As we inch closer to the trade deadline, the conversations are dominated by trade talk. Who to trade. Why to trade him. What returns can be. This and a whole slew of other topics jump to everyone’s minds. One concept that is oft overlooked in this scenarios is selling high, especially with players that are not a part of the organization’s future.
The concept here is pretty simple. The Rangers have a plan –whether or not you agree with that plan is irrelevant here– and they will execute on their plan. Think of the Blueshirts as a company. They have short and long term goals and have identified the pieces needed in the short term to get them to that long term. If there are assets that don’t fit into that long-term goal, you sell them off, even if they are producing for you currently. The Rangers did this with a few players. Michael Grabner comes to mind. As does Derek Stepan.
Alex Georgiev is the perfect example here. Georgiev is probably going to be a solid starter in this league. However the Rangers have already identified Igor Shesterkin as the future goaltender in this organization. This is a Mike Richter/John Vanbiesbrouck situation. You can only keep one, and the Rangers are going to keep Shesterkin, like Richter. So they will trade Georgiev the way they traded Beezer.
The good news is that Georgiev’s value is sky high, and given some of his advanced metrics, this may be the highest it will ever be. In the short term it may not seem like it makes sense, keeping the 38 year old franchise netminder who may actually be having a better season, over the 23 year old, but Henrik Lundqvist isn’t getting you to talk about Kasperi Kapanen in a trade rumor. Selling high on Georgiev gets you an asset you can use, whereas trying to trade a 38 year old gets you a mid-round pick at best. All this without actually impacting your future in net. For a club that struggles with asset management, this is a no-brainer.
That brings us to players like Chris Kreider, Ryan Strome, Tony DeAngelo, Jesper Fast, and to a lesser extent Brendan Lemieux. All are on some level of expiring contract, and all are playing pretty well. If the Rangers have identified that none of the four are part of their long-term solution, then the trade value will never be higher, especially for players like Strome and DeAngelo who have value beyond the trade deadline as potential future pieces. Again, this is about asset management and ensuring you use these assets to get to that future goal.
Most of the focus is going to be on Kreider in the short term, as it appears the Rangers want him around, but contract demands can always throw a wrench into the process. Fast as well, especially with that Zach Kassian contract in Edmonton. After that the focus shifts to the RFAs.
Alex Georgiev is going to be a casualty of the great goalie pipeline the Rangers currently have, and selling now will get the Rangers the best possible price. The same argument could be made for Strome and DeAngelo, and it’s part of the reason why I mention them a lot in potential trades. It’s about building the best Rangers team possible and getting the most out of the assets. Every player mentioned here has value to the Rangers. Evaluating how much future value they have is thankfully not my job, and a process that gets repeated every year.