Does Tyler Seguin make sense for the Rangers?
Over the past few weeks, the rumor mill has gone from dead to full speed ahead. Two names, in particular, have really peaked the interest of Rangers fans. Those two names? Artemi Panarin and Tyler Seguin. Both are game breakers. Both can drive an entire line and team if needed, and both could be available to the Rangers next summer. But which one would be the better choice? The dynamic winger or the sure fire number one center? The answer is clear: Tyler Seguin.
No disrespect to Artemi Panarin, he is a fantastic player but you need a dominant center to win the Stanley Cup. Over the past several seasons, the evidence just gets more convincing the more you look at it. The Los Angeles Kings don’t win the cup without Anze Kopitar. The Chicago Blackhawks don’t win the cup without Jonathan Toews. The Pittsburgh Penguins don’t win the cup without Sidney Crosby. All those guys were, and some of them still are, at the top of their game and rank among the best players in the world. They win faceoffs, they see the ice at a high level and they are all sure-fire playmakers.
“But Alex Ovechkin proved that a dynamic winger can win the cup!” You’re absolutely right, but Ovechkin didn’t come close to the Stanley Cup until Evgeny Kuznetsov came into his own and lit the playoffs on fire. Dynamite centers are money and if a team hopes to compete for a Stanley Cup in today’s NHL than you need a center that can take over a game.
For those that aren’t up to date on Seguin, the guy is an offensive dynamo. Ever since the trade from the Bruins to the Stars, he has shown the entire league why he deserved to go second overall in 2010 and he’s shown he knows how to drive a line and put up some serious points. Here, for example, are Seguin’s point totals from his time as a Dallas Star:
No one on the Rangers has those kinds of numbers over the past five seasons and Seguin, as you can see, is a lock for 30 goals, 40 assists and 70 points with the potential for 80 points and maybe more. He is exactly what the Rangers could use as they continue this rebuild/retool and try to get Henrik Lundqvist one more shot at glory. Those numbers also don’t tell the full story as Seguin learned how to be a more complete player under Ken Hitchcock’s tutelage last season. He added some necessary elements to his game including how to be a more complete center in the defensive end. He is everything the Blueshirts need.
As of this publishing date, the Rangers don’t have a sure fire number one center. Mika Zibanejad is an awesome player but he just hasn’t shown the consistency in his career up until this point, and the injuries are starting to become worrisome. If you want to be the number one center on an NHL team, you need to be healthy; you need to be someone who can be relied upon. Kevin Hayes is not a number one center but he is a good number two and a great number three. Filip Chytil, Lias Andersson, and Brett Howden are all question marks at this point in time. Could one of them mature into a number one center? Sure, but we don’t know how long it will take or if the potential is there for that.
Seguin would instantly fit into this team as their number one center and would be the focal point of their powerplay. Money-wise, it would take quite a bit to get him. You’re looking at something around seven years with a $10 million AAV. He wouldn’t come cheap, but man, would he be worth it. Seguin in-between Chris Kreider and someone like Vitali Kravtsov in the coming years would be a dynamite first line that could be an offensive force in not just the Eastern Conference, but the entire league. Kevin Shattenkirk feeding Seguin on the half-wall on the power play, and Seguin setting up guys like Kreider, Buchnevich, and Kravtsov in front would be something special to see.
The Rangers, if they so wish to target Seguin, need to answer two questions this year: What is the fate of Kevin Hayes, or even Mika Zibanejad, on this team? And what do they have in Chytil and Andersson? Hayes is on a one-year deal. Zibanejad is on a nice team friendly deal but that could be enticing for another team to trade for him. Chytil and Andersson will be given every opportunity to show what they have this season. If Hayes and Zibanejad don’t show the necessary progression, then it’s entirely plausible that GM Jeff Gorton takes a look at the superstar center in Dallas. If that becomes the case, would the Rangers risk letting Seguin re-sign and test free agency, or do they trade for him?
This is an extremely intriguing scenario and one that I’m sure Gorton would rather not go down since it would require some big assets going the other way. At this point in time, Dallas has $5,350,001 in cap space while the New York Rangers have $5,676,431 in cap space; almost identical, so the money really has to match on both ends. The question now becomes, what is fair value for someone like Seguin. That’s tricky because Seguin will be an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so the Stars can’t say a team is getting him for multiple seasons unless a sign and trade is agreed upon.
The trade package that would be a good starting point for Gorton would be centered around Kevin Hayes. He makes similar money to Seguin at the moment, but of course, it would take more than that. Furthermore, Hayes will be a UFA at the end of this season as well. Mats Zuccarello makes similar money as well, but once again, he is a UFA at the end of 2018-19. So where do the Rangers go from there? Giving both won’t be an option unless the Rangers and Stars can work out something even bigger so the money works. The only way I could see trade talks progressing any further would be if a major prospect or two is included, as well as a high draft pick.
Do the Rangers really want to offer Hayes + Chytil/Andersson/Miller + a first round pick and maybe more for Tyler Seguin? Would Dallas want Kravtsov in any potential deal? There are a lot of hurdles to jump over to make a trade happen so this scenario may not be the best way to go about acquiring Seguin.
At the end of the day, Seguin will most likely sign with the Stars for around $10 million for seven or eight years. He has expressed disappointment that a deal isn’t done with them yet, but it should get done soon into the season. Although, if this drags on close to the trade deadline – watch out. A team like Dallas will not want a John Tavares situation to happen where they lose a superstar player for nothing. You can be sure teams like the Rangers will be monitoring this situation as the season goes on. Tyler Seguin in Broadway Blue? Right now it’s a pipe dream, but it could happen.
I’ll leave you all with this, the (potential) 2019-20 New York Rangers, with Tyler Seguin (if he signs as a UFA):
Kreider – Seguin – Kravtsov
Zuccarello – Zibanejad – Buchnevich
Andersson – Chytil – Namestnikov
Fast – Howden – Spooner
Skjei – Shattenkirk
Pionk – Hajek
Gilmour – Lindgren
Not bad huh?