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 Toronto, 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 Edmonton Oilers being one of them, that are worth scouting for fixes to the holes.
The Rangers aren’t going to sacrifice the core future for a playoff rental, it doesn’t fit with the current team plan. So there don’t need to be any worries about trading a guy like Brandon Dubinsky for Jim Vandermeer. It’s just not going to happen. The Rangers are going to be looking for guys with expiring contracts, so there are no financial commitments for next season. Obviously this is a general statement, as there are going to be exceptions (see: Wojtek Wolski trade). With the Panthers out of the race, they are going to look to reshape the roster by selling at the deadline, so let’s look at their trade-able assets:
Andrew Cogliano (RFA): Cogliano is a name that has been linked to the Rangers for a long, long time. There were many rumors of Cogliano coming to New York (with Sheldon Souray) for Michal Rozsival and Brandon Dubinsky. Luckily, Souray broke his hand, and the deal never went through. Cogliano is young, fast, and cheap from a salary perspective. But, he hasn’t been able to put together a scoring touch, and he would require a relatively decent return. With the Rangers getting healthy, there’s no need for him.
Ryan Jones (UFA): He has 11 goals this year, which is pretty good for the 26 year old. If the Rangers need to acquire Ryan Jones, then something else is wrong.
Zack Stortini (RFA): Another bottom-six guy isn’t needed.
Jean-Francois Jacques (RFA): See Stortini.
Liam Reddox (RFA): See Stortini/Jacques.
Steve MacIntyre (UFA): Pass.
Jim Vandermeer (UFA): A veteran defenseman that would come cheap, and help stabilize the blue line a bit. He’s not going to be a show stopper or a booming shot, but he would be a nice reliable guy to have back there. Of course, the Rangers don’t need another guy like him, they need a scorer on the blue line. He would be nice in the locker room, but he’s just not what the Rangers need right now.
Jason Strudwick (UFA): And you think Rozsival is slow?
Ladislav Smid (RFA): Would likely require a good return to get his services. However, with the Rangers defense as young as it is, is Smid necessary? I say no.
Theo Peckham (RFA): I really like this kid. The dude is just mean. He won’t score much, but he would fight anyone and hit anything in his path. Edmonton isn’t letting him go.
The Oilers don’t have many assets that have expiring contracts. If they want to deal, they are going to have to deal guys with years remaining on their contracts, and it doesn’t look like Glen Sather is ready to do that just yet. Although the Oilers and Rangers would likely make decent trading partners, the timing isn’t right for a trade between the two teams.