New York Rangers need to bolster fourth line before trade deadline

new york rangers tyler motte
Dec 2, 2022; New York, New York, USA; Ottawa Senators left wing Tyler Motte (14) and New York Rangers defenseman Braden Schneider (4) battle for control of the puck in the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers and Patrick Kane speculation will not end until one of the following three things take place:

  • Kane decides not to waive his full no-move clause this week
  • Kane is traded elsewhere
  • Rangers use limited cap space to bolster fourth-line via trade

Yes, the Rangers can technically improve their fourth-line by trading for Kane which will move Jimmy Vesey off the second line. However, as the fourth line is currently constructed with Barclay Goodrow paired with Jake Leschyshyn and Julien Gauthier, it needs serious work.

A trend has been developing as the team is making a push up the standings down the stretch. In the third period, Gerard Gallant shortens his bench to limit the ice time of Leschyshyn and Gauthier. It’s a clear signal from the head coach to GM Chris Drury that things aren’t good enough.

UPDATE: New York Rangers acquire Tyler Motte. Details here.

New York Rangers need to bolster fourth line

The Rangers salary cap situation just 12 days out from the NHL Trade Deadline on March 3 is as follows:

Current Cap Space$1.256M
Deadline Cap Space$1.615M
Data per CapFriendly

Based off CapFriendly, the Rangers can easily make a deal for a player making anywhere between $750K to $1.5M without trading someone from the roster. If the Rangers can trade Vitali Kravtsov before the deadline, they will add another $875K to the cap situation.

That means the Rangers can acquire two fourth line players for what’s expected to be a difficult playoff run to get out of the Eastern Conference.

Trade Deadline options

new york rangers nick ritchie
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to Trade Deadline options for the fourth line, there are several players that have been linked to the Rangers. Let’s dive into those names.

Nick Bjugstad, Arizona Coyotes: The 30 year-old center is big at 6-6′ and 210 pounds. He’s recorded 23 points in 56 games this season and only has a $900K cap hit. The Rangers don’t need to have the Yotes retain salary to make this move and it shouldn’t cost more than a third-round pick for the pending UFA. It’s also worth noting that he played for Gallant in Florida.

Nick Ritchie, Arizona Coyotes: This 27 year-old winger plays that nasty style you need in the playoffs. This season, he’s notched 21 points in 53 games but has a decent cap hit of $2.5M. Drury would need to ask the Yotes to retain salary on the pending UFA to make this one work. He’s also ben linked to the Rangers since last season.

Tyler Motte, Ottawa Senators: The 27 year-old was acquired at the last deadline for the low price of a fourth-round pick. According to Larry Brooks, the ask this time around is much higher. Motte has 9 points in 38 games this season and will be a UFA in July. New York was interested in re-signing him but the two sides couldn’t agree on a deal. His cap hit is $1.35 million.

Tanner Jeannot, Nashville Predators: An intriguing option but one that is likely out of reach for the Rangers. The 25 year-old is a pending RFA, which automatically will drive up the price to acquire him. This season, he has 14 points in 53 games with a low cap hit of $800,000. It’s also believed that the Predators are going to re-sign him.

NHL News and Rumors

NHL Recaps. All the latest scores here.

Toronto Maple Leafs trade for Ryan O’Reilly. Details here.

NHL Rumors: Tyler Bertuzzi drawing interest. Read more.

NHL Rumors: Is Timo Meier helmet bound. Read more.

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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