The Rangers may be considering some roster moves according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. Friedman talked about the Blueshirts on a panel during the second intermission of Hockey Night in Canada and had this to say.
The transcript reads as follows:
“They’re in a playoff spot as we do this in the wild card but got lit up by Mathew Barzal and the Islanders earlier today, I think the Rangers are starting to look and say are there other moves that we can make, similar to the one with Derek Stepan and Arizona at last year’s draft.”
“I think you are taking a look at their UFAs, Nash, Grabner, David Desharnais at center. But I think also some of their contracted players, Zuccarello, McDonagh, no guarantee they do it, but I think they are willing to listen.
It comes as no surprise that the Rangers would have discussions about Rick Nash, Michael Grabner or David Desharnais. Nash could use a change of scenery, Grabner is having another great season in terms of goal scoring and Desharnais has already exceeded his offensive output from last season.
Each player could bring something of value back in a trade, and it would make sense to test the waters if there is a sense that the Rangers aren’t contending for the Stanley Cup this season.
The interesting name said by Friedman is Zuccarello who is leading the team in scoring with 32 points in 42 games. The Rangers’ alternate captain is signed through next season and has a cap hit of $4.5 million. He is a fan favorite who has been a key offensive player in recent years, and turns 31 in September.
The Rangers don’t exactly have a ton of depth on the wings, and no one would be surprised if he were extended considering what he brings to the table. Conversely, I can see a world where they move Zuccarello, but that would likely be in the summer when the Rangers have an idea of what team they are trying to build. This of course is unless a Stanley Cup contender looking for a final piece offers the moon, and in that case Jeff Gorton should consider moving him this season.
McDonagh being named isn’t surprising because he turns 30 the summer he would hit free agency. Additionally there have been stories about options the Rangers need to consider with their captain.
It is a big decision because odds are that McDonagh will be looking for a max contract. His last deal of $4.7 million a year is one of the best in the league, and the Rangers are not going to get lucky for a second time in a row.
This is not to say the Rangers should push him out the door, but there is also a chance he may not want to stay around for a rebuild. He is a fierce competitor that wants to win, and no one would fault him if he wanted to go somewhere else.
Overall these are just rumors, but they will likely gain more traction if the team continues to play poorly. The Rangers will look to right the ship on Sunday vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Once again these are just rumors, so take them as you see fit.