That ended all chances that Lindros would join the large list of traded players. He probably is headed for season-ending surgery.

"Eric has a tear in his shoulder," Sather said. "He needs to have it repaired and wants to have it repaired."


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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