Unless your focus has been elsewhere this week, you are aware that the New York Rangers have been mentioned often in the NHL rumor mill this week.
If you have been out of touch prepping for Thanksgiving, or simply just more tuned into football, the Rangers are said to be in the market for a forward AND a defenseman.
Rangers looking for a “middle-six” forward and a defenseman
After losing Sammy Blais to a torn ACL for the season, the Rangers have been the talk of insiders. The team was light at the position to begin with after trading Pavel Buchnevich and watching prospect Vitali Kravtsov leave for Russia demanding a trade. So naturally, people started connecting the dots and found the Blueshirts have been making calls around the league.
“Chris Drury, the general manager for the New York Rangers, is looking for a middle-six forward, which isn’t a term we use often in hockey,” Darren Dreger said. “That can be a third-line player or someone who can punch into the top six.”
A forward makes a lot of sense, but it was Arthur Staple’s report that got more eyebrows raised.
The Athletic confirmed that the Rangers are potentially looking to add a forward, though a veteran defenseman is believed to be on their shopping list, as well.The Athletic
Throw in the NY Post’s latest that the Rangers have no plans to discuss a new deal with pending UFA center Ryan Strome and you have a lot to digest.
Assessing the New York Rangers rumors
So with Kravtsov looking for a trade and Drury looking to fill holes, the speculation has been rampant.
One Boston writer even suggested the possibility of Jake DeBrusk as an option. However, I don’t think the Blueshirts are looking for another left wing, nonetheless one that is struggling since last season and a pending RFA.
Other names being bandied about include Phil Kessel in Arizona, and David Perron in St. Louis. Both are pending UFA’s and would make sense as rentals.
On defense, with the Rangers top four set, they are likely looking for a solid third pair defender who could move up on occasion.
Yet, what we all need to remember is that the Rangers are 10-4-3 and in no rush to make a hasty move. Wins and losses will predicate when and if Chris Drury makes a deal.
Two top targets, and ones that are also realistic are pending UFA rentals that could be has before trade deadline.
Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith is a perfect target for this season and is familiar with Gerard Gallant from his time in Vegas. He could slot in as second or third line RW and provide solid defense and a scoring punch.
On defense, the foundering Kraken will be looking to move Mark Giordano. He is the perfect third pair defender that could move up in a pinch despite his age (38).
I don’t expect any moves before Thanksgiving, but some time after things could open up on the market.
In truth, what the Rangers plan to do with Strome is of the biggest interest to me, but that won’t be known until the NHL Trade Deadline in March.
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