Irresponsible Rumormongering

The Rangers 2021 first round pick should be traded for immediate needs this offseason

Sell The Pick Jeff...

Another day, another grueling loss by the Rangers. With a record of 11-12-4, in a loaded East Division, it’s clear this is not the year for the Rangers to make a run for the playoffs. Last week, I wrote about looking towards the future in the realm of making key moves to jumpstart the Rangers into contention. In that regard, a trade involving their first round pick this year should be in play for the Rangers.

When Artemi Panarin goes off the ice, the Rangers lack that bonus elite talent that makes them a threat night in and night out. We were all hopeful after a 41 goal season that the guy would be Mika Zibanejad, but it has not panned out that way. He would not be the first center to go on a shooting percentage bender and then shrivel up–guys who immediately come to mind are William Karlsson and Ryan Johansen. It’s a key missing piece in this fluke of a season though.

So how do you get a consistent scoring center when you are on the brink of contention and want to start winning as soon as next season? Either you have the cap space when they become available via free agency, or you make a trade.

The Rangers have arguably one of the deepest prospect pools in the NHL, right there with the LA Kings. If the Rangers continue to lose, the chances of their first round pick climbing higher up the draft board is quite possible. Here’s the thing though, wherever that pick lands–5th, 7th, even 1st overall– it should be moved for NHL ready talent.

Many of the usual prospect people (some of whom are very active on Rangers Twitter) would tell you there really is no clear top prospect in this upcoming draft. On top of it, many of the prospects are defensemen. With prospects like Nils Lundkvist, Zac Jones, Braden Schneider, and Matthew Robertson, do the Rangers need another defenseman in their already loaded pool? It makes you wonder if the Rangers would get move value in a trade of their first round pick.

While all of those players could very well be NHL level players, they will need time to come into their own. There is also a chance they don’t have a long career in New York either. It’s the old addressing a weakness from your strengths. If the Rangers didn’t have their current pool of prospects, by all means they should take the pick and go get another prospect. But Jeff Gorton has made it clear–be it the signing of Panarin, the re-signing of Chris Kreider, and the long term signing of Jacob Trouba–they want to start turning this build into contention.

There have been plenty of articles written about who you target–*cough cough Jack Eichel*–but this single offseason decision will either accelerate what Gorton and co have built. Or it could really keep the build going longer than it needs to and just waste years off of Panarin, Kreider, and Trouba’s long term contracts. The time to make a move is now.

Follow me on Twitter @TylerRichard93

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  • Another silly comment from a fan does not know what rebuild is. We have no cap space we have a draft coming up where we can only protect certain players, an you want to trade a number 1 pick to trade for someone who we may not be able to protect.??? I guess this trade we are going to win THE CUP.???????????????????????????????

    • They’ll have 10 million in cap space, but absolutely right about the expansion draft. All that means is that they just wait till after the Seattle draft to do business though. I’m not opposed to the idea of trading the 1st this year but only if its taking advantage of a team desperate for draft capital like Arizona who has no 1st this year and didn’t have a pick until the 3rd round this past year (who they then cut immediately for being a piece of shit…what a mess).

      I get pumping the breaks, one trade wont make this team an instant contender, but given the log jam of prospects we already have, I don’t think its too crazy or absurd to give the 1st away considering there are teams that probably will be chomping at the bit for it. They definitely need a high end center prospect (or two) in the pool so at the end of the day I’d rather them keep the 1st and address that position of need

      • who do you want worth a top-10 pick from AZ that has half its roster coming off contract at the end of this season and all but five signed beyond next year?

        • I hear ya, Arizona is just an easy example that came to mind as a team with a bullshit prospect pool and a not so great hockey team that might very well throw everything to the wind this offseason. Point being if there’s a team out there that is going to be hurting for a 1st rounder it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to try and take advantage if it makes sense. I’m all for keeping it but I dont think its an untouchable pick like the past few years. Maybe San Jose or Calgary are teams that make more sense as partners??

          As for Arizona Dvorak, Schmaltz would fit the bill for good young middle six centers but I think they both just signed long term tickets so probably not realistic and I honesty don’t know their games that well either so… I may be off on that one. Jakob Chychrun would be pretty cool no?? He’s 22 LD and having a big offensive season, i hear good things about him. Realistic get? I have no idea, fill me in if you do

          • yeah, may just not be the best trade partner. I don’t think AZ is in a position to trade either of its centers and don’t think NYR are in a position where they need to trade for more defensemen rather than working they pool they’ve got. could imagine something coming together with san jose, which could be entering a transition period, as Dave wrote about.

