New York Rangers approaching NHL Trade Deadline for trades that will help this season and beyond only

rangers restricted free agents
Jan 19, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Filip Chytil (72) celebrates after scoring a third period goal against the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/Pool Photos-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are not going to take any shortcuts. This has been repeated over and over by President John Davidson and GM Jeff Gorton. While the Rangers have played some great hockey going 9-4-2 in their last 15 games; they will not sacrifice youth or draft picks for rentals. That was made absolutely crystal clear to me after doing some further digging on the Blueshirts approach to the deadline on Monday, April 12th.

Rangers will approach NHL Trade Deadline with an eye on today and tomorrow

When it comes to how the Rangers are looking at this deadline, I was informed that if they make any deals at all it will be for a player that helps the team beyond just this season. That means looking to add a pending UFA is not in the cards. The Rangers won’t be trading any young roster players, prospects, or draft picks unless the deal is going to have ramifications into the future.

The sense I’m also getting is that trading away their only full time roster pending UFA in Brendan Smith is likely not in the cards. Currently, Smith has done a solid job of being a steady presence for young Libor Hajek on the the third defense pairing. With the Rangers fighting for a playoff spot they are not going to trade Smith for some late draft pick. While it would be nice to have as many picks as possible in what should be a very active offseason for trades; moving Smith for nothing sends a message to the team that the playoffs don’t mean much. That’s not the case here.

If you’ve been paying close enough attention and listening to the words MSG Analyst Steve Valiquette relays every broadcast, these games matter. The fight for the playoffs; whether they make it or not will have long lasting implications well beyond this season. For David Quinn and Rangers management this year is about developing the kids and establishing a winning culture. Right now, it’s working.

Are there any deals out there that fit the criteria?

jack eichel rangers
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

When you look at the NHL landscape, and that includes the reality of a flat cap to go along with the players rumored available, there just isn’t anything there for the Rangers.

“I think we’re in a little bit of a different position this year is my guess. You just never know. Obviously, [general manager Jeff Gorton] and I talk quite a bit. But there are things that can happen unexpectedly. You just never know what can happen this time of year. I’m sure the players start talking about it a lot more over the next five, six days. Obviously, the Islanders make that big trade, so people start talking more about the trade deadline once one domino falls.”

David Quinn via NY POST

The Rangers are looking for a specific need – another elite center to take them over the top into contention. The prospect pool on defense is deep so being a player for someone like Vince Dunn in St. Louis also doesn’t seem likely. However to emphasize coach Quinn’s own words, “you just never know what can happen this time of year.”

One player not really considered as a trade deadline candidate was Jack Eichel. He’s out of the lineup dealing with an injury. The prevailing thought was if dealt it would be in the offseason. Now let me take you back to something Elliotte Friedman noted just this week that could change that.

The person to watch is Kevyn Adams. He’s the juggler, going through multiple scenarios both big and small. There’s a big difference between “considering” and “doing,” but I think he’s considering almost everything. And I do believe he’s listening to Jack Eichel pitches. At the very least, Adams is getting the lay of the land.

31 Thoughts

There’s a number of teams said to be interested in Eichel. My current tally as of now has Boston, Calgary, New Jersey, and Chicago as landing spots. Of course, there is only one team that actually put an offer on the table for him. If the Sabres are entertaining trading Eichel now it’s safe to assume that offer is there again.

“The team with the best combination of the want and ability to do it is the Rangers, but is Buffalo going to be comfortable sending him there,” Friedman revealed on a Buffalo radio show. “Last year they talked – there was an offer on the table I don’t think it included the #1 pick and I’m sure Buffalo asked. There was an offer on the table I understand was pretty reasonable.”

This trade is just too big to happen by Monday in my estimation. Without a doubt it has a real possibility this coming offseason. Regardless, even if Eichel isn’t available there are a number of centers that could be. Big names from Evgeni Malkin, to possibly Evgeny Kuznetsov or Aleksander Barkov are rumored to be available this summer. That’s when the Rangers will be all in and ready to move their bountiful collection of young players and prospects for that final piece.

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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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