New York Rangers rumors: A center is needed; trading Kravtsov; and Georgiev expendable

The New York Rangers issue at center has reared its ugly head in the early going of this season.

Ryan Strome is on COVID protocol which has forced Filip Chytil into a second line center role he doesn’t appear ready to handle. The 22 year-old center has 0 points through four games and is a -2. Stepping in an increased role with Artemi Panarin as his winger has not produced the expected results, despite playing almost five minutes more per game in his last two.

To compound the issue, Chytil won a woeful 25% of the draws he took against the Maple Leafs. There’s no doubt the Rangers need to bolster their center depth.

Rangers need another center

The loss of Kaapo Kakko to IR and Vitali Kravtsov self exodus to Russia has also hurt the Rangers depth on the wing. Which has elevated Barclay Goodrow to the second line, although I’m not sure Gerard Gallant wants to use him in the middle anyway.

Calling up Greg McKegg before Morgan Barron probably tells you all you need to know about the Rangers terrible situation at center.

So what can they do to bring in an able bodied center for additional depth? That leads me to two players the Rangers have that they could move in order to bring in one.

Alexandar Georgiev and Vitali Kravtsov.

Vitali Kravtsov waiting for a trade

Here’s what we know. There is a great deal of either mistrust and/or dislike between the two parties. While Kravtsov didn’t handle his first demotion well, likely because his contract had the option for a European out clause, he still came back and was a model citizen in 2019.

So why is he so quick to want out? Last time, it was Jeff Gorton and John Davidson able to bring him back. They are no longer here, but the GM of the Wolf Pack at that time and now current Rangers President and GM is here, Chris Drury. There’s obviously a major disconnect between them.

nhl rumors
Apr 20, 2021; Uniondale, New York, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) and New York Rangers right wing Vitali Kravtsov (74) fight for the puck during the second period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s face it, Kravtsov told his agent to make public that he’s willing to report to the AHL, as long it’s for another NHL team.

The Rangers are asking for top 9 talent back in exchange. Straight up they would get no better than a second round pick, if they wait. However, if you were to include Libor Hajek or Julien Gauthier in the trade trade maybe you would get a player back.

Recently, Larry Brooks mentioned former Vegas, now Nashville struggling center Cody Glass. There could be something there.

Glass, 22, was the 6th overall pick in the 2017 Draft and has had a hard time cracking an NHL lineup. Maybe the Rangers could make a deal to obtain him. Even if he only plays a few games this season, it will be worth it for reinforcing the middle.

Alexandar Georgiev is expendable

This is Igor Shesterkin’s team. Make no mistake about it.

The Rangers don’t need a backup that makes over $2 million on the cap and is heading to a bigger payday as an RFA this summer. While many teams were not running to get a goalie to start the season, some injuries have started to hit with more to inevitably happen.

Of course, there’s other options like the Colorado Avalanche, who may have concerns with the injury prone Pavel Francouz. Maybe an exchange of Georgiev and Libor Hakej for Nazem Kadri?

There is also Ryan Strome’s brother Dylan languishing with the Blackhawks. They have Marc-Andre Fleury for this season, but he may retire after it’s over. A trade here makes sense.

Both Kadri and Strome are centers…maybe it’s time to make a move and have Keith Kinkaid play backup until another goalie can be found.

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