    • Ok there are a lot of things wrong here. Let’s run through it.

      1. The Rangers have no issues with the expansion draft. They actually have protection spots to open, and aren’t going to lose anyone of value.

      2. There is a ton of cap space in the offseason, to which Tyler was referring.

      3. It was very clear from the post that Tyler was talking about after this season.

      4. Before you run through and criticize, be sure to use critical thinking. It’s an important skill set to have.

      5. The number of question marks at the end of a sentence does not correlate to the importance of the question.

      • I would tweak your comment #1 here by suggesting that as far as d’men and goalies go, yes yes yes … at forward it’s a bit trickier.

  • 1) Big difference between picking #4 or 5 versus #11 or 12 (less so than say #16-17 and say 23-24 …. and
    2) whether there’s a consensus about who the best players are in the draft, say 1-15, is somewhat irrelevant. The question here is what does the Ranger draft team think about the picks available 1-15 and whether there’s someone they clearly want. Reminds me of when they drafted Andersson, it’s well known the Rangers were targeting Pettersson and that with only a couple of exceptions, he was rated to go somewhere between 5-20. It appears the Rangers and Detroit had him rated as #1 in that draft …
    3) The expansion draft creates another wrinkle here,
    4) You want prospects to be staggered …. both for their introduction to the team and for cap purposes, therefore it might be beneficial for them to trade away a particular prospect already in the system as opposed to someone they would draft this summer —- especially from a position of strength in the organization (like defense).

    Point is, it’s too early to suggest we should definitely trade the pick. The landscape is unclear at this time — however if we were competing for the Cup, trading your 1st would be much less complicated, even more so if there wasn’t an expansion draft.

    Patience grasshopper.

    PS: Eichel is not a savior.

  • I keep hearing it’s not a great draft, but the reality is it’s an uncertain draft due mainly to most of the minor league being shut down during the pandemic. It is a D man loaded draft, but there are plenty of solid center prospects as well. Matthew Berniers and Kent Johnson come to mind as does Cole Sillinger, Zachary Boldac, Mason Mctavish and Aatu Raty, We do have a great farm system, but it lacks any elite center and that is a problem.

    I am fine with trading the first, but it needs to be for someone who moves the needle on a longer term basis. Hertl is a nice get but is he winning you a cup? I don’t know and no one else does. You’ve Mentioned Christian Dvorak before. Nice player and contract but does he get you to the promised land? I see him as a 3 C. I am not sure the type of player we need will be available. And I am not in for moving the pick and prospects unless it’s the right fit.

    When I look at where we are as contenders, even next year(assuming we go back to pre-covid divisions) I think we will be much improved and still have growing pains. We also have to contend with teams like Washington, Pittsburgh, The Isles and Carolina as well as Tampa and Boston in the other division, so not like we trade the pick and we are a favorite to win the cup.

    It’s a rebuild. They generally take about 5 years. If opportunity presents itself, they should take it. But if it doesn’t present itself keep the pick.

    • If rebuild is on the 5th year it’s time to prepare for a new rebuild 🙂 It’s 4th year already #3 from the letter and #4 from year they promised rebuild on a flight 🙂

  • We have an AHL team that is struggling and I still hear that we are so great in prospects. We need talent! I am okay with trading picks for players if they are an upgrade in talent. If we had great young talent, Rooney and Blackwell would not be on this team.

    • Talent does not make a team great, or make them winners. There’s more to this than just “talent”.

      Guys like Rooney and Blackwell are exactly what good teams need, you can’t roll with 4 lines of “talent”.

      • I agree! Goal tending wins, so first things first. The team can really use a steady #2. Next is defense, and Trouba’s already signed long term. Still they need cap space to take care of Shesterkin, Fox, Miller, and Lindgren. What’s great, is while they’re paid, Lundkvist, Robertson, Jones, and Schneider will all be coming up and the Rangers have 2 of them to choose from who will be playing on their ELC’s. This seriously ranks the organization very high with plausibly the best “D” core in the NHL. I say keep finding, and drafting these young studs on the back end. The ones who are left over, the team can put together a great bottom 6 forward group of players, with none of them costing an arm and a leg. Now you’re left with your top 6, and they will not necessarily need a Jack Eichel to be a strong contender for the Stanley Cup. First of all, he’s going to set the organization back another 10 – 11 mil/per, plus whatever prospects and picks it will take to get him. A team wins the Stanley Cup, not a few high priced mega signings, and they already have Artemi. Still going to have to lock up Lafreniere, Kakko, Chytil, and one of Buchnevich or Kravtsov. So imho the Rangers should continue selling at the dead line, and keep pumping picks and prospects through the pipeline. You can always trade, mix and match later on and fill in the holes that way. In a cap era, this (to me) is how to have a continuous cup contending team for years

