There is not much normal about the Rangers’ pending trade for Patrick Kane, starting with some of the most convoluted salary-cap gymnastics in the history of salary caps.
Outside of NHL front offices, journalists who cover the sport and fans with too much time on their hands, the rest of us had our eyes glaze over a half-dozen roster manipulations ago.
But there is another abnormal thing about this that is easier to understand and more important to Blueshirts fans:
Unlike most late-season rentals for contending teams in any sport, there is nothing to debate regarding this acquisition, which presumably will be finalized by Friday’s deadline.
Usually the risk/benefit analysis centers around losing key prospects and/or draft picks for a short-term gain.
But in this case, because Kane has the leverage over Chicago and can dictate where he wants to go, he will not command a big price in return.
The Rangers will pay, but the cost figures to be modest for a guy who has seven goals and 10 points in his past four games.
Oh, and who just might be the perfect late-season turbocharger for his former Chicago linemate, Artemi Panarin.
And did we mention he also is a three-time Stanley Cup winner and former NHL MVP?
To what extent Kane’s recent hot streak has been ignited by his disappointment over the Rangers acquiring Vladimir Tarasenko before they got around to him is not clear.
It hardly will matter if he joins Tarasenko and the rest of the Rangers to mount a deep playoff run.
Kane, 34, will be too expensive to retain past this season, but who cares? The Rangers are good enough to win now, and Kane can only help.
It has been five years since “The Letter,” in which the Rangers announced a major rebuilding project, and that era is long over now.
Last year’s run to the Eastern Conference Final, in which they lost to the Lightning in six games, officially turned that corner.
This is a win-now team, one facing a tough path back to the conference finals that likely will start with a talented Devils team.
And the Bruins, who rarely lose, loom in the way of everyone in the conference on the road to the Cup Final.
Not easy. But it’s not supposed to be.
The NHL and its national TV partners — ESPN and Turner — do not have the power to make the Kane deal happen. But you can be sure those involved in marketing the game would love to see the Rangers involved as far into spring as possible.
The top four teams in the Metropolitan Division standings are the Hurricanes, Devils, Rangers and Islanders. Care to guess which is the most ratings-friendly?
League and TV executives would sign up for a Rangers-Bruins conference finals in a second, whether they admit it or not.
All that is down the road, though. In the short term, the cap machinations required to make this happen will leave the Rangers vulnerable in the event of an injury, given that their depth has been stripped.
In the playoffs, such constraints will loosen up, and it will be all aboard for what they hope is a long ride.
These kinds of bold trade moves usually are fun to chew over on sports talk radio or social media, but in this case, there is nothing to chew.
The Rangers will get Kane by the end of the week, because there is no conceivable reason not to.