Targets for trading up

The Rangers have the 2nd overall pick on Friday, and we all know what’s going to happen there. We’ve also got the 20th pick in the first round though, acquired from Winnipeg in the Kevin Hayes trade, as well two second rounders, a pick in each of the following rounds, and one pick each round in the 2020 draft (far away, I know). Recently there’s been some scuttlebutt about trading a whole host of assets for Jacob Trouba and presumably an extension, but there’s something else the Rangers could do if they want to pull off a blockbuster: trade up at the draft, and by that I mean way, way up.

This draft is generally recognized to be a top-heavy draft, as opposed to next year’s more deep one. It’s pretty good still if you break into the top-10 though, and that’s what I’m proposing here. The Rangers are hypothetically going to make Artemi Panarin an offer he can’t refuse, but if they don’t they’ve got a bit of a goalscoring problem on their hands. If they do it’s always nice to have more. So why not, instead of liquidating a ton of pieces for Jacob Trouba, do something a bit more forward-thinking and jump at the chance to move up if the right player drops. Who are those players though? Well there’s a few that I’d say would be worth it.

The first guy I’d suggest, rather than go for a present-day top-pairing guy, is look towards the future of the Rangers 1D situation. That’d mean Bowen Byram, should he fall past the third slot and especially if he falls beyond the top-5. He’s probably the best offensive defenseman in this draft, and plays with an edge on the backend as well. He’s got exceptional skating ability and passing acumen, and he’d be the guy we could lean on for major minutes for years to come. He’d be very close to the NHL next year and potentially even an option further down the depth chart to start, and he’d be well-worth it in a trading-up scenario.

Another prime candidate for a massive jump up the table would be Cole Caufield. Probably the best pure-shot goalscorer in the draft, he’s Alex DeBrincat to Jack Hughes’s Connor McDavid. His silky hands and ability to find the open areas of the ice by slipping around defending opponents before they even notice would fill out the top-6 beyond just Kravtsov, Kakko, and Panarin (just! as if those three aren’t enough) and allow the Rangers to bump a guy like Pavel Buchnevich down to the third line and really cause a matchup problem for adversaries. That kind of top-to-bottom scoring depth would be nasty in the playoffs, and help the Rangers make deep runs continuously over the course of the years to come.

Lastly, provided he drops, even just a little bit, comes Trevor Zegras. Another USNTDP guy, alongside Hughes and Caufield, Zegras is an excellent playmaker who knows how to compliment skill wingers. That’d be a real advantage for the Rangers to have over opponents, because it’d allow the Blueshirts to pick up cheap free agent wingers each offseason a la Michael Grabner or Benoit Pouliot, plug and play, then trade them at the deadline and restock year after year as those guys build a profile and await their larger, future buyout candidate contract. He’s a center too, so if this were the case the Rangers could flip one of Lias Andersson or Brett Howden along with other trade chips in order to upgrade without much fuss. It’d be an nice bit of work and would help the team out long-term, because Zegras behind Zibanejad and ahead of whichever one of Lias or Howdy doesn’t get moved would be an excellent series of pivots.

All of this is a little pipe-dreamy, but it’s not entirely without precedent. Weirder things have happened – Filip Zadina was projected by almost every analyst that matters to go third last draft and somehow fell precipitously, and although such an occurrence would inevitably cause a bidding war for teams looking to grab one of these guys, a little shakeup on the draft board can have a residual effect and shift around the order enough that someone else might be a steal. These would be my targets, but the sky is the limit when things get weird. Whatever winds up happening on draft day, despite the other pieces that would need to be sent the other way, moving the 20th overall pick to trade up for the right player wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

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  • Legitimately, the Rangers will only be able to trade up 4-5 spots, unless they want to give up assets that they shouldn’t.

    With that in mind, assuming that 15 or 16 is in play for trade, Kailyev is a player that I have targeted, that if he gets past 14, then I think the Rangers should pull the trigger.

    Caufield and Zegras will require the Rangers to trade up into the top 10, and I do not see that happening, it would be too costly, trade wise. I hear that Zegras is being labeled as a “potential star” in the NHL.

    • Tony

      Agree 100% on Artie, soft hands, natural sniper with 102 points this past season, of which 51 were goals, I’m all in on him. He is a risk worth going after, you just can’t teach scoring, but you can teach defense, his weakness.