  • The Rangers had two top tier picks in the last two drafts, Kakko and Lafreniere. Lafieniere needs more time to develop but if Kakko doesn’t start to score by next season its not going to happen. Kakko was really great in the soft European leagues but they are far different than how the game is played in North American hockey. He may be out of his element in the NHL. I am all for trading a first round pick for a proven NHL center scorer. With a first round pick you never know.

    • 86 games into his career, and you’re writing Kakko off? More than a little premature, yeah? That’s one full NHL season, plus four games of another.

      Mark Messier scored 13 goals in his first 127 pro games, in the World Hockey Association. He was 18 and 19 in those two seasons, in a league that scored about 7-8 goals in its average game. Yet he couldn’t score. He turned out all right, though.

      Or for someone more current, how about Joel Eriksson Ek of Minnesota? In his first 3 seasons he scored 21 goals in 195 games played, between his 21-23 age seasons, working primarily as a defensive specialist. Now he’s tearing it up this season in Minny, with 11 goals so far in 26 games played. And he’s now a legit #1 center, after his progression was doubted by his fanbase.

      Once again—not every high pick is Auston Matthews. Most take a couple of years to get it together. Kakko’s got size, sick hands, and his play along the boards is vastly improved from last year. Anyone who doubts this kid can play needs to calm down.

    • You can see Kakko getting more aggressive and assertive … his defensive game has improved by leaps and bounds during the off-season. He turned 20 just 1 month ago … so come on.

  • Eichel is not the answer. You look at the stats and he’s not really better than Mika.

    They’re roughly the same points wise. Mika is way better at face offs. He kills penalties. He makes his linemates better. Mika is a great lockeroom guy.. Everyone loves him.

    Eichel is younger but will most likely cost more than Mika does even after mikas next contract.. And it’s only a 3 year difference in age. Eichel linemates seem to underperform.. He’s flat out bad at face offs which is our weakest area. Eichel has been pouting all season. Now he’s hurt.

    I wouldn’t be against trading the pick if it lands around the 10 spot. If it’s top 3 or maybe even 5 it should probably be held onto. Unless of course you’re trading for a young center who will not be expansion draft eligible.

    A way better trading partner would be a team like the kings. They are center rich and defense weak. Another high pick in a defense rich draft would greatly benefit them and we can get a very good center prospect from them. Someone like turcotte who should be nhl ready next season.

    • 100% agree with your take on Jack Eichel. Overrated, overpaid, and a sullen crybaby. $10 million annually, and no playoff experience. That’ll work out well for whatever team is dumb enough to overpay for him.

    • Ranger fans just have to have all the shiny objects — and we see how that’s worked in the past. Panarin is true gold, but many are fool’s gold.

      • You are right. And the team’s history is littered with terrible free agent signings and trades. Here’s a few of my faves from years past:

        Free agency: Mike Keane/Brian Skrudland dual signing (it was even crappier than the Drury/Gomez dual overpay years later); Igor Ulanov; Valeri Kamensky; Wade Redden; and of course, Brad Richards.

        Trades: Mike Ridley & Kelly Miller for Bobby Carpenter; Mattias Norstrom, Ian Laperriere, and Ray Ferraro for Marty McSorley, Shane Churla, and Jari Kurri; Mark Tinordi for Brian Lawton.

        These three trades all featured Rangers players who went on to play hundreds of games for their new teams. In the case of Norstrom and Tinordi, they eventually became captains in their new locations.

        • How about a washed up Ken Hodge for Tricky Ricky Middleton. Phil Esposito forced the Rangers to get his Sidekick in Boston. Middleton played for 10+ years and was a consistent 30 to 40 goal scorer per
          year. That trade was the WORST EVER!

          • I loved Rick Middleton. I remember he had close to 70 goals and 70 assists in juniors. Worst trade ever. JT Miller and Ryan McDonough looking pretty sad too unless Lundquist becomes a star.

          • Preceded only by the horrific trade that caused Hodge to become a Ranger, Jean Ratelle & Brad Park for Esposito & Carol Vadnais. Emil, what the hell were you smoking?

  • Yes trade away the future for a short term fix. That strategy has worked so well for the Rangers in the past and they have the Stanley Cups to prove it.

