On the Johnny Gaudreau trade rumors, and if he’s a good fit for the NY Rangers

Over the weekend Johnny Gaudreau’s name entered trade rumors, and the NY Rangers were also mentioned as a potential suitor.

Gaudreau had a down year this season, putting up just over half of his 99 points from last year (18-40-58 in 70 games). Regardless, he is a top LW talent who would certainly make the Rangers a better team. The concern, as always with these trade rumors, is fit and cost.

The Fit

Gaudreau, as a LW, would be a luxury for a Rangers team that already has Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider on the left side. Both are signed to long-term deals, so based solely off this information, Gaudreau isn’t a fit. Of course, there’s more nuance to this conversation.

Gaudreau is certainly capable of playing the off-wing, where the Rangers are rather light at RW. Gaudreau on one wing with Panarin on the other makes the top line for the Rangers the most dangerous in the league with almost any center.

The Cost

Gaudreau’s cost is an interesting topic. He’s an elite talent, but he’s only signed for two more years. After which he’s expected to get a decent pay hike. With only two years of cost certainty before he hits unrestricted free agency at 29 years of age. That ensures he won’t cost as much as say, Jack Eichel.

That said, Gaudreau doesn’t come cheap. Any conversation with Calgary, who is short on defensemen, begins with Adam Fox, whom the Flames originally drafted before he was traded to Carolina. The Rangers aren’t moving Fox, so they go right down the line to the next NHL defenseman on the list. Yes, that means Tony DeAngelo.

DeAngelo is interesting because he has value on paper. However sources tell me that his contract status –unsigned, arbitration rights– does take away some of that value. It makes logical sense (and as an aside, is something I will be focusing more on when discussing these types of things). The Rangers, regardless of DeAngelo’s value, would need to add.

Alex Georgiev is the next logical piece. Calgary needs goalies, although contract status might be a concern for Calgary. But DeAngelo and Georgiev isn’t going to cut it either. Given Gaudreau is a winger, a winger likely needs to go back. Naturally the ask is Kaapo Kakko, which isn’t happening. Next on the list is Vitali Kravtsov.

That’s DeAngelo, Georgiev, and Kravtsov for Gaudreau. This sounds awfully light to me, and probably does to you as well. There’s uncertainty across all three of these guys, and we as Ranger fans likely inflate their value. It’s a safe assumption that the earlier of the 2020 1st rounders would have to be added. Top-pick protected, of course.

Is it worth it?

That’s a steep cost for the Rangers at a position they don’t necessarily need. That kind of cost is best used on a center, not a winger. Outside of Mika Zibanejad, the center position is up in the air. As good as Gaudreau is, the timing doesn’t seem right.

Trade rumors, for some reason, always involve the Rangers when it comes to stars like Johnny Gaudreau. As good as he would look on Broadway, he seems more like a luxury than a piece that rounds out holes in the roster.