New York Rangers foreshadow rebuild in letter to fans

The New York Rangers are three points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but it sounds like they could be holding a fire sale leading up to the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

A day after its fourth straight loss, the team posted a message from president Glen Sather and general manager Jeff Gorton to fans on its website and Twitter on Thursday, hinting strongly that big-name veterans will be shipped off for prospects and draft picks as the deadline approaches.

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The second half of the third paragraph reads, "As we approach the trade deadline later this month and into the summer, we will be focused on adding young, competitive players that combine speed, skill and character. This may mean we lose some familiar faces, guys we all care about and respect. While this is part of the game, it's never easy. Our promise to you is that our plans will be guided by our singular commitment: ensuring we are building the foundation for our next Stanley Cup contender."

New York already said goodbye to one veteran, waiving defenseman Brendan Smith on Thursday, which happened to be Smith's 29th birthday. Acquired from the Red Wings before last year's deadline, Smith re-signed with the Rangers on a four-year, $17 million deal last offseason. In 62 games with the Rangers, Smith tallied two goals and 10 assists with a plus-minus of plus-four.

Wednesday's 6-1 defeat to the Boston Bruins was New York's 10th loss in its last 13 games, with all 10 coming in regulation and six coming by a margin of at least three goals.

Among those who could potentially be dealt are leading goal scorer Michael Grabner and 15th-year veteran Rick Nash, both of whom will be free agents after this season. The 33-year-old Nash has reportedly given the Rangers a list of teams for which he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause.

--Field Level Media

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