It was a busy day for the NY Rangers yesterday. A bad loss, a waiver move, a trade, a precursor to a big trade, and an injury to Ryan Lindgren that may throw a wrench in all of it. There is no news on the severity of Lindgren’s injury as of Sunday morning, and there are concerns that Lindgren was in a sling after the game. Depending on the length of the injury, a long term Lindgren injury may impact the Patrick Kane trade.
1. The Kane trade timing may change
With the Vitali Kravtsov trade yesterday and Jake Leschyshyn off the payroll today, the Rangers are expected to have enough cap space to land Patrick Kane by March 1, per PuckPedia. If Lindgren is out long term, perhaps the Rangers want to bank more cap space and wait until the March 3 trade deadline. In doing so, they may have the ability to add a low cost defenseman on deadline day.
Now how they go about getting enough space to add a defenseman is a whole other story. The easiest way is placing Lindgren on LTIR, but that will keep him out a minimum of three weeks. But that may not be the best course of action. Also per PuckPedia, who is doing a fantastic job in covering all scenarios, as long as there is a chance Lindgren returns this season, then the best course of action is to acquire Kane sooner than March 1.
The Kane trade impact is really determined by the severity of the Lindgren injury. As of now, this is all speculation. With no moves, the Rangers can trade for him by March 1.
2. Do the Rangers play cap games with Braden Schneider?
In addition to putting putting Lindgren on LTIR, the Rangers have the option of playing cap games with Braden Schneider to bank additional cap space. It’s not ideal, but the Rangers do have Monday and Tuesday off, so it can be done with minimal impact to the on-ice product.
Cap math is complicated, and unfortunately neither PuckPedia nor CapFriendly have calculators to play these scenarios out. Playing cap games with Schneider certainly gains some cap space, but whether or not it’s enough to land Kane sooner or add another depth defenseman remains to be seen.
One thing we do know, if the Rangers send Schneider down today, they can trade for Kane on Feb 27 and recall Schneider on March 3. This is unlikely, but it’s technically doable.
3. Is Zac Jones no longer in play?
A bit of a stretch here, but there’s a small chance Zac Jones may not be in play in the Kane trade anymore. Jones played last night for Hartford when many, including myself, speculated he may be scratched to avoid the injury risk. Jones is still more than likely in the Kane trade since he appears to be the odd man out on the blue line, but this is still a very real scenario, even if unlikely.
If Jones is not in the trade, can the Rangers still land Kane? Possibly. It all depends on what Chicago values versus what Chris Drury values. It does not appear that a 1st round pick will be included in the Kane deal, since Drury was notably out on Kane until the price came down to something he couldn’t turn down. Jones and a mid round pick seem to fit that bill.
If Lindgren is out long term and Jones is the answer on the blue line, again unlikely since he’s the 9D on the depth chart, does that 1st round pick come into play again?
4. Lindgren’s injury may be short term, and all of this is for naught
It’s Ryan Lindgren. He plays through almost everything. The fact that he didn’t return was surprising, and this is why some jumped to worst case scenario. If Lindgren is only expected to miss a game, and it’s assumed he isn’t playing today against the Kings, then March 1 is still the day for the Kane trade to go down.
Just in time for two tune-up games against Philly and Ottawa.