Ah Trade Deadline season; when everyone starts paying attention to who is on the ice for warm ups, the waiver wire announcements are vital, and people start to overvalue their favorite team's prospects. This time of year is one of my favorite times to be a hockey fan because of all the potential chaos that can ensue. One of the biggest fomenters of that chaos is our very own New York Rangers.
Over the past two deadlines the Rangers have traded their captain Ryan Callahan and two first round picks for an aging Martin St. Louis and a trip to the Stanley Cup Final. They also traded their best prospect in Anthony Duclair, solid but nothing to write home about John Moore, and yet another first round pick for Keith Yandle and Chris Summers (the verdict of this trade will be debated in sanitariums until the end of time). The biggest question around these parts is: what exactly are the Rangers going to do this year? Sell off even more of their future for yet one more Stanley Cup run? Will they try and unload some bad contracts and try and set themselves up for the future? Should Yandle pack some extra clothes for this upcoming road trip? Will Lassie get to the well in time to save Tommy...wait...I mean...uh...let's move on shall we?
We obviously don't know what exactly is going through the minds of the Rangers front office and all we can do is speculate based on crumbs tossed throughout articles and tweets but that's part of the fun of this time of year. The blatant speculation! With all that being said, I'm going to look into some players who I feel the Rangers should target at the deadline, along with some words and numbers explaining why.
Let's get started.
(all stats in all situations and not score adjusted as well. All stats are courtesy of the great War-on-ice.com and all contract information is from Generalfanager.com)
Half of the Toronto Maple Leafs:
This might sound like a copout, but Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello has put the "Fire Sale: All Expiring Contracts Must Go" sign out front of the Air Canada Centre, and the Leafs have some enticing players who would be very good value adds for the Rangers, starting with:
Brad Boyes (RW)
Weight: 198 lbs
Stats: 6g-13a-19pts (65.3% CF, 15.1% CFRel)
contract: 1 year, 700K
With Rick Nash's status still unknown (as of Wednesday night) the Rangers should be looking to add another skill forward to the roster (hell they needed another one on the roster before Nash got hurt) and Boyes can fit that role. Jesper Fast is a good, smart player but he just doesn't have the offensive skill to hang on the top six for long. Boyes being a right handed shot is a nice bonus as well. Don't let the counting numbers fool you, Boyes has been driving play in his ~12 minutes of ice a night for the Maple Leafs.
P.A. Parenteau (LW)
Weight: 198 lbs
Stats: 15-15-30 (60.4% CF, 11.0% CFRel)
Contract: 1 year, $1.5 million
The former Rangers prospect has blossomed into a pretty dependable NHLer and has bounced around the league putting up solid mid 6 numbers. P.A. would be a nice fit playing with both Derek Stepan and Kevin Hayes as his centers and, being right handed, will help the Rangers power play that needs a better right handed shot than Stepan.
Mark Arcobello (C)
Weight: 178 lbs
Stats: 3-1-4 (64.7% CF, 11.9% CFRel)
Arcobello has become something of a #FancyStats darling over the last couple of years and continues to put up good to great underlying numbers in his limited amount of playing time (18 games played). The Rangers 4th line is a pretty big weakness that can be upgraded big time with the acquisition of Arcobello. He's a solid defensive forward that could also add some offensive pop to the bottom of the lineup.
When it comes to trading for these guys, the Leafs will be looking to add futures (picks, prospects), but because these guys have small contracts and could be, potentially, undervalued, I could see the Rangers offering something like 2nd and/or 3rds and something along the lines of Adam Tambellini or even Viktor Stalberg for any one of these guys.
Kris Versteeg (RW)
Stats: 11-22-33 (61.1% CF, 10.1% CFRel)
Contract: 1 year, $2.2 million (Florida retained half the contract)
Now we're getting into the pricier guys. Versteeg is probably the platonic ideal of a 2nd line winger and would fit in well with Stepan as his center and push Jesper Fast down into a more defensive role. Again, the right handed shot is a nice, much needed bonus for the Rangers. To get Versteeg from the Hurricanes, a team that is loaded on the blueline for the present and future but kind of lax up front, it could take a 1st/2nd and someone like Tambellini or maybe a goalie prospect depending on whether the Canes have their sights set on the future and are looking to find Cam Ward's replacement.
Valeri Nichushkin (RW)
Weight: 205 lbs
Stats: 7-15-22 (61.3% CF, 1.3% CFRel)
Contract: 1 year, $925k (RFA)
FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a huge Nichushkin fan. That being said, getting Nichushkin would be a huge, HUGE play for the Rangers. The big, smooth skating Russian suffered from a bad hip injury that limited him to just 8 games played last year, and at 19 that took a hit on his development. Big Val is still only twenty and his talent level and offensive ceiling would be a big advantage going forward for the Rangers and he would be one of the very few players I would consider trading Yandle or Chris Kreider for (and unless the Rangers get a player like Nichushkin, the Rangers should hold onto and make all attempts to re-sign Yandle).
So, these are my ideas. They're probably crazy and not what the Rangers are thinking but I feel that adding one or two of these players would help the Rangers both now and going forward. Now I know I didn't mention the two, huge, lumbering elephants in the room but I just can't see a way that the Rangers want to nor can trade one of the Wonder Twins (trademark Dave Shapiro, Blue Seat Blogs). Trading either Marc Staal and Dan Girardi would probably be the biggest deadline move the Rangers could make, but it appears to be unlikely.