Per the always great Aaron Portzline, the New York Rangers have kicked the tires on Columbus Blue Jackets right winger Cam Atkinson. Actually, according to Portzline, this is not the first time the Rangers have made such inquires:
Atkinson, who is currently 26, has two years left after this season at a $3.5-million cap hit.
Atkinson does have some nice possession metrics to back up his twin 40-point season the past two years -- which might point towards him breaking out soon. As of this writing Atkinson is poised to break his 40-point career high, already totaling 12-13-25 in 40 games, but at 26 I'm not sure how much growth there really is left to his game.
I'm also not really sure how he fits into the Rangers plans -- unless Jeff Gorton is looking to offload Emerson Etem plus and replace him with an established NHL player to solidify the lineup. That would, however, mean Tanner Glass would need to come out of the lineup and I'm not sure how willing Alain Vigneault is to do that.
The other wrinkle, of course, is the blockbuster Ryan Johansen for Seth Jones trade Nashville and Columbus pulled off last night. Losing Johansen (a potentially 70+ point forward) probably not only paves the way for Atkinson to get an increased role with the Blue Jackets but also increase his value to the team's current situation.
And if Atkinson is a Tortorella favorite, as Portzline states above, then the asking price will be even higher than the Johansen trade inflated it. I just don't see how this fixes the Rangers' defensive issues -- although adding a possession plus player is never a bad thing -- which at this point should be a priority.
Thoughts on this, guys?