Thoughts following the Joey Keane trade

The Rangers traded Joey Keane to Carolina for Julien Gauthier

The NY Rangers made their first trade of the 2020 trade deadline season, but it wasn’t one that anyone saw coming. The Blueshirts sent defenseman Joey Keane to the Carolina Hurricanes for forward Julien Gauthier. This was billed as a prospects trade, but Gauthier was immediately called up to the Rangers and was assigned #12, leading us to believe he will suit up for the Rangers tonight against Chicago. As per usual, I have some thoughts.

1. This is a hockey trade through and through, and it’s always nice to see one of these. The Rangers are spoiled with defense prospects in the system and young defensemen at the NHL level, but were lacking scoring prospects outside Vitali Kravtsov. The Canes were lacking defense prospects, but were flush with young talent at the NHL level and in the system. Both clubs dealt from a position of strength to address a position of weakness. A solid hockey trade through and through.

2. By all accounts, Gauthier is NHL ready, which addresses what the Rangers have been prioritizing this season. The cost was high, and you have to give to get in this league. Keane is likely to have an NHL future, but the chance that it was with the Rangers was getting smaller by the day. It hurts to trade a guy like Keane, but this isn’t one of those Ryan Graves trades where they got nothing. They got something tangible, even if Gauthier doesn’t work out.

3. As for Gauthier, he seems to be a Chris Kreider-lite, in the sense that he’s big, has breakaway speed, is a great net-front presence, and is a very smart hockey player in all three zones. I stirred things up a little bit by saying he might be a replacement for Kreider. That may be the case, but I don’t think his acquisition makes Kreider any more or less expendable. The two are on separate tracks here, and Gauthier doesn’t really impact Kreider at all. His presence may make a Kreider trade more palatable, if anything.

4. As for Keane, the Rangers already have Jacob Trouba, Adam Fox, Tony DeAngelo, and Ryan Lindgren at the NHL level. They will be giving Libor Hajek every opportunity to rebound next season. Yegor Rykov is knocking at the door. They have K’Andre Miller, Nils Lundkvist, and Tarmo Reunanen likely to join the AHL this offseason (just a guess – nothing confirmed). They have Matthew Robertson and Zac Jones from this past draft year. Keane was a luxury and easily expendable. He’s likely going to make the NHL at some point, but clearly the Rangers prioritized everyone else over him. That is ok.

5. This trade is a prime example of good asset management. Keane may have been the second call up (first being Lindgren) this season, but it was unlikely he would have kept his status as that option into next season. His value was at an all time high with his All Star season and the improvement he’s shown, so the Rangers capitalized at the best opportunity.

6. I said on the podcast (recorded last night, go listen!) that I am petrified that the Rangers are going to make a mistake with Kreider, Strome, and their other pending free agents. I don’t necessarily know what that mistake is, but this is a dangerous trade deadline and offseason for them and can derail all rebuild progress. But I’m going full prediction here for you guys. The trade for Gauthier makes Ryan Strome expendable in a package deal with Alex Georgiev to Colorado. That’s my prediction. Strome and Georgiev to Colorado at the deadline.

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  • Dave

    Agree with all stated, and I stated so in the previous thread. The only question is why Strome to Colorado, I thought they were very high on Kreider??

    If all goes well, this could be the beginning of us getting bigger, and more skilled. I can see Morgan Barron, along with Miller as part of the rebuild that gets more skilled, and bigger players with more grit than the current roster. Last point, this kid plays many rolls, and in many situations, such as the PP, and PK. Good deal for both teams!!!!!!!!

    • A trade with Colorado makes sense to Me.Colorado lost their starting goaley do too injury and Georgiev would be a big help to them,but my question is, who are the Rangers going to be receiving in return.

  • I’m not sure I follow your logic that acquiring Gauthier makes Strome expendable. Gauthier is RW. Strome is a natural C that can play the wing. He’s meshed well at C with Panarin, and who do we have to replace that void? Zib and Chytil are left… who slots into 3C and 4C? No prospects are currently ready to make that jump into that position. Howdy’s shown little enough that he’s currently 4th line wing… unless you are *loosely* inferring that we get an NHL-ready C in return, I just don’t see it

    • You don’t really need a prospect to fill 3C/4C roles. You can fill out role players through free agency (note: not big contracts).

    • Morgan Barron also plays center. If he makes the team next year he could fill one of those spots. And I would imagine they will be targeting a center in the first round of the draft as well.

      • Andy;

        I would rather that the Rangers target the best player available in the draft, instead of looking specifically for a C.

        • I would say this. Best player based on who’s list? Remember Nail Yakupov? He was top of everyone’s list. There’s a lot of players that went after him in the 2012 draft that have had far better NHL careers. And he’s in the KHL now. The Devils smartly took Hischier over Patrick,in 2017, but the consensus was Patrick #1. They were wise to not listen. I bet Philly wishes they had grabbed Elias Petterson instead. NJ might even feel that way about Petterson too.

          My point is draft the best player but you also need to draft the best player available based on your teams most pressing needs. Considering the Rangers farm system, Would you take a Defense-man or a goalie with the first round pick(assuming it’s 10-13 range) in this draft if they were the best player available based on ranking? I would go for a center or LW. You’re splitting hairs about who is better after a certain point. This also happens to be a deep draft for centers in the first round.

  • Unless there’s something we all don’t know about re: Gauthier, no reasonable person could debate this trade on paper. This wasn’t a deal involving two perceived draft choice failures. This was a trade of two promising prospects. I love this trade … and chances are that in another year we’ll be making a somewhat similar trade with one of our promising LDs (with Lindgren’s ascension, Miller, Rykov, Robinson, etc. it could very well be Hajek, or more likely Skjei).

  • Talented forwards are not easy to come by. We stockpiled defensemen and now are using our assets to acquire needs at another position.

    Fast & Strome (and maybe Georgi) are goners at the deadline. Look for a surprise as well (Buch or Howden) to be moved. All you have to do is play Boston a few times to understand their strengths (and our weaknesses). We need some bigger, tougher, puck-controlling forwards. We need a GREAT PK and additional speed.

    Remember another thing. Lines like Chytil & Kakko have lots of potential. Howden & McKegg give you very little offense. We need 4 solid lines to roll that can cause some havoc. We do not have that. Upgrade the talent and give yourself CAP flexibility.

  • Nitpicking here but to point #4 last sentence- you can’t say that the Rangers “clearly prioritized everyone else over him”. Some of the other names you mentioned don’t get the Canes to give up Gauthier. The Rangers wanted Gauthier (4th in AHL scoring this year w 26 goals) and had to give up Keane to get him. If anything, the Canes prioritized Keane over our other defensive prospects in the system.

  • I like the trade a lot. The Rangers did what made sense in dealing from strength, dealing a valuable defenseman from their stockpile, for a player they clearly need–a big, young forward prospect who is NHL ready. Hopefully the trade looks as good for both teams down the road.

  • I think this trade is fine for both teams. You have to give to get. i hope this means they are going to resign ADA. Lots of rumblings about Rangers and Colorado. I have to wonder what it would take to get Alex Newhook? They wouldn’t trade the pick for Kreider straight up last year, but they didn’t have Kadri then either. With him signed at a good price for 2 more years and MacKinnon as the clear #1 what does that mean for Newhook? He’ll be on an elc and him and Kadri can go back and forth between lines 2 and 3. But one can hope. I like Kaut also, but do we need another RW?

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