Deadline day is here and with many other teams around the NHL having already made significant moves, the New York Rangers and Chris Drury are in a position to make some moves. The Blueshirts are fresh off a pair of impressive back-to-back wins vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes, and given the way the team has played thus far it wouldn’t be surprising if the front office rewards the group with some reinforcements to better round the team out. The Rangers are ahead of schedule in their rebuild, and by no means a favorite. DraftKings has the Rangers at +700 odds to win the division, +900 to win the Eastern Conference, and +1800 to win the whole thing. It’ll be interesting to see how those numbers shift today.
The Rangers have a ton of cap space, which goes away after this season, and at the very least they can try and utilize that room as a third party to extract draft picks or prospects by helping to facilitate trades. With that said, what players are left on the board, and who are some of the names linked to the team that the Rangers could potentially acquire?
Jakob Chychrun, Arizona Coyotes (No. 4 on TSN Trade Bait List)
Chychrun was No. 4 on TSN’s original list, and is the highest remaining player now that Hampus Lindholm, Claude Giroux, and Mark Giordano have been moved. Chychrun has three years left on his contract and has a cap hit of $4.6 million dollars, and because he isn’t a rental the Coyotes have no obligation to move him.
The Rangers have shown interest in Chychrun, and he’s a piece who could help bolster the team’s defensive depth.
New York was a team that showed interest in Giordano before he was moved, and it will be interesting to see if the Rangers take on last run at Chychrun before 3:00 p.m. I don’t think the odds of him being acquired are particularly high, but a lot can change if there’s internal pressure from James Dolan to try and make a deep run.
Rickard Rakell, Anaheim Ducks (No. 5 on TSN Trade Bait List)
Rakell is a player the Rangers have had interest in for quite a few years, which makes sense given he was a first-rounder in the 2011 NHL Draft.
Rakell fits the Rangers profile quite well in the sense that he's a 2011 first round draft pick. Rangers have loved that class historically. pic.twitter.com/20pIS78vvF— Tom Urtz Jr. (@TomUrtzJr) March 15, 2022
The soon-to-be 29-year-old winger plays the right side and would be a solid fit for the team’s top-six that has been playing a forward down for the majority of the season. He’s had some bad luck with injuries in recent years, but has scored or been on pace to tally 20 goals or more in every year he’s been in the NHL except his rookie season and last year. If the Rangers are concerned about cost, Rakell is probably going to be the best player they will look to acquire without dipping into major assets.
Andrew Copp, Winnipeg Jets (No. 12 on TSN Trade Bait List)
The Rangers, along with the Avalanche, are a team that’s been inquiring about Copp. He is in the final year of his deal and posted a line of 13-21-34 in 56 games with the Jets. He’s also won 54% of his faceoffs, and that’s something the Rangers are always looking to improve. The addition of Copp could be for the third line, and that would enable the Rangers to shift Filip Chytil to the wing and move him up and down as needed.
It’s also possible that Copp could be put on a line with Barclay Goodrow to form a line that’s annoying to play against. In any case, Copp is someone who will draw a lot of interest, and I expect someone the Rangers won’t want to overpay for.
Artturi Lehkonen, Montreal Canadiens (No. 26 on TSN Trade Bait List)
Lehkonen, like Copp, would be a great bottom-six upgrade for the Rangers. But with that said, it feels like if there was a deal to be made that it would have been done already. Jeff Gorton knows the Rangers’ farm system well, and there’s no reason for him to do Drury any favors. I imagine there’s a chance a mini bidding war breaks out once some of the bigger names left have moved on, and I don’t think there’s a big chance of him ending up in New York.
J.T. Miller, Vancouver Canucks (No. 28 on TSN Trade Bait List)
There’s been a lot of reporting on the Rangers’ presumed interest in re-acquiring their former first-round pick. Miller has a year left on his contract at $5.25 million, and would be an upgrade to the current roster that would presumably replace Ryan Strome’s spot on the roster next year. At this point it feels like the Canucks are going to try and keep Miller and eventually extend him, and that’s perfectly fine. Miller is having a fine season for himself, but the overall cost and level of impact he’d have on the team (specifically 5v5) isn’t worth it.
Phil Kessel, Arizona Coyotes (No. 42 on TSN Trade Bait List)
Kessel is another name that’s been out there a bit, and I’d say the Rangers’ addition of Frank Vatrano was done as opposed to making a deal with the Coyotes. That said, in the event the Rangers were to make a big scale deal for Chychrun, maybe Kessel ends up in the package somehow, but I wouldn’t count on it.
Cal Clutterbuck, New York Islanders (No. 53 on TSN Trade Bait List)
And again, the cost would likely be too high, but adding Clutterbuck would represent a massive bottom-six upgrade for Rangers.— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) March 20, 2022
No. Just no.
Alexandar Radulov, Dallas Stars (Unlisted by TSN)
Radulov’s name appeared in a recent addition of 32 Thoughts as someone the Rangers had shown interest in. It’s not that surprising because the Rangers have liked him for a bit. The team contact the Nashville Predators about him in 2012, but nothing ever came to fruition. Like I said with Kessel, Radulov feels like a move the team might have made before dealing for Vatrano. Unless the cost is super cheap, I don’t see him being a Ranger post-deadline.
These are just some of the names out there that have been associated with the Rangers. There’s always the possibility for a move to happen out of nowhere, and the Marián Gáborík trade in 2013 is something that certainly comes to mind. That said, what are some moves you think could happen, or ones you’d like to see happen?
Feel free to use this as an open thread to discuss, and here’s to an interesting final hours until the deadline!