      I can’t see Bowen Byram going beyond the Hawks, who are in dire need of replacement d-men with Keith, and Seabrook getting long of tooth. Just this past few days they traded for a defensman to try to address this problem. The kid would be dynamite, but it won’t happen. As for Caufield, I think he looked great due to Hughes feeding him all game long. There aren’t too many MSL out there, and this kid is smaller than Marty????????

      I still believe that a deal with Buffalo is the best option for us. We don’t give up our #20, which people want to do for Trouba, we send Vesey, an extra as far as I’m concerned, for Jake Mc Cabe. In so doing we have sooooo many options with which we can work with to move up, or go after Artie. Mc Cabe is a stay at home, big, hard nosed d-man, with snarl, and would defend our kids, along with ADA, and hopefully some day Lindgren. He is inexpensive, and is only 25 years old, what more can we ask for? All this for Jimmy who won’t improve, and will get too expensive down the road. Bottom line, the thought of trading up is great, but you need assets to work with, and that #20 is the first one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Agree on all Walt, my friend.

        The latest on Trouba is that he is the #1 target of the Rangers, even more so than Panarin. BUT, I also heard that Brooks’ suggestion of giving up Buch for Trouba is BS and Brooks’ opinion only, so that’s good. So, in other words, the Rangers are in on Trouba but will not be strong-armed into doing something stupid, it appears like anyway. So that’s all good.

        It seems like Buch is here to stay, which I am very happy about. DeAngelo? He should stay, but for some reason I do not feel that he’s viewed as a definite keeper by the Rangers. IDK, just gut feeling. But he should be a keeper. Having a right side of Trouba, DeAngelo, and Fox is pretty darned good.

        As for McCabe, I think the Rangers are thinking bigger Walt. JD wants to fix the D. He had Seth Jones in Columbus, one of the best in the league, and he wants a similar type here in NY, to lead the D. Hence the desire for Trouba.

        • Richter…

          Rumors and innuendo seem to suggest that the Rangers and Trouba want each other. AZgene seemed to imply that the Rangers weren’t just hot for Trouba but HOT FOR TROUBA a couple of months back. Waiting for AZg to come back here with some insight. Appreciate yours too.

          This is the way I look at it, if the Rangers trade now for him now, then it’s 8 years for probably 64 million. If they don’t trade then he becomes a UFA then it’s 7 years 56 million. I mean one year of probable non-contention to wait for him would save some considerable assets, especially if there is strong mutual interest. But a bird in the hand…. I guess.

          I’m not advocating getting Trouba, just that the signs are pointing to the Rangers making a hard push. I trust them, more than us posters.

          • EGE, Trouba is signing a long-term contract with whomever he lands with, IMO, so there is no “next year” for Trouba.

            Put a gun to my head, it’s the Rangers or Detroit, that Jacob will sign with long-term. I cannot imagine any team that trades for him that will not want a guarantee that he signs long-term, that’s just very bad business and trade asset management. The Jets will allow a team to negotiate with Jacob before making the trade.

            The Jets want to maximize their return for Jacob, and having him sign long-term with his new team will make that happen. No way they trade him as a one year rental. No way. Not with the Rangers and Wings willing and able to make the long-term deal happen.

            This is all my opinion.

          • Pal I just read the Trouba article at the other place….Im blown away by the stupidity there….truly

          • For Trouba to get 8 years, he’ll have to sign with Winnipeg, then get dealt.

            The way everything sounds, I don’t think Trouba’s willing to even risk that.

          • I can dig giving him only 7….You def can’t be on a new team prior to July 1 and get the 8?

      • Caufield scored 16 goals in the 18 games that he didn’t play with Hughes. He’s got to get stronger, but the weight on his frame is good to where he’ll be able to do that.

      • Defence can be taught, but it’s effort on the player’s end for it to be effective. This is why players like Adam Boqvist scare me. I just don’t see the effort in his own end, most of the time. Hoping that they’ll turn it on after 10-13 years goes against a lot of behavioral science absent breaking them down to zero like they do in the Marines. Boqvist was slightly more engaged in London, still had serious problems defending as he had never really worked on those skills.

