No matter how this season ends for the New York Rangers, it is a resounding success. However despite that success, it is clear the Rangers have work to do. Injuries have exploited lack of forward depth, and the Brady Skjei trade highlighted how poor that position is on the team currently. Luckily for the Rangers, the cap is expected to increase significantly, opening up their options (and rumors!) to address holes via trade
Scoring depth is probably managed via prospect development (Chytil, Kakko, Kravtsov) and shrewd free agent signings to fill out the depth. However addressing the left defense issues requires a more hands-on approach, in the way the Rangers addressed their right defense issues last offseason.
The Blueshirts have some pretty decent trade chips in Alex Georgiev and potentially a 70-point Ryan Strome, both RFAs, plus a pair of first round picks this season. Now packaging them together won’t get you a true 1LD. Those are rare and it’s going to cost more than those that. It’s just the price of doing business. However a combination of these assets likely gets you a solid top-four option with team control.
Target Dumb GMs
Dale Tallon. Whoever is running the Edmonton Oilers nowadays. Anyone who has a history of being a bad GM or has made some baffling moves over the past few seasons.
Tallon has been rumored to be looking at blowing up the Florida Panthers. Does that mean Aaron Ekblad could become available? He could, but the Panthers don’t need Georgiev, eliminating a key trade piece. I’d avoid Mike Matheson and that contract at all costs, so unless Tallon really thinks Ekblad is terrible, I don’t think there’s a match here.
As for Edmonton, there’s some smoke here. They could use any semblance of depth scoring being McDavid and Draisaitl, plus their goaltending situation is precarious at best. Would they be willing to part with Oscar Klefbom? Possibly. Plus there’s the hilarity of them getting Strome back after gifting him to the Rangers two years ago that makes me want to will this into existence.
The Hockey Trade
These are increasingly rare lately. The Avalanche are another good fit here. Yes they just signed Pavel Francouz to a two-year deal, but that’s likely for expansion draft reasons. He’s a backup. There’s a fit here with Georgiev. The Avs have a good stock of defense with names like Connor Timmins and Bowen Byram on the way. Are they willing to part with Ryan Graves? Sure it’s a kick to the gut for the Rangers who gifted him to Colorado, but it is what it is.
Columbus can’t score at all and basically traded last year’s draft for a playoff run. Do they think Strome and draft picks have value? Are they willing to part with Ryan Murray, or even better, Vlad Gavrikov?
The Ones We Don’t See Coming
Let’s be real, this is likely what’s going to happen. Shea Theodore? Ryan Pulock? Noah Hanifin? You never know.
The Rangers are pretty good at keeping things close to the vest. When things leak, it’s usually from the other team, not the Rangers. For all we know they may look to swap Jacob Trouba for a LD.
Of course they could just move Tony DeAngelo to LD, something we’ve been preaching for a while around here.