Irresponsible Rumormongering

Potential NY Rangers trade target; Mackenzie Weegar

The Rangers still have a lot of questions on left defense. Free agency isn’t going to address these issues. As of now, the Rangers have Ryan Lindgren, Brendan Smith, and Jack Johnson as their starting three on LD, with Tarmo Reunanen, Yegor Rykov, and K’Andre Miller entering as training camp battles. One interesting name has come up as a potential NY Rangers trade target, and that is Florida’s Mackenzie Weegar.

Weegar, a righty that plays the left side, has averaged a 20-point pace the last two seasons with the Panthers. But that doesn’t mean he can’t drive offense. He just doesn’t have the sexy numbers, which may actually keep his cost down.

Before I get yelled at, I used Tony DeAngelo as a comparison here just as an exercise. It doesn’t mean anything. Weegar excels at the defensive aspects of the game while also being able to drive offensive chances. The numbers suggest that if put into a more offensive role, he might put up more points. He’s no DeAngelo offensively, but for a team that needs a boost defensively, he’d be a good target.

Putting Weegar on the top pair with Jacob Trouba allows Trouba to roam free offensively. He was very successful in this role in Winnipeg. Trouba hasn’t really had that kind of partner with the Rangers. Weegar also has the added benefit of being able to make that first pass out of the zone, again allowing Trouba to join the rush and have a more offensive impact.

Contract Projections

The 26 year old RFA, per Evolving-Hockey, is due about $3.8 million over four years, taking him to his age-30 season. Florida looks to be a budget team this coming season, so that might be too much for them. They Panthers also have $25 million committed to defensemen over the next two seasons, so they may be looking for cheaper options.

To make that contract work within the cap and the roster space, the Rangers would need to find a trade partner for one or both of Ryan Strome and Brendan Smith. It’s rumored they are already shopping both, with Strome more of a priority. But adding Weegar means creating roster flexibility as well.

Trade Cost

This is where it get interesting. How much is roster cost worth to Florida? Does Libor Hajek make sense as the focal point in this trade? He’s a young, cost controlled defenseman with NHL experience. Bill Zito is a bit of an unknown when it comes to trades.

The Rangers have a lot of pieces that could work in a trade to land Mackenzie Weegar. The question is, what does Zito want, and is it too much? It’s unlikely he would take Strome or Smith, so clearing space would have to be done in a separate deal.

Weegar might be a far cheaper option than Vince Dunn, another potential target for the Rangers. Both are solid options. But when it comes to cost, perhaps Weegar is the option here?

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    • Good point. In fact Libor’s 33 games of “NHL experience” indicated that he wasn’t due for an additional 33 games in the NHL until he showed some significant improvement.

      His value based on potential is trending towards the end of its shelf life. And he has shown very little improvement in his 2 years, mostly with Hartford.

  • “Before I get yelled at, I used Tony DeAngelo as a comparison here just as an exercise. It doesn’t mean anything.”

    Maybe, but given the expansion draft implications of obtaining this type of LD then one of Lindgren, Trouba or ADA must go … or Weegar must be exposed.

  • While I understand the need to find subjects to write about, and no one wants the Rangers to win the Cup this year more than I, but I do not think this would be a good move at this time. It is my belief that the Rangers should not be trying very hard to trade for someone else’s cap issues. There is not a scenario in my mind where I would give this gentleman a 4 year 3.8 million dollar contract. That seems contradictory to the rebuild. I believe the Rangers have come to a point in the rebuild where they need to take a breath and see where all of the young talent has developed this year. I’m sure you would admit, Dave, that this is an area of strength for the Rangers as they have been stockpiling youth over the last couple of years. Many, like Chytil, DeAngelo, Buchnevich, Fox, Miller and others have showed flashes of what they can do in the NHL. The first three I mentioned as well as, perhaps, Fox are now primed to let us know if they make the jump we have all expected of them. Yes we need to be cognizant of the fact that they may not be ready. That is why the Rangers have made the signings they have this year. I don’t think they want Johnson on the first D line, they would rather have Fox, DeAngelo, Miller ahead of him on the curve. However, they have to have a back up, because, let’s face it, we just don’t know. If we win the Cup this year it will because the kids have risen to the occasion and made the next step. If they don’t, why would we want this guy on the team. The Rangers will have a better idea on the youth progression during and after this season and then will be time to move forward or cut bait on the deserving youth. Stay the course, the cap restraints get much better next year and better decisions could be made. This would be a terrible signing for this year.

    • Couldn’t have said it better myself. You can’t rush this stuff, you have to trust in the process — whether that’s with an individual player or the team as a whole. Obviously you still look for ways to improve the team and/or accelerate the process, but you always have to keep your eye on the bigger picture and the consequences of every action —- especially next year after the expansion draft.

      I still believe that this is year of growth, but it’s the following year where we’ll be legitimate contenders. A lot of questions will be answered after this year … and if we position ourselves properly, we can exploit the effects of the coming expansion draft and the additional salary cap crunch on teams right after it. A lot of teams will experience the same salary cap issues next summer … and there will be even more available UFA/RFAs next season.

  • This is in the lohud today, and is good answer to this thread!!!!!!!!!!

    “If New York Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton is looking for volunteers to play on the left side of the defense, Tony DeAngelo might be his man.

    Following last week’s NHL Draft, Gorton told reporters they were having internal discussions “about our right side and who is the best person to move over (to the left).”

    He specifically mentioned DeAngelo and fellow right-handed defenseman Adam Fox as possibilities, with DeAngelo telling the USA TODAY Network on Tuesday that he’s all for it if the Rangers believe it’s in their best interest.

    “I don’t care who I play with, or which side I play,” he said. “I just want to have the best team possible.”

  • Different time,different scenario. Maybe this would be an ok trade.

    But with expansion, and cap constraints. This would be a no go.
    My thinking is they will hope one of the kids make it.

  • Hello Mr. Gorton,

    I heard through the grapevine you would like the Rangers to be tougher to play against. That is no secret as this is also the current mantra of every other NHL GM.

    With that in mind, I would like to direct you to the Canadiens where contract talks with Mr. Brendan Gallagher, have broken off.

    Mr. Gallagher, as you know, is the epitome of “being tough to play against.” He is a rare blend of skill and feistiness and is also a possession monster.

    The cap of course is a contributing factor and is a key consideration in making this work for both sides. I understand that the Rangers currently have quite a few RW’s, but unfortunately, none of those players, fit the profile of Mr. Gallagher.

    I mention this because there are 29 other teams who are looking to “be tougher to play against,” and Brendan Gallagher is now potentially available.

    Brendan is currently a RFA and will be a UFA next year.

    What do you say? Let’s make this work for five years or so….

    Sincerely,
    EE

  • Dave, you improperly set the stage on LD with Johnson, Lindgren, Smith – with three kids looking in. There were two names left out – Anthony Bitetto, who has been an NHL regular the last few years, and Libor Hajek – both more relevant for this year than Rykov and Reuanen. And IMO either more likely to make the opening roster than Miller.

    JFTR, I don’t expect Hajek to make it – but he is very close to being a decent defensemen and an organization that does not take him seriously is just not a good organization.

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