Are the New York Rangers really in need of a trade?

Rangers celebrate Chris Kreider's goal in Columbus (Getty)

Rangers celebrate Chris Kreider’s goal in Columbus (Getty)

The New York Rangers won games last season without a clear cut offensive weapon. They won games with twelve forwards chipping in offensively and six defenseman driving puck possession. Alain Vigneault still rolls four lines regularly but that doesn’t exactly mean the Rangers are a deep team. Certainly not like the one that earned a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals last season.

The Rangers have trouble beating deeper teams in the Eastern Conference!

Are the New York Rangers in need of a trade to help in this run to the playoffs? The teams they have lost to like Tampa Bay, Boston, and the Islanders are some of the deepest teams in the NHL. Related-Mats Zuccarello

The Rangers second line has been opportunistic but has not driven possession well this season!
Rangers

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The New York Rangers second scoring line has Derek Stepan in the middle with Chris Kreider and Martin St. Louis on the outside. Last season, Stepan and Kreider played with Rick Nash and were able to dominate possession with a combined 51.8% on ice Corsi for.

This season Marty St. Louis is on that line with Kreider and Stepan. Since Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider have been paired with St. Louis, the three haven’t driven possession well.

They are a combined 47.4% on ice Corsi at even strength. For a second scoring line that starts over 54% in the offensive zone. Those numbers are a bit scary. (Think 13/14 Toronto Maple Leafs)

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If Hayes doesn’t continue to develop, do the Rangers need outside help?

Are the Rangers in need of a centerman? Or do they have a player in Hartford ready for the NHL? Probably not because they likely would have given one of them a chance at the show while the Rangers were dealing with injuries and the mumps virus.

If there aren’t any viable options within the organization than who can the Rangers bring in to help provide depth? Alain Vigneault has made it clear he is willing to go with Kevin Hayes as the third pivot.

Hayes provides the Rangers with size down the middle but he isn’t a master of the face-off just yet and his decision-making still needs work. Though to his credit he has worked on his play with the puck. So who can the Rangers go after in the trade market?

Rumor has it the Rangers have shown interest in centerman Santorelli

[su_pullquote]Santorelli is a speedy forward with good vision and playmaking ability. Could improve his defensive game, though. – Ulf Andersson, Elite Prospects [/su_pullquote]Rumors have come from some National Hockey Leagues insiders such as Darren Dredger. He recently reported the Rangers had interest in a player they tried to sign in the summer. In the latest episode of Insider Trading”, a segment on TSN that features insiders Darren Dreger, Bob McKenzie and Pierre Lebrun. Daren Dreger stated the Rangers are interested in Toronto Maple Leafs Center Mike Santorelli.

The Rangers need a third line player that can provide depth scoring.
Mike Santorelli battles Matt Hunwick for the puck (Getty)

Mike Santorelli battles Matt Hunwick for the puck (Getty)

Mike Santorelli is a good skater that can handle the puck well and provide some scoring to the Rangers bottom six. Santorelli plays the wing and center which bodes well for any team.

By the numbers, Mike Santorelli is only starting about 40% of his shifts (after a whistle) in the offensive zone. His 45% on ice Corsi isn’t all that bad considering the lack of offensive zone starts and the Leafs are a bad possession team to begin with. He’s playing less than fifteen minutes a game which suggests he is playing on the Maple Leafs third line. Right where he would be if the Rangers acquired him via trade.

This season Santorelli has a scoring stat line of 9-17-26 points, more than any of the Rangers bottom six skaters.

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Rangers have been listed as one of several teams in on Antoine Vermette
Antoine Vermette

Antoine Vermette

Antoine Vermette is an average sized centerman playing nineteen minutes per game for the Arizona Coyotes. He is an excellent face-off centerman with a 55.2% success rate which is at least on paper exactly what the Rangers need. He is on the positive side of the possession line with a 51.3% on ice Corsi for and he’s 4.4% relative Corsi.

Antoine Vermette will also have a lot of teams bidding for his services which will drive his price up. He is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and at 32 years old he will want more term and money than most are able to play for. So he’s an expensive rental with a $3.750 million cap charge.

The Rangers would have to shed salary by way of a roster player to afford him but if he’s the player that is going to get the Rangers to the Cup, sign me up. It sounds like a big gamble and if it doesn’t work out then there’s even less the Rangers have in future assets after the Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis trades.

Vermette has a line of 11-18-29 points but he plays over four minutes a game more than Santorelli. Vermette is also starting 55.2% of his shifts in the offensive end to Santorelli’s 42.1%.

This is a big reason for the better possession numbers for Vermette. He would be a nice player on any team making a run at the playoffs but the Rangers may not have the assets to outbid other teams with more desirable prospects.

If I were at the helm, I would make a move at Mike Santorelli. He is the bottom six player the Rangers need. He fits their budget as well as their identity of a fast team that rolls four lines effectively.

However, the Rangers have not gotten enough from their bottom six to beat the elite teams in the East. If the Rangers want to have similar success in the playoffs, they’ll need to have an effective third and fourth line.

I began watching the Rangers in 1990 when I was 9 years old. Soon after a lifelong friend of... More about Bob-O