Trade Deadline Introduction: New York Rangers
With the All-Star break now behind us, the trade deadline is approaching and is now less than a month away. Where is each team at and what moves should they be looking to make? We continue our look around the league with the New York Rangers.
Rangers opted to shake things up in the offseason with Chris Drury promoted to general manager and Gerard Gallant taking over as the new head coach. The roster has also been revamped and the results have certainly been promising as they have gone from a team that missed the playoffs to a team that is within striking distance of first place in the East. As a result, Drury will be busy looking to add, but with their salary cap situation they will balance the short and long term with any acquisition.
32-13-5, 3rd in the Metropolitan
$20MMM today, $33.5M full season space, 0/3 retention slots used, 45/50 contracts used by CapFriendly.
Upcoming draft picks
2022: NYR 1st, NYR 2nd, STL 2nd, NYR, WPG 4th, NYR 5th, NYR 6th
2023: NYR 1st, NYR 2nd, NYR 3rd, NYR 4th, NYR 5th, NYR 6th, NYR 7th
Most suitors wouldn’t necessarily want to subtract from their current roster, but it’s an option New York may need to consider with the backup goaltender. Alexander Georgiev. The 26-year-old has let it be known that he would like to play more but with Igor Shesterkin in the bosom, it will not happen except injury. The pending restricted free agent carries a cap of $2.425 million and owes a qualifying offer of $2.65 million, an offer that might be a little too expensive for them next season. Some teams would likely want to consider Georgiev longer to see if he could be a longer-term option, although Rangers would be wise to get another goalkeeper if they choose to move Georgiev now with a veteran. Keith Kinkaid serving as a third string option.
Things didn’t go well for the winger Vitaly Kravtsov in his time with the Rangers. The 22-year-old didn’t leave the training camp squad, he returned to the KHL and it’s clear a change of scenery would be beneficial. However, given that he was the ninth overall pick in 2019, his draft status may carry some weight and be attractive to a team looking for a prospect a bit more developed than a draft pick. He’s a restricted free agent this summer, but it’s hard to see him commanding a big raise on his $925,000 AAV since he only has 22 games under his belt.
Young defenders are always prime commodities for rebuilding teams and New York has one on its roster in Libor Hajek who struggles to get into the range. He’s only played 14 NHL games this season and another five as part of a conditioning assignment, but he’s only a year away from playing nearly 80% of their games this year. last. He signed for his qualifying bid last summer for just over $874,000 and the lack of playing time gives him no reason to raise. With young Braden Schneider is starting to settle in, the path to playing time is even steeper now for Hajek and he looks like a logical player who could be added to a trade.
The $7.5 million over three years awarded to the defender Patrick Nemeth raised a few eyebrows and he’s played a limited role in the third couple so far without doing much. If Drury is looking to bring in someone with time remaining on their contract, Nemeth is the type of player he could try to use as salary compensation.
1) Front depth: Injuries have reduced New York’s forward depth at times this season and left their last-six group a bit weaker than they’d like. Replacement Samy BlaisCourage is one area they would probably want to add, but bringing in a two-way player who can score a bit and kill penalties is another element they would definitely benefit from adding.
2) Defender in the top four: Adam Fox and Jacob Trouba are the first four proven pieces, but after that the New York fullback mostly consists of young players or deep veterans like Nemeth or Jarred Tinordi. A veteran who can allow them to take some of the pressure off their younger players would help them by emphasizing their ability to play a key defensive role.
3) Long-term center: Mika Zibanejad has its extension for next season so it will be in place for the long haul. Corn Ryan Stromethe fate of remains in question and Philippe Chytil probably isn’t ready to step up to the second line if Strome doesn’t re-sign. If there is a way to get a second long-term pivot, it would be a good recovery for Drury, even if it means Strome eventually moves on.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.