Forget Patrick Kane, New York Rangers need help on defense now

patrick kane rangers
Dec 4, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) controls the puck in the the third period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been a ton of talk dating back to last season about Patrick Kane and the New York Rangers.

In a perfect world scenario, Kane would waive his full no-move clause only in a trade to the Blueshirts as to keep the cost to acquire him down.

That was all good when early preseason assumptions had the Rangers near the top of the Metro Division standings. Unfortunately, games aren’t played on paper and the team sits two points out of the last wild card spot with a quarter of the season gone.

New York Rangers need help now

The Rangers are struggling mightily losing three straight and having just four wins in their last 12 games (4-6-2).

It’s not just the record, but the manner in which they’re losing. This team is having trouble holding a lead and have broken Igor Shesterkin. After allowing four unanswered goals in the third period against the Oilers on Saturday, the team blew a 2-0 lead versus the Devils on Monday.

“Goalie played s–t game again,” said a frustrated Shesterkin. “I feel so bad and play so bad. I’m ashamed. Every goal is an easy play for me. I have to stop those. If our team wants to win the game, I have to play better.”

Two big issues that are plaguing the Rangers right now:

  • A top six right wing
  • A veteran left defenseman

As the season slowly slips away, addressing these problems quickly is paramount.

Kane can wait, trade for defense

new york rangers patrick kane
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

With the Rangers struggling to hold on to a lead the immediate need is defense.

Patrick Kane can wait!

Let’s start off with Gerard Gallant leaving Kaapo Kakko alone in the top six for the rest of the season. I’m still of the belief that Alexis Lafreniere should be up there as well. If the team is more comfortable with him staying on the left, it’s time to move the veteran Chris Kreider to the right.

My point is the Rangers have options to hold them over up front until it makes sense for Kane. However, on defense it’s clear that Libor Hajek and Zac Jones aren’t the answer. At least not for this coach.

The Rangers will need to clear some cap space in order to take on a decent veteran left defenseman. Per CapFriendly, the Rangers have $2 million in cap space available.

Montreal’s Joel Edmondson is a name I’ve heard in the past that just might make a good partner for Braden Schneider. The 29 year-old defenseman has one more year remaining on his contract that comes with a $3.5 million AAV.

We all know Gallant loves size and he’s 6-4′ and weighs 227 lbs. The Rangers may be able to get the Canadiens to eat some of his cap hit if they include a high draft pick along with Zac Jones ($925K), whom Jeff Gorton drafted.

There could be cheaper options elsewhere. Maybe a left defenseman that will be a UFA next season, but getting a rental early usually costs more than when you acquire them at the deadline when the trade market is saturated with them.

For more cap space, the Rangers should also consider trading Sammy Blais and his $1.525 million cap hit. The team can easily call up less expensive options in Gustav Rydahl or Will Cuylle to take his place.

Bottom line, this Rangers team needs help keeping the puck out of the net before they add Kane to put the puck in.

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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