Irresponsible Rumormongering

Which kids can be considered trade bait?

As the NHL trade deadline approaches and Glen Sather adjusts his moving-target-deadline-strategy, the conversation is likely to shift from which roster players can be dealt to which kids can be dealt. As the push for a Stanley Cup in the Henrik Lundqvist era continues (and, frankly as the window closes), the Rangers are going to push and go for it all, meaning they aren’t likely to deal established roster players for immediate help.

This turns the conversation to the farm system, and identifying which prospects may be blocked from making the roster, or may not even be in the long term plans of the organization. This includes kids that have developed nicely, kids that are former first round picks, or kids that seem to have flamed out.

Dylan McIlrath

McIlrath is an interesting case. He’s been in the system for what seems like forever, and a lot of folks are tired of waiting for the 22-year-old defenseman. He’s a former first round pick who has made progress in his development, but skating is naturally an issue for him. McIlrath is currently blocked by Dan Girardi, Dan Boyle, and Kevin Klein until at least the 2016-2017 season, after Boyle’s contract expires. Klein is signed through the 2017-2018 season, and Girardi is signed until this decade ends.

McIlrath is viewed as a stay at home defenseman who will pack a mean punch and be a crease clearer. However, holes in his skating can be exploited by the better players in the league, something we saw when Vladimir Tarasenko schooled him earlier in the season. Assuming he can gap control and limit shots to the outside, he has the potential to be an effective defenseman when deployed properly.

Oscar Lindberg

This is where I might catch a little blow back, but hear me out. Lindberg is another guy that may be suffering from prospect fatigue, since the 23-year-old center is another 2010 draftee that hasn’t made it to the NHL yet. Acquired by the Rangers in a trade for Ethan Werek in 2011, Lindberg is a noted defensive specialist who wins a boatload of faceoffs (60% in the SHL). He’s another guy we’ve been heading about for four years, but he hasn’t even played an NHL game yet.

Lindberg is currently blocked by Lee Stempniak, Dominic Moore and Tanner Glass. Moore is only signed through next season, Stempniak isn’t someone who can really be considered a “block,” and Glass, well, yea. I think the Rangers would benefit from seeing what Lindberg has to offer by giving him 4LW duties with Moore and Stemp.

Reading between the lines, it appears management is content with him staying in Hartford, which –in my opinion– means the young Swede could be considered expendable for an immediate upgrade on the roster.

Ryan Bourque

Bourque’s future with the Rangers has been in doubt since he was cut from the club this year. Bourque took forever to develop, and as an undersized, defensive winger, has his work cut out for him. He’s already 24 years old, and now he requires waivers to be sent to the AHL. I can see him being an intriguing option for teams that lack depth, but I don’t think he gets his shot with the Rangers. Too many kids (Anthony Duclair, Pavel Buchnevich, Jesper Fast, Kevin Hayes) have passed him on the depth charts.

J.T. Miller

What kid of “kids that could be dealt” post would be complete without the obligatory mention of Miller? I mentioned him once, but I honestly think –perhaps I’m just blindly hopeful– his recent chemistry with Hayes and Carl Hagelin means he will stick around past the deadline. Miller has shown he has the skill to compete in the NHL, but he still makes a bunch of mistakes in the defensive zone that drive Alain Vigneault wild.

One of the major issues with Miller prior to this year was his work ethic, and it looks like he finally figured things out. If the Rangers trade him, they will regret it.

But what will the Rangers get?

Well, that’s the concern. Santorelli and Franson are off the market. Hanzel is injured. Chris Neil and Antoine Vermette make no sense. Sekera could be a good fit, but is a pure rental.

While these are four kids could be prime trade bait, the question heading into the deadline: Is it worth it to deal one of these kids for a rental? And if so, are there rentals even worth it?

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  • Window closing or not, I just don’t see any upgrades with what is rumored to be available on the market. Unless Sather makes a move for someone who isn’t rumored to be available I would say stand pat.

    Making a move for the sake of making a move doesn’t make much sense. The 3rd line has clicked, if AV lets Fast back into the lineup to sure up the 4th line and removes Glass there is a solid amount of skill up and down the lineup.

    While the 6/7 D spot is questionable and they could use a guy who could move the puck better and is quicker on his feet I don’t see Sekera as that guy. He had a breakout year last year, but hasn’t produced much any other season of his career. Bad teams or not. Admittedly I don’t watch much ‘Canes games because there are other teams and games to watch that are usually better; but he did not look like much of an upgrade over Moore or Hunwick in the last game against NYR. But he did show off his skills to put the puck right on Nash’s stick for the Rangers’ first goal of the game.

    If there are more options out there to make a deal I say explore them, maybe trade a kid or 2. With the current guys currently available on the market I would say stand pat.