  • That first round pick isn’t the only player or asset that should be used to acquire a young sure thing 2C with 1C upside.

    I would make Kakko available for a kid like Zegras or Turcotte in the right package. I am sorry but I just don’t see it with him. He is playing
    much better but isn’t productive where it counts. Some will say I am not being patient and that is probably true but dealing him is also dealing from a position of organizational strength. We are very deep on the wings but have nothing at center. You can’t win in this league without superior center play and we have no number one center on the team. Even Zib who had a great year last season in my view isn’t a true 1C more like an elite 2C.

    So I would make available

    One of the dmen most likely Jones
    Our 1st from this season and even would talk about our 1st next season as essentially the menu of elite prospects and picks for a team to choose from .

    Just my view on this

    • Zegras? Yes … Turcotte, no … at least where Kakko is concerned. I also think you hold on to Chytil. I don’t know when he’s going to “pop”, but he will in the next few years.

      • LA is the perfect trade partner. Turcotte and one of Thomas or Vilardi–maybe Madden.

        Way cheaper than Eichel and gives the Rangers more depth.

        • Nothing against LA as a trade partner, just not interested in moving Chytil or Kakko unless we’re talking Zegras.

    • Hey pal. Hope all is well……We need toughness….We cannot continue to build a vanilla ice cream teamhere. Every team including cup winners have grinders…….Need some Habanero brother.

      • Hi pal!!! all is good. Hope you are doing well too. I agree. We need some playable toughness.Will Cuyle might be step one as is Schneider but we need more.

    • @czech wing isn’t really a place of organizational depth. We are strong at wing at the NHL level but outside of barron and maybe cuylle I cant think of a solid forward in our pipeline.

      Defense is our organizational strength and depth. With 2 guys with under 2yrs exp. 1 under 3 and 2 rookies in the NHL and a solid 4 or 5 in the organization that should all atleast be nhl caliber we are set for years to come. And don’t forget trouba is onky what? 27?

  • There simply no imperative to trade the Rangers’ first pick in the draft. A deal for a young center may or may not come along. I certainly am not of a mind to overspend on Jack Eichel either. He is a very good player, but he is not Connor McDavid, not even close. Let’s see what is out there when the time comes.

    Remember, the team needs to keep stocking up on young talent. You don’t suddenly not need any in the pipeline ever. Trading away their picks is what got the Rangers into needing a tear it down and build it back up rebuild in the first place. Yes you can use them in trades, but they should be dealt judiciously.

  • Agree on Eichel. Losing mentality on the team he has been with. Opposite of when we acquired Stanley Cup winner Messier

  • Tyler….no disrespect, but Hell No! It just never works out well, ask Slats. Stay the course….JG is doing his best, I’m sure. Question is, as it always is, when do you cut bait and when do you fish. NYR have the players….need the direction. When the 1st period starts why do I always wonder where the Rangers are? Enough with the MSG announcers cover, my eyes as well as all NYR fans, can actually see. Its real hard at times not to throw a brick at the tv. Do what you have to do JG or for certain it will come back to you.

  • Hi all,

    What about Vince Dunn from St Louis as a defensemen? Rangers can acquire him he is 24yrs old help out the def, he is a cup winner. Also age wise can help anchor the defense core for 5-6 yrs or more. Figure Smith gone, JJ is gone, Dunn could help out the PP. Just a thought.

  • Explain one thing to me. Anyone find it strange how the penguins, caps, lightening have all ended up with not just with one superstar but 4,5,6, etc. It is time to make a full blown push for Eichel or a star of his caliber as Mika, Panerin, and Fox can’t do this alone. Trade 1st pick to Buffalo, Strome (without Panerin, let’s cleave it he is average) and one or two D prospects and go get another proven star! Now you still have great upside youth talent that will learn a ton from another superstar on the roster for leadership, something clearly lacking after last nights debacle against the Islanders🤢🤮!!! Give the young guys a full off season, a chance to get bigger, stronger and more confident. Keep the you gun line together or move Lafreniere up like they have when Kreider disappears. Krieder is driven when he is pissed!!!
    Blackwood, Howden and Kravtsov on the 4th puts a 4th line out there that is gritty, can skate and can score. It is now or never boys so we don’t get another letter in yr 5 about the start of another rebuild after next yr. we looked like children against the Islanders again and as Rangers fan that is about as insulting as it gets!!
    Could be time to let Quinn go for a more experienced coach, but that depends on what Gorton can pull off.

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