November 12, 2020

New York Rangers rumors have them sellers at the deadline already and making a blockbuster for Jack Eichel?

Zibanejad and Eichel battle (Getty Images)

The New York Rangers rebuild has been going better than most could have expected. That was also buoyed by winning the Draft Lottery in both 2019 and 2020. Alexis Lafreniere (#1, 2020) and Kaapo Kakko (#2, 2019) will be cornerstones of the franchise for years to come.

Of course, with all that youth in the lineup it would be unfair to think they are Stanley Cup contenders next season. Over at The Athletic, Rick Carpiniello is suggesting that the Rangers are likely to be sellers at the deadline.

Rangers likely to move veterans at deadline

In his article, Carp suggests the Rangers will likely try to move veteran defensemen on expiring contracts. Both Brendan Smith and Jack Johnson would likely garner some mild interest from teams looking for depth defense at the deadline.

This makes complete sense to me and it wouldn’t be a surprise if teams came knocking for those two. Another player mentioned is Phil Di Giuseppe but I doubt there will be much interest in him.

Mika Zibanejad for Jack Eichel?

new york rangers rumors
Eichel (Getty Images)

In the article, Carp went a little off the deep end. I will say this, the logic behind even mentioning a Jack Eichel trade is not far fetched. He rightfully calls it a “fantasy”, but does explain that Mika Zibanejad will likely command a new deal in the ~$10 million dollar range for 7 years himself. Ergo why he touched on the hypothetical.

The Jack Eichel fantasy could resurface, especially if Buffalo has another bad season. Yes, if he’s really available, the Rangers make a ton of sense as a landing spot based on his relationship with ex-B.U. coach David Quinn, and based on where Eichel would like to play, on a young, emerging team. And he’d certainly be a perfect center for this team as it gets ready to contend, with his size, skill and skating. But his $10 million annual contract (which has six more seasons to go) make it difficult to imagine the Rangers could afford him, particularly when the cap is flat, along with Panarin’s contract (six more seasons at $11.64 million per).

Rick Carpiniello

All and all, I simply don’t see it. It would take more than just Zibanejad to get Eichel who is younger and better. Plus, I really don’t see the Sabres ever trading their franchise star.

Trading DeAngelo and/or Buchnevich

Two other players mentioned are Tony DeAngelo (he is always mentioned), and Pavel Buchnevich who I touched on here yesterday. The logic that the Rangers have Nils Lundkvist in the pipeline and DeAngelo would return a haul is sound. Still, I don’t see them trading him at the deadline next season.

Same goes for Pavel Buchnevich whose contract will expire at the end of 20/21. His current contract comes with an AAV of $3.25 million and he will be looking for a raise.

What Jeff Gorton needs to decide is where he sees Vitali Kravtsov in this lineup. If the answer is in the top six, then Buchnevich becomes expendable and could be used as a trade chip at the deadline.

FWIW, thank you Carp for writing such a fun article to talk about.

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