      • Oh I know, so it’s going to be an interesting deadline year for sure if he makes a move. I don’t see it for Sekera, and definitely not at that asking price. At least I hope not. He looked an awful lot like MDZ.

  • I think that all the Rangers need is one more decent forward. Trading Miller doesn’t really solve that problem. Personally I don’t see that McIlraith or Bourque will net anything worthwhile, but maybe Sather can get his spare part for McIlraith. If he can do so, I’m guessing he will.

    Personally, I’d like to see Lindberg given a chance to be that extra forward. If AV simply won’t give him a shot, it makes sense to deal him for a player who can help.
    I do not think he will ever be readier than he is now.

    Another option is Haggerty. He may have good market value and IF the Rangers don’t like what they see (I have no information here), selling him high would make sense.

  • Good analysis, especially on the worth of these players. Miller has value. The other three are organizational depth with little to no value to other teams. Other teams scout and see the same holes in their games that we do. There should be a deal on the level of Callahan for St. Louis. History has shown this the window to win and they aren’t just a 6th defenseman or 4th line player from doing so. We saw how the cap robbed depth from the roster last summer and it will only get worse this summer with the slew of free agents, no round 1 pick again and Lundqvist getting a year older. This is an old team getting older. Time to be bold Glenn, future be damned.

    • The other guys have value as well. I think McIlrath would at least have been given a real shot by now on a team that wasn’t dressing Girardi-Boyle-Klein regularly. Same with Lindberg.

      • I agree on Lindberg, but Ryan Bourque really has little value. Remember – he cleared waivers. Any other team that was willing to play him could have had him for nothing. I see Bourque as a nice fifteenth forward, the kind of guy who comes in real handy if a few guys get injured at once. He won’t embarrass you, but won’t do much either. You always want a few guys like that on your AHL team, but no one will give much in trade because such players are available on the waiver wire. Your trading partner would have to be a contender struggling with injuries.

  • Not so old!

    Except for Hank, these are our only players beyond 32 (arbitrary age for the beginning of the decline in skills) years of age.

    Boyle on D. Let’s hope he finishes this year strong and that’s all he’s here for anyway.

    Glass, D. Moore, Stempniak and MSL on O. MSL is either timeless, if he comes back in time for the playoffs, or gone. Glass we (mostly) agree is better off gone anyway. Stempniak is replaceable next year from within or without. D. Moore with the right line mates still seems to have some life to him. After all he’s had some time off in his career.

    Lot’s of youth actually IMO.

    • Not so old if you focus strictly on age alone. Girardi isn’t getting faster. Nash is amazing, but is this season an outlier or do you expect him to repeat 45 goals again next season when he is 31? How about 33? Klein is 30. They may not have a lot of older players, but certainly most of the key contributors are over 30 years old. Which of the young guys is a world-class player like a Nash or MSL or Henrik? They are nice players for sure, but the Rangers highly skilled guys are all on the older side, minus McDonagh.

  • Watch Slats get someone like a Taylor Hall from Edmonton as a big improvement on the 4th line.

  • Duclair, Buchnevich and Skjei are close to untouchable

    Hayes, Miller and Fast are contributing NHLers on ELCs. Need to have that to be successful in the cap era

    Lindberg should provide some cheap forward depth in the near term (or now in most opinions)

    Skapski, Halverson, Shersterkin and Graves are all intriguing young prospects

    McIlrath is moveable but not just for the sake of moving him. Still a decent chance he can contribute in a 3RD role

    Everyone else has little chance of being an impact player in the NHL

  • Mcilrath is interesting to me because he will need waivers next year. We can see him being moved for a rental or in a Clendening to VAN like deal. That said management likes him and he has been improving recently from what ive seen.

    I dont know what a team would give up for Bourque, i see him being similar to someone like Brian Gibbons (now in CBJ) a tenacious bottom 6 guy, but how many teams have traded assets for someone like that recently? Better than a throw in though.

    All i can say about Miller is that I pray we dont trade him for a rental 3rd liner. That said if Marty McFly can bring us the almanac and show sather if he trades Miller for someone to win the cup then we do that.

    Lindberg, as much as I love him and am sure he becomes at the minimum a really nice bottom 6 and think he will be on the team next year if a nice offer comes up we do the deal.

  • I would trade Jesper before any of the others. JT is the better of the bunch and with Hags in the lineup, Fast is redundant and expendable.

  • Miller = Should be untouchable unless it’s for an impact player for this year and next.

    McIlrath = Bust. If you can move him then great.

    Lindberg = If the rangers are going to waste him then might as well trade him. He’s bored in Hartford.

    Ryan Bourque = Will never see the NHL as a Ranger. Not with AD and Buch coming and all but one of Zuc, Haggy, and MSL being re-signed for sure.

    Bottom line is the only trade chips they have are Miller (untouchable IMO) and Lindberg (tradeable). Not much to choose from.

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