Two questions for the mailbag. As always, use the widget on the right to submit your questions for the week.
Well this is a bit of a morbid question, but let’s tackle the second half of the question first. The logical answer here is yes, trading down might make more sense, however it takes two to tango. After the top two picks, the next 5-7 guys are all interchangeable throughout the draft, so it’s team preference. There’s no clear cut choice, unless a team really likes someone to move up and take them at second overall.
My guess is the Rangers would want to target Dylan Cozens in this scenario. They signed his line mate Jake Elmer earlier, and it’s a safe assumption that they were also scouting Cozens when scouting Elmer. The Blueshirts have a history of keeping players together like this. Cozens isn’t the consensus #3, but it’s whom I bet the Rangers target.
There are also good choices in Kirby Dach, Vasili Podkolzin, Trevor Zegras, and Alex Turcotte. Any of them would be good choices in this scenario. Again there’s no clear cut answer here, and the Rangers would be getting a solid prospect no matter what. Hopefully it doesn’t come to this though. Kakko and Hughes are on a whole other level.
Rangers West asks: If other teams take on contracts of players who will never play again (Pronger/Savard) to reach the cap floor, why is trading Marc Staal so impossible?
The easiest answer here is that Staal has a no-move clause and would need to approve any trade. Considering his family is here, is kids are here, and his life is here, why would he do that? It’s not like any team he’d be traded to would be contending for a Cup. He has the power in his contract to veto any trade.
The other answer here is that Pronger, Savard, Datsyuk, all these guys were basically retired. They didn’t file the paperwork though because of the silly cap penalty rule. Pronger was working for the NHL when the Coyotes still had him on the books. It was crazy. Staal is still an active player, so it’s not like he’s completely dead cap space for these teams. He’d require a roster spot and some teams may prefer to just have their kids play.
I’m sure the Rangers will approach Staal some day about waiving his NTC to go to a contender. As of now, he’s still a guy that can fill in a roster spot for the Rangers if some of the kids aren’t ready. He’s not a value add kind of player, but hey I’m finding silver linings here.