The Rangers are going to be connected to every single possible trade target this year. It’s the nature of having clear roster holes and enough cap space to buy a small country. The nuance missed is that the Rangers, while needing a defense piece, don’t need to sell the farm to address that need. The Rangers best trade chips should not be used for a defenseman that will play third pair minutes at even strength, not play on the powerplay, and maybe see some penalty kill time. The Rangers best trade chips should be used to address their biggest need: consistent offense.
All this comes from Arthur Staple’s recent rumor article from The Athletic, where Marc Staal and Ben Chiarot were called out as potential options for the Blueshirts. Chiarot, who is not good, is likely to command a first round pick in a trade. That is one asset the Rangers will likely need to surrender to acquire some additional top-six talent up front, and would be a colossal waste on a 3LD.
Further, acquiring Staal would be another waste of assets. Remember, the Rangers surrendered a second round pick to trade the contract, and would need to give up another to bring him back?
For a defenseman, the Rangers are best off waiting until the trade deadline. Zac Jones has played very well and can hold the spot down. At that point, mid-round picks for players like Calvin de Haan or Brett Kulak make the most sense.
The Rangers best trade chips, their first round pick, Nils Lundkvist, Vitali Kravtsov, and others, are best used right now to upgrade the offense. The Rangers need a top six RW to manage the injury to Kaapo Kakko, and that’s just the bare minimum. You don’t get a top-six forward without surrendering some level of quality. That first round pick in particular is one of the Rangers best trade chips in this kind of rental scenario.
Lundkvist and Kravtsov are best used to acquire a young player with term that can solidify their center depth. This is certainly much harder to pull off, but there might be a team looking to unload a mid-level contract on a young center to take back cheap assets. Someone in the Mark Scheifele -Winnipeg has to re-sign Pierre-Luc Dubois and doesn’t have much cap space to work with– or Jared McCann –Seattle might want younger prospects than a 26 year old center?– mold. These are both reaches, but usually these trades come from left field.
The moral of the story is that the Rangers best trade chips are wasted on defensemen. There isn’t a large enough need to surrender a cost like this. It seems that Chris Drury knows this, which is why, believe it or not, the Rangers aren’t listed beyond “maybe” for Chiarot. For defense, patience and keeping the cost as low as possible is the key. Up front, it’s all about addressing needs and limiting the damage to the farm.