The more Jack Eichel to the Rangers is spoken about, the more trade packages come up as well. While the focus is generally on what the Rangers will need to send to Buffalo, which is dependent on what direction Buffalo is heading in, there is a question about what the Rangers are willing to part with. Specifically, the question is what prospects the Rangers are willing to part with in trades. Eichel is a very specific scenario, but there are other centers out there.
Just a reminder that not every prospect can play for the Rangers. There simply isn’t enough room on the roster. At some point prospects either fizzle out or get passed by others. It’s not realistic to expect every draftee to suit up at MSG. This is all about asset management, and getting the most out of your prospects, be it on the roster or in trades.
On the roster, it’s safe to assume the Rangers aren’t trading Igor Shesterkin, Adam Fox, K’Andre Miller, Kaapo Kakko, or Alexis Lafreniere. It’s not happening, no matter how much a certain Buffalo beat writer wants it to. The conversation doesn’t “begin with Lafreniere.” It ends there. The Rangers hang up. These guys are cheap, talented, and have already solidified top roles on the team. They aren’t going anywhere.
In most trades, Nils Lundkvist is likely untouchable. This kid is very good and will make the jump to the NHL next season. I’m also going to lean that Vitali Kravtsov is untouchable for the Rangers. But again, the caveat here is *most* trades. Obviously you need to give value to land a Jack Eichel.
This is where the untouchables list ends, and I know there are some great prospects left off this list. However when it comes to possible game-breaking talent, it’s this group.
This is where the situation matters the most. Filip Chytil, for example, is very unlikely to be moved for a center. The point would be to add to center depth, not make a sideways move. Again, Eichel notwithstanding here.
This is the group I’d put players like Matthew Robertson and Braden Schneider. The Rangers love both of these guys. Robertson got an ELC almost immediately. And we all saw how JD reacted when they landed Schneider in the draft. Reading between the lines, these guys are very unlikely to be moved in a deal.
It’s worth noting that this may change, and this is an “as of right now” kind of thing. Robertson and Schneider represent the next wave of cheap defensemen on ELCs that the Rangers may need as their current crop gets more expensive.
The Next Best
This is where the Rangers likely prefer to deal from. And this group has names you may not want to part with. It includes Morgan Barron, who for some reason is viewed as a winger by this organization. If this is true, and the Rangers already have Panarin, Kreider, Kakko, Lafreniere, Kravtsov, and Buchnevich on wing, then where does Barron fit?
Speaking of Buchnevich, I am still convinced he is the next Derick Brassard, in the sense the Rangers view him as the most tradeable asset on the roster. Buchnevich may just be a victim of the numbers game. If the Rangers view him as the next Brassard from an asset management perspective, then they better be right with Kravtsov and/or Barron.
I’m also willing to throw Ryan Lindgren into this group. This is where I’ll get some flack, but Lindgren’s future may also depend on where Robertson winds up in the next year or two. I like Lindgren, the same way I like Buchnevich. But in terms of replaceable players on the roster, they might be the only two that also bring back value.
Three big prospect names also fall into this category, and that would be Tarmo Reunanen, Zac Jones, and Lauri Pajuniemi. Again these are prospects that we like, but in the grand scheme of things, where would they fit long term? These are certainly the ‘B’ prospects to the ‘A’ prospects above.
Alex Georgiev is probably in this group.
Minimal to No Value
This is by no means a slight to some of the guys on this list, but they don’t move the needle much in terms of trade value. They are barely prospects in the Rangers organization anymore, and their inclusion in trades would be for salary or roster balancing.
- Brett Howden
- Libor Hajek
- Ryan Strome
- Tony DeAngelo
- Julien Gauthier
- Anyone over the age of 25, save for Buchnevich
- Anyone else in Hartford not mentioned above
When it comes to trades involving their prospects, it’s probable that the Rangers only want to deal from the bottom two groups. If an Eichel becomes available, then you move up to the second group as well. This is going to be a fluid situation as the trade market develops. Eichel (and Barkov) aside, the Rangers should be able to land a center without sacrificing their best.