reilly smith

As time passes, it looks like the Rangers are going to move more towards a discount 1RW instead of one of the more expensive options like Jordan Eberle or Pavel Buchnevich. This makes sense, as Chris Drury doesn’t want to sell the farm. That means names like Max Pacioretty and Reilly Smith are starting to come to the forefront, and while not sexy names, they may move the needle enough as impact players.

First things first, we may start needing to accept a reality where Kaapo Kakko gets a much more extended look at 1RW with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. It’s a line that should be able to limit chances against and push play up the ice, even if they don’t score regularly. It’s not ideal, but it’s still valuable.

If that’s the case, then Pacioretty or Smith may be able to fill in the 3RW hole that Kakko leaves.

If you’re unimpressed with Pacioretty and Smith, that’s fine. They aren’t exactly world beaters, but they are improvements on the current options and again provide more lineup balance. The Rangers needed two top-nine forwards, and they got one so far. It’s about options.

When we start getting to names like Pacioretty and Smith, we are dealing with significant risk. Pacioretty has multiple Achilles injuries and hasn’t played a full seasons since pre-covid. Smith has nice quality metrics but not quantity. But that does fit into the system a bit better. But he comes with another year at $5 million remaining. The Penguins would need to eat 50% of that, increasing the trade cost.

Of this duo, Reilly Smith fits better and has far less risk. But that extra year and the fact that it appears the Penguins don’t want to help the Rangers complicates things. With just 4 hours remaining, the options aren’t pretty for the Rangers.


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