Let’s focus on who the Rangers should keep at the trade deadline
As the rebuild rages on and the New York Rangers look ahead to greener pastures, the clearance sign is hanging again. While Jeff Gorton and the front office should not be closed minded to any trade offer, there needs to be players to take the ice. Some fans are in the camp of trading off every player for assets, others are want to build around the players on the roster. Thus leading us to the question, who should the team keep?
There are several ways to look at this question. To ensure that I am qualified to provide these answers. Not to brag but I have won several Stanley Cups in NHL 19 GM Mode, so I think I know what I’m doing.
Mats Zuccarello is the obvious asset that will be traded. With Zuccarello’s resurgence his value is raising right at the perfect time. Knowing Zuccarello’s play as a Rangers fan his value is probably higher than what GM’s see. It makes sense to trade Zuccarello and the yield will probably not be enough to fans but he is an obvious trade.
Adam McQuaid is another obvious trade asset. Again over the last month or so the fanbase has began to understand why McQuaid was beloved in Boston. His toughness, shot blocking and overall play is clicking at the right time. While I flip flop each game McQuaid will be looking for his last ‘term’ contract and the Rangers are better off trading him than letting him mentor the youth.
The In Betweens
Vlad Namestnikov has become a rather reliable two way forward for the Rangers. Granted he is not putting up the numbers he did when he played with two top 10 forwards in the league, BUT he has played well this season. If there is a deal that could lead to an absolute win, then Vlad should be fair game. However Vlad is still a young forward that would not hurt to have to end this season.
Pavel Buchnevich. The name itself is a sentence to the Rangers fanbase. Buchnevich being available comes down to two factors. One is Chris Kreider available? Two, how long is the soon to be restricted free agent looking to sign? If Kreider is available that opens up a spot for Buchnevich to wing Mika Zibanejad. Currently Buchnevich is the perfect bridge deal candidate as he has shown brilliance, while also leaving plenty to be desired. If the money does not behoove the Rangers then it he is a perfect sell high candidate.
Regardless of what happens by February 25, the best thing to happen will be the end of the trade vs. extend Kevin Hayes debate. Trading Kevin Hayes will (most likely) yield an impressive haul. A NHL ready talent should be the target because there is a high probability the team getting Hayes will have a late first round pick. Hayes has been taking the steps necessary to be a building block, so again he is not a foregone conclusion trade wise. Especially if a team friendly extension can be had, unlikely but possible.
The team is in a fragile state and again, there needs to be NHL players on the roster post deadline. The idea of trading players just to trade them doesn’t enhance the on ice product and it also puts the team in well, Edmonton Oiler territory. Rebuilds can be expedited with the correct moves, but there are building blocks on the team today that could be key pieces in the future. Quality over quantity is the mentality for the team.