jeff gorton

During last night’s game against the Flyers, Darren Dreger came on the air and noted that like many teams, the Rangers are actively looking for a top-four defenseman between now and the trade deadline. This isn’t exactly Earth shattering news, as half the league is looking to add a top-four defenseman. After all, doesn’t a top-four defenseman make every team better?

Dreger did note that the Rangers are actively scouting and doing their homework though. It’s worth noting that we’ve heard the Rangers, particularly their front office staff, scouting the Ducks frequently this season. The Rangers likely don’t want a rental. So perhaps there’s a match, but the salary cap makes things tricky.

The Ducks certainly stand out as the obvious trade partners, but there are others that have been mentioned throughout the year. A scout gets mentioned to be in attendance at every game, and there are rumors about teams like Calgary, Winnipeg, and Arizona almost daily. Assuming Kevin Klein needs to go in any trade to clear roster space, there are a few scenarios worth taking a look.

cam fowler

Anaheim Ducks

Who’s potentially available? Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen. Let’s assume Hampus Lindholm isn’t available.

What do they need? Cheap scoring forwards and to shed some salary.

Is this a fit? Definitely. The Ducks are over the cap at the moment, and are using LTIR relief to continue dressing a full roster. They have a lot of expensive talent, but lack any real depth scoring. Andrew Cogliano is a top-six forward there, and that simply doesn’t cut it. They need scoring, and they need it to come with a cheap cap hit. The Rangers have that in bulk.

Can it happen? Possibly. Both teams fill needs for the other, but it’s a question about price for one of Fowler (pass) or Vatanen (yes please). Fowler may be more attainable, since he likely comes with a cheaper price tag, but is arguably not a top-four defenseman. Whereas Vatanen –who 100% is a top-four defenseman, and a righty to boot– would cost at least Miller+, Fowler can likely be had for something less valuable. Then again, never underestimate Randy Carlyle’s ability to misjudge defense talent.

Jacob Trouba

Winnipeg Jets

Who’s potentially available? Jacob Trouba.

What do they need? Goaltending. Top-six talent. Apparently a comparable defenseman to Trouba, if Kevin Cheveldayoff is to be believed.

Is this a fit? Probably not, but potentially. If Cheveldayoff is being truthful in his demands, then the conversation starts with Ryan McDonagh, which is a hard no from the Rangers. The Jets are in no rush to move Trouba with Tyler Myers on the shelf. If the Jets realize Trouba is their best chip to fill multiple holes while sacrificing some short term success, then it might work. I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Can it happen? I’m going with no. The Rangers are unmatched in goaltending prospect depth, though, so I wouldn’t completely rule it out. If Cheveldayoff comes down from his demands of a top pairing defenseman, then perhaps the Rangers can put a package together centered around Brady Skjei and a goalie prospect not named Shestyorkin.

dougie hamilton

Calgary Flames

Who’s potentially available? If you believe the rumors, then Dougie Hamilton. Dennis Wideman is also likely available, but would be a rental.

What do they need? Oy. Everything, including –for some inexplicable reason– cap space. But outside of Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, they have no talent up front.

Is this a fit? Absolutely. Like with the Ducks, the Rangers have a ton of forwards that would interest Brian Burke. But again this comes down to price. Even as a rental Wideman is likely to be expensive, although his NMC might lower his price. The Rangers aren’t going to sell the farm for another rental, so this really comes down to if Hamilton is truly available.

Can it happen? I’ll go with yes, but it would cost something fans don’t want to give up. I’m talking some combination of a cheap roster forward (not Buchnevich), a top prospect, and a pick. If the Rangers were able to land a good bottom-six forward for that package, I’m all for it. Burke is the ultimate wild card here. No one knows what he’s thinking. There’s a deal to be made here with a Hamilton/Stepan headline too.

Arizona Coyotes

Who’s potentially available? Michael Stone, as a rental, I guess. There’s not much there that Arizona would actually trade.

What do they need? Offense. Defense. Cheap. Expensive. Doesn’t matter.

Is this a fit? Probably not, as Gorton likely isn’t going to make a big deal for Stone.

Can it happen? I actually don’t think this is a fit. Gorton isn’t going to part with a lot to land a rental. The Yotes aren’t in a position to take on salary cap space either, as they are actually over the cap ceiling.

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