With the NHL trade deadline a little over a month away, the trade rumor mill is going to begin to boil. There have already been numerous rumors linking the Rangers to Calgary, others linking the Rangers to Florida, and other stating that the Rangers are looking to trade Marian Gaborik (note: listening to offers and actively looking to trade are completely different). The Rangers have a few holes they need to address if they plan on making a run in the playoffs, most notably they need another scorer and a veteran presence on the blue line. There are a few teams that are already out of the playoff picture, with the Toronto Maple Leafs being one of them, that are worth scouting for fixes to the holes.
The Rangers aren’t going to sacrifice the future for a quick fix. So there’s no need to worry about the Rangers trading Derek Stepan for Tomas Kaberle. It just doesn’t make sense. However, the Rangers will deal from spare parts and depth in the system (such as having two 2nd round picks) to make an attempt to win a few rounds in the playoffs. The Rangers are also going to want players on deals that expire at the end of the season, which will limit some of their options. That said, let’s look at the Toronto Maple Leafs players who have deals expiring after this season:
Tyler Bozak (RFA): Doesn’t fill a hole for the Rangers.
Clarke MacArthur (RFA): Interesting, as he is having a good year, and is one of the Leafs leading scorers. I get the feeling the cost would be too high though.
Fred Sjostrom (UFA): Brandon Prust is better.
John Mitchell (RFA): Pass.
Tim Brent (UFA): Nope.
Mike Brown (RFA): Who?
Tomas Kaberle (UFA): Brian Burke’s biggest trade chip. He will likely be gone after this deadline, but at a king’s ransom. He will fetch a package that will be comparable to Marian Hossa. Assume it costs at minimum a roster player or a top prospect and a first round draft pick. No need to gut the team for him. Pass.
Luke Schenn (RFA): I wish.
Carl Gunnarsson (RFA): Not what the Rangers need.
J.S. Giguere (UFA): Nope.
The only player on the roster that fits the mold of what the Rangers are looking for is Kaberle, and his price is going to be steep. Of course, I’d love to get Luke Schenn, but that isn’t happening. The rest of the players on the roster have multiple years remaining on their deals (Kris Versteeg), and a trade for them would be unlikely. So it doesn’t look like the Rangers and the Leafs make good trading partners for this deadline.