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Rangers trade Joey Keane to Carolina for Julien Gauthier

A rare prospects trade

In a bit of a surprising move, the Rangers have traded defense prospect Joey Keane –their AHL All Star and leading defense scorer in the AHL– to the Carolina Hurricanes for RW Julien Gauthier, a former first round pick of the Canes from 2016.

Keane, a 2018 3rd rounder, burst onto the scene this season with a superb rookie campaign with the Hartford Wolf Pack. Keane has a line of 8-22-30 in 49 games with the Pack, and was their first call up for injury this month, although he didn’t actually play.

Gauthier, the 21st overall pick in 2016, has a line of 26-11-37 in 44 games with Hartford this season. The 22 year old RW is in his third full AHL season, showing significant improvement in each season. The scouting report on Gauthier is that he is big (6’5″, 220 lbs) and fast, and a tremendous net front presence. He is also a very smart hockey player who plays in all situations.

This looks like a swap of prospects from positions of strength for prospects in positions of weakness. The Blueshirts are loaded on the right side of the blue line, but are a little weak up front. I don’t know much about the Carolina prospect system, but they are loaded at the NHL level at RW.

Gauthier surely looks like a Chris Kreider-lite to me. This move has me intrigued.

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  • Too many defensive side prospects and no front-of-net type players to replace Krieder. Tells me more about the NHL-ready players available for CK, who will be traded by the deadline.

    This guy may be a 2nd line player on next year’s team.

    • Fox, Trouba, ADA, and Lundkvist all shoot right. Hajek, Rykov, Miller, and Robertson all shoot left. Trading Keane is dealing from a position where there is strength right now to add a big, fast, forward who we can definitely use in place of Fast, Strome, or LeMeiux.

      • With Lundkvist possibly coming over this was a move they had to make. Both teams dealt from strength and got something they needed.

  • A big, fast young RW with net presence, that is an awesome move. So, why not keep your big, fast LW with net presence too? The Rangers need more guys like that so add, don’t subtract.

  • From EliteProspects: “[Gauthier is] an explosive power forward who boasts an elite-level skill package. Takes nothing for granted and plays with hard-nosed work ethic. Tremendous vision and outstanding hockey sense; thrives under pressure and doesn’t stray from the high-percentage play.

    Willingness to play physical and win battles in his own end makes him a vital asset, stepping up at the game’s key moments.

    Exceptional skating ability allows him to stay with, if not ahead, of each unfolding play. Refined puck handling skills allow him to maintain puck control at breakneck speeds. All-in-all, a prolific scorer whose attitude and innate abilities will constantly propel him into dominance.”

    Either this lets un move Fast back or he can start by slotting on the 4th line. Kills penalties as well, he almost sounds like a cross between Fast and Kreider. Interesting trade that uses one of our strengths (prospect-wise) to help a weakness. Kind of wish he was a LW, but this is a good start to the trade deadline madness.

    • Nice write-up there. Almost sounds like what I recall reading on him back before the draft in 2016.

      I wonder if Gauthier is the replacement for Fast, and Quicky gets dealt in the next few days.

    • I don’t think this is necessarily a precursor to anything as this is just the sort of move the Rangers should be making in any scenario – convert some of the wealth of defense prospects into some forward strength. Even if the Rangers keep everyone, the players blocking Kravtsov and Gauthier are diGuiseppi, McKegg, Howden, Haley. I suspect the loss of half that quartet will not devastate the team.

  • “a little weak up front.” Dave, I think you’re being generous. Howden, Lemieux, McKegg, DiGiuseppe, Fast, Haley.

    • I like the kind of players in Lemieux, McKegg and DiGiuseppe, and wouldn’t mind keeping any of these 3; however, they are all replaceable…and with better-skilled players (that we may already have in our system, to replace any of these, listed above). McKegg has played smart, and so had DiGiuseppe. Like their style, in the roles they play.

    • I like the kind of players in Lemieux, McKegg and DiGiuseppe, and wouldn’t mind keeping any of these 3; however, they are all replaceable…and with better-skilled players (that we may already have in our system, to replace any of these, listed above). McKegg has played smart, and so has DiGiuseppe. Like their style, in the roles they play.

  • Would the Avs, Oilers or Blues send back a huge return for some combination of Kreider, Strome, Georgiev (Maybe The King instead if he decides to go for a cup?), Skjei, Hajek, Anderson or Fast? Seems like the Rangers could really clean up as a lot of teams have been over paying. Colorado has a ton of injuries, St. Louis has a few and are in a tight race. Boston will probably have to go through the Tampa juggernaut if they have any hope of getting to the finals. Then their are wild cards that might want to shock everyone and go for it, ill advised or whip-smart–any of Dallas, Carolina, Florida, Arizona or Vegas (Leaving out Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary as Kreider hates Canada) could surprise the hockey world. If all or some of the players I listed go in separate deals–the Canadian teams could be potential partners as well.

    JG & JD will have a lot of options.

    Thoughts?

  • Morgan Barron should be in Hartford or NYC as soon as this season after Cornell is done or next season. He looks to be the ideal middle/bottom 6 power/playoff forward as well. I really hope Gettinger and Edstrom pan out as solid bottom six guys. If they are going to go deep in the playoffs in the next few years players like Barron, Gauthier, Gettinger, Edstrom would really help. Barron and Gauthier seem like it’s a matter of when not if. Unfortunately Edstrom and Gettinger are big ifs.

  • I like the trade. This leads me to believe 2-3 things are about to happen: DeAngelo is likely to be resigned and/or Skjei traded and Kreider likely traded as well. Rangers can always try to resign Kreider in the offseason if the cap space makes sense 3-4 years out after all our trades. I still think there’s a chance Lundqvist goes to Colorado as well. Just don’t expect a whole lot in return.

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