New York Rangers need to add Rickard Rakell for stretch run and playoffs
The New York Rangers lost another very close game against an Islanders team that plays north-south playoff style hockey. Their only score came off the stick of Chris Kreider on the PP, but once again they were blanked at even strength.
There is an argument to be made that Ilya Sorkin stole at least one point with a diving mid-air stick stop on Artemi Panarin that would’ve been a goal 999 times out of 1000 tries. However, it still speaks to the Rangers need to add more offensive weapons for the stretch run and playoffs.
Rangers slipping in the standings
Don’t look now, but the Rangers are slipping in the standings. If they don’t get off this win one, lose one stretch of hockey they could be looking at a wild card spot in the East instead of home-ice advantage for round 1.
After last night’s loss, the Rangers are 5-5 in their last 10. They sit in third place with 81 points and are only 3 points up on the Washington Capitals, who have won three straight to bridge the gap.
That’s why it’s imperative that Chris Drury bring in the help this team needs.
Frank Vatrano was a nice start, and he seems like an ideal fit to play on the third line with Filip Chytil. Once Kaapo Kakko and Kevin Rooney return, the lineup will be in better shape.
That will still likely leave Dryden Hunt or Greg McGegg in the lineup and the Rangers could certainly improve further.
Rangers need to add Rickard Rakell
New York have prioritized Ducks forward Rickard Rakell as a top 9 forward to address their lack of depth at right wing. GM Pat Verbeek is seeking a first round pick and if the Rangers want him, they will have to give it up and maybe more.
To me, there’s no question in my mind that they should do it. And before you smash your phone, I suggest you look at what Chiarot and Jarnkrok just landed.
GM Pat Verbeek also hasn’t ruled out re-signing Rakell but noted there’s no new conversations on a contract with the deadline three days away. Verbeek also made it clear he would not let pending UFAs walk for free in the summer.
Bottom line, if Drury does not get right wing that can score at this deadline, it will be a huge negative for the rookie GM.
Here’s a look at potential lines with a healthy lineup and Rakell added:
Kreider – Zibanejad – Lafrenière
Panarin – Strome – Kakko
Vatrano – Chytil – Rakell
Goodrow – Rooney – Reaves
Hampus Lindholm is likely on the move after contract talks break down. Plus is Claude Giroux heading to Florida? Read more here.