Over the past couple of weeks, there have been rumblings that the Rangers have been one of the more active teams seeking to make a move. More rumors circulated (from less reliable sources than Elliotte Friedman, linked in the previous sentence) that the Rangers were looking to make a big splash to address scoring woes. Now, there is a difference between seeking to make a move and making a splash, and Friedman is one of the more reliable guys out there.
With all the injuries –specifically to Rick Nash– that the Rangers have endured, a move does seem like it is coming. Scoring has been an issue, but that’s expected when the best player (Nash), captain, and best puck possession forward (Carl Hagelin) are all injured. Shooting luck hasn’t exactly been on their side either. The problem has been somewhat mitigated by the re-emergence of Chris Kreider and the steady play of J.T. Miller.
That said, this is still a team that has allowed two goals in each of the past four games, and won just two of them. We’ve identified one need for this team already. But how realistic is it to make a splash?
Simply put, there is one and only one way for the Rangers to make a huge splash in the trade market. This is a team right up on the cap ceiling with less than $1 million in cap space at the moment. At the deadline, they will have $3.1 million in cap space to add players. That’s not much wiggle room to work with. Even if someone like Taylor Pyatt ($1.55 million) is part of the deal, that leaves the Rangers with $4.65 million in cap space.
That’s enough to make a move, but not a splash.
Now comes the fun part. If the Rangers are to make a big splash right away, they would need to clear salary in a hurry. The fastest way to do that is to place one (or both) of Cally and Nash on LTIR, freeing up some cap space.
Two problems arise with that: 1) They will need to clear the cap space once the guys come back, and 2) If Nash is placed on LTIR, then that means the club is not expecting him back any time soon. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword.
Looking at a more realistic scenario, making a trade to address needs without making a splash, there are always options available that can fill holes. The same problems mentioned above come up, but are significantly less of a concern.
A big splash is very unlikely considering the current financial state of the Rangers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that GM Glen Sather isn’t looking to make a deal. There are always ways to improve a club. This is a team that is expected to be in the Stanley Cup picture this year, and management will ensure that no stone go left unturned in their quest to bring the silver to New York.