Sather must decide: Is dealing Girardi best for Rangers?

Thus, how much more value as a trade chip, rather than as a first-pair defenseman, might Girardi bring to a Ranger organization that doesn’t appear close to a championship and all but certainly will have to undertake a significant reload over the next offseason or two?

It is, of course, impossible to answer the question blindly. Which means it is therefore incumbent for general manager Glen Sather to be in position to know with the March 5 trade deadline now less than two months away.

Sather must perform his due diligence and be aggressive about it. Girardi, who doesn’t turn 30 until late April, is as high-end a rental property as has gone on the market since Ilya Kovalchuk in 2010, if not Marian Hossa in 2008. The Rangers have every right — and every obligation — to demand a package of two “A” prospects, maybe already in the NHL or maybe not, plus a draft pick in return for Girardi.

Everyone assumes the Bruins, who lost Dennis Seidenberg to a season-ending knee injury in late December, will put in a call on Girardi. They haven’t yet. But there’s no reason why Sather (or, alternately, assistant GM Jeff Gorton) shouldn’t call Boston’s Peter Chiarelli to give him first crack at Girardi if the price is right.

What would the price be? No less than whomever the Rangers’ staff has identified as the Bruins’ top prospect up front and one of their two top prospects on defense, plus a draft choice.

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