Over the next two weeks, we are going to see Ryan McDonagh’s name linked to about every team imaginable. The Oilers could use him. The Coyotes could use him. The Islanders could use him. Basically every team in the league could use him. He’s a 28-year old top-pairing defenseman with a year and a half on his deal at a cheap cap hit ($4.7 million).
The latest string of chatter has him as a target for the Boston Bruins. Not surprising. They are making a run and it appears to be an arms race between them, the Lightning, and the Leafs. All three could use his services. All three have at least in part been linked to him. An in-division bidding war certainly bodes well for the Blueshirts.
The link to Boston is interesting, if only because they don’t seem to have the kind of prospects that both Tampa and Toronto have. That’s not to say they are a bad fit, though.
Stanley Cup of Chowder did a nice breakdown of these rumors from the Bruins’ side of things. They bring up solid points. For starters, David Pastrnak is off the table. It isn’t happening. Ditto Charlie McAvoy.
The same can be said for their higher priced veterans like Krejci, Bergeron, Marchand, and Backes. Not because they are untouchable, but because it makes no sense for the Rangers. Torey Krug also fits into this category, as he’s already 26 years old.
If the Blueshirts are looking at a roster player, then they are likely looking at someone like Danton Heinen or Jake DeBrusk. DeBrusk arguably has the most value and is probably viewed as the best player on that list, with Heinen right behind him. I hope that Brandon Carlo isn’t the guy the Rangers target, mostly because the other three are better. But he’s an option as well.
Where I disagree with SCOC is in some of their trade proposals, which makes sense. I lean towards overvaluing McDonagh, and they lean to overvaluing their own guys. It’s par for the course. But the major area where I disagree is putting someone like Austin Czarnik, a 25 year old AHLer, in the same category as Anders Bjork. Also worth noting that Kevin Miller and Adam McQuaid have no value in a trade like this, other than roster balance. In reality, the first three trades they list are simply no good for the Rangers.
Keeping that in mind, I’d like to stick with the theme of using the Keith Yandle trade as a barometer, and try to be as unbiased as humanly possible. A young but not elite roster player (John Moore, who was 24 when he was traded), a top prospect (Anthony Duclair), a 1st, and a 2nd for McDonagh at 50% retained.
The problem with that is the Bruins don’t have anyone that really fits the Moore role in the trade. Maybe Matt Grzelcyk? That might be the roster piece comparable to Moore. I honestly don’t know much about him, but on paper it looks like he could be.
If Grzelcyk is the roster piece, then the Rangers would look at the B’s top prospects. SCOC lists Ryan Donato (2nd, 2014), Jake Studnicka (2nd, 2017), Urho Vaakanainen (1st, 2017), and Trent Frederic (1st, 2016). The thing here is that none of these guys are considered close to NHL ready, and that’s what Arizona got with Duclair at the time of the trade.
I think we need to abandon the Yandle trade as the framework for a McDonagh trade if Boston is involved. Those pieces don’t match up. So now we are looking at a better quality piece off the roster, and either a top prospect or a first round pick. Something else worth noting, that is very difficult to quantify, is that McDonagh is seen as more valuable and better than Yandle. So based off that, the price increases.
The Rangers are likely going for high ceiling, and guys that can put the puck in the net. DeBrusk or Heinen fit that mold. I get the impression both are interchangeable in terms of value. Both are wingers (Heinen can fake it at center in a pinch). Both are young. Both score. Heinen has better numbers this year (shooting 14%, mind you), but DeBrusk was a first round pick.
Even if we are centering a deal around DeBrusk or Heinen, there needs to be pieces added. Carlo is the immediate thought, but I don’t think the B’s deal two young roster pieces like that. My guess is the second big piece is a prospect that is a little further out from the NHL.
Side note: I can see the B’s sending two roster pieces if it’s Carlo and Bjork. I don’t think the Rangers will get Carlo and one of DeBrusk or Heinen.
This is where things get a little grey for me. I’m not well versed in the B’s prospects, so I’m going to use the list SCOC gave above. Studnicka is 19 years old in five days and in his 2nd full season in the OHL. His numbers aren’t bad, but they don’t jump off the page either.
Both Frederic (20 years old) and Donato (21) are in college, playing for Wisconsin and Harvard, respectively. Both are left handed centers. Both have solid numbers. I’d have to assume the Rangers target one of these guys or a first round pick. That’s another critical piece here.
It may not sit well with B’s fans, but you gotta give to get in this league. McDonagh at $2.35 million per year is worth a lot, and it’s going to cost them. My best guess is DeBrusk or Heinen, and one of Frederic, Donato, or a 1st. There would need to be some roster balancing in the trade as well.
The Bruins are an intriguing trade partner when it comes to Ryan McDonagh. They could certainly use the help, but also need to remove a big piece from the current roster to make it happen. Perhaps the reward of landing McDonagh for two playoff runs and at the same time keeping him away from Tampa and Toronto is enough to make that decision. Perhaps not."Making sense of the McDonagh/Boston rumors",