Some interesting trade rumor tidbits – the Rangers have scouted the Colorado Avalanche fairly heavily. The Blueshirts had a scout there on January 18th (vs St. Louis) and again on the 20th (vs. Detroit). Usually you can write off a scout at a game as a one-off, since that is their job. However twice in the same week does seem to add smoke to the conversation.
Chris Kreider has been linked to Colorado since last summer, when the Avs turned down sending the 16th overall pick to the Rangers for Kreider. Status quo does change, and it is unlikely the Avs draft in the top-20 this year, so that does lower the value of a first round pick. It lessens the value of the pick and does open up package type deals for a bottom-six forward and a pick.
It’s no secret that the Rangers want NHL ready players, specifically forwards. The Avs have a few players that fit that bill: Tyson Jost, Vlad Kamenev, and Valeri Nichushkin are the three young forwards, with Jost likely being the main target (Nichushkin is a retread and Kamenev doesn’t fit the bill). The 21 year old center, a former 10th overall pick, is on the last year of his ELC and centering the fourth line (behind MacKinnon, Kadri, and Bellemare). He has a line of 5-10-15 in 46 games this year, and has been about a 10-goal, 20-point center since sticking in the NHL.
It is worth noting that the Blues, who missed out on Taylor Hall, were the Avs’ opponent in that first game, and the Blueshirts just wanted to get two birds with one stone. I highly doubt Robert Thomas would be available for a rental, and the only other young forward (Jordan Kyrou) was a healthy scratch that game.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Doesn’t mean a deal between the two teams, likely around Kreider, gets done, but the Rangers are doing their due diligence.