Rangers general manager Glen Sather has been playing chicken with Scott Howson, his counterpart in Columbus, for quite a while.
Sather wanted Rick Nash, the kind of powerful scoring wing that the Rangers needed to go with their impressive collection of other talents, and Howson wanted the world in return even though Nash was begging to be traded and the Blue Jackets were going nowhere with him. Howson wanted Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider, but Sather said no each and every time while waiting for Howson to blink.
Howson blinked on Monday. The Rangers have acquired Nash and a minor league defenseman in exchange for forward Artem Anisimov, forward Brandon Dubinsky, defenseman Tim Erixon and a first-round pick.
It's hard not to call this deal a massive win for Sather. With Marian Gaborik potentially out for the start of the season, the Rangers desperately need someone who can consistently put the puck in the net and they landed him without giving up players they'll miss or copious cap space.
They should have enough money to sign Shane Doan, the longtime Coyote wing who would bring leadership and a nice edge to the forward group. If that happens, the two additions plus the full-time status of Kreider will have more than replaced what the Rangers lost.
Anisimov has moments where he looks like a serious top-six scorer, but they come amid long droughts when you forget he's even on the team. Dubinsky has a lot of jam in his game, but he couldn't score last season and the Rangers aren't short on players with jam.
Erixon wasn't winning a spot in the regular lineup on defense and the beauty of hitting on so many first rounders over the years is that you can deal one away without too much pain. There's also the added chuckle factor of Erixon winding up in Columbus after refusing to play for Calgary when he was drafted by the Flames.
It's much less than the Rangers were thought to be offering at the deadline, but still an appropriate return. It feels worse for the Blue Jackets because of Howson's original demands, although that's just the short view when the long view is the only thing that matters.
If the Rangers win a Cup with Nash, it's a massive win by Sather even if that first rounder turns out to be an All-Star. If the Rangers can't finish the job, those reviews won't be quite so good.