        Kaliev has put the work in to get where he is from Staten Island, now has to show he’ll work as hard in his own end. You can always shelter them by assigning them F3, but they still need to progress.

        • Reen

          I have to agree on the comment about Kaliyev, but as stated defense can be taught, but scoring touch is an art.

          I must admit that I love your post the most because your coming from a scouts point of view, a perspective that no one else has on this site. I get to see some AHL games, the Hershey Bears, and the Pack when they are in town, and I try to study our kids, but to do it for a living is something else. Keep the good info coming our way, some of really do appreciate it!!!!!!!!!

  • Had we not won the lotteryZegras would have probably been the guy we took. But it’s Kakko. All 3 are great choices but I can’t see a package that gets us into the top 10. Phillys pick at 11 is in play, but that would take someone like Kreider and I would hard pass there. I can see us trade up just not into the top 10.

  • The top 10 picks in this draft are probably too good to pass up so I dont see us getting back into the top 10

  • The Athletic mock has us taking Rapheal Lavoie at 20 ….Pronman mock has us taking Phillip Tomasino…both are forwards

    • If we stay at 20, they should pick another forward. I like Brink a lot and include McMichael in with the guys you mentioned.

  • “That kind of top-to-bottom scoring depth would be nasty in the playoffs”

    What I’d like to know is will the rangers be nasty in the playoffs? And by that I mean, will this be a tough team to play against? All the skill in the lineup come to nothing if they don’t have a group mentality and ability to win those corner and board battles, and we’ve seen it doesn’t work if it’s just one line or one guy on one line been assigned to win every puck battle all over the ice. All these scorers and play makers can’t do their thing if they can’t first get and keep the puck on their sticks.

  • McKenzie saying 8 years, $88M for Karlsson to the Sharks.

    Highway robbery for Karlsson. LOL. Terrible contract for the Sharks.

    Welp, no worries Rangers’ fans. Not that they had interest anyway.

  • Poor Gorton, I almost feel sorry for him … there are so many moving parts this off-season that it can’t be easy to keep them all in mind and it appears to be impossible to please all the fan base.

    Get Trouba, don’t get Trouba, same for Panarin, buyout anyone, don’t buyout anyone, trade Kreider, don’t trade Kreider, trade Vesey, for how much should we trade Vesey, deal Shattenkirk Staal and/or Smith, don’t deal any of them, retain salary on any of them, deal the 20th pick, move up in the 1st round, stand pat in the 1st round at #20 …

    This is a game of dominoes and it will be interesting to see the first few dominoes fall …

    • I don’t feel sorry for him, because I’m sure that he’s in a job that he enjoys doing. With JD’s help and support, I’m pretty sure that he’ll juggle the balls (or dominos, if you prefer) decently. Not that he’ll satisfy all of the fan base, though. Let’s face it, that’s an impossible task. Even accounting for the inevitable differences of opinion, which I can respect, over which draft pick should be taken at each slot, there are those “fans” who will hate his picks just for the sake of hating. Those “fans” just can’t accept the fact that there are actually people who have worked at this for years, who are respected by their peers, who have WORKED their way up to be in this position, who could actually be better at this than THEY who have gained their invaluable insight into the skills of managing a professional sports team by diligently scanning the back pages of their favorite tabloid, will ever be.

  • Trouba will take assets to acquire. NYR have to decide if CK is a keeper Bunch and a kid defenseman isn’t bad, but do not give away pick 20

  • You move up a few spots if there is a special player that has dropped. That said, the NYR’s usually have a special player in mind most others do not. Stick with pick # 20 and take best available.

    • I would like to move up if there is a special talent within reach. Hopefully that special talent is not Goalie – Spencer Knight….

    • These 7-8 year UFA contracts rarely work, in fact I bet you can count them on one or two hands at most. For literally 90% of all players, once you get into your late 20’s the clock is ticking towards the inevitable degradation of skills and physical health. Sure, these signings tend to work out initially in the majority of cases … but half way (if you’re a little lucky) through the contract buyer’s remorse always sets in. I say these types of 8 year deals are reserved for your OWN prospects that earn them by the age of 22-25 and/or if you’re literally sure that you’re ONE elite player away from truly competing for the SC — and that player available is truly the RIGHT player to get you over the top, never “settle”.

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