We are now approaching the third trade deadline since “The Letter” was sent out to Rangers fans about rebuilding. The Rangers are not approaching this one as the last two in which they were clearly sellers. No this one has a different feel and I wrote about that last weekend. Jeff Gorton is simply put going to a major player at the deadline and isn’t just looking to stockpile more draft picks.
Understanding the Situation
John Davidson knows where the Rangers are this season. They are at the crossroads of their rebuild with a commitment to stay the course. That means continuing to develop the talent they have and retool this lineup with those players. We are seeing it now with the promotion of Igor Shesterkin and the ice time given to Kaapo Kakko. Knowing full well Vitali Kravtsov is going to play this season on Broadway, this team is getting younger and improving.
Waiting in the wings are also two surefire blue liners in Nils Lundkvist and K’Andre Miller. That means Davidson and GM Jeff Gorton have to make room for them and ensure the best lineup heading into next season. It’s important because not making the playoffs could have job ramifications for David Quinn in 2021.
There has been a lot of talk about Rangers goalie, Alexander Georgiev. Several teams are interested and Jeff Gorton was mentioned to be looking for an NHL ready prospect, but that was in a straight up deal. Rumor rumblings from two credible sources indicate that Georgiev could be part of a larger deal. At the moment what isn’t clear is just how big, and what teams could be involved.
This may be why the Rangers haven’t rushed to pull the trigger on a trade here. And the one team that keeps coming up in conversations for Georgiev are the Toronto Maple Leafs. Of course, they have a #1 goalie so giving anything of consequence to solidify the backup position doesn’t make sense. That’s why the idea of a blockbuster trade is growing.
A Deal with the Leafs
Recently, Rachel Doerrie wrote a great piece at Leafs Nation discussing all the ins and outs of a potential Toronto trade for Georgiev. Logically the Leafs are so deep at forward it makes sense they could dip in to that pool to help the Rangers who can use it. Two players mentioned are Andreas Johansson and my personal choice, Kasperi Kapanen.
The Leafs will need to sign Georgiev who is an RFA this summer, and that will cost them anywhere between 1.5 to 2 million on a bridge deal. Kapanen is signed for another two seasons at $3.2M AAV when he becomes an RFA. So money wise it works. However, the Leafs aren’t trading Kapanen for a backup and that’s why this deal will need to grow.
Rachel makes the logical inclusion of Lias Andersson, but the Leafs have cap problems to solve on the blue line for next season with little room to play with. What happens if Brady Skjei becomes part of this deal and the Leafs get a cost controlled defenseman at 5.25M? Does that improve on the player the Leafs send back? Or does it add UFA to be Tyson Barrie to the mix? The bottom line is that the expectation of trading Georgiev for a pick/prospect is becoming more and more distant in the rear view mirror.
Stick with us as we expect this to be the biggest trade deadline in recent memory for the New York Rangers. Our coverage during last season’s deadline and free agent frenzy was second to none. It’s going to only get better.