New York Rangers should monitor Golden Knights Reilly Smith at trade deadline

reilly smith
Jun 20, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Vegas Golden Knights right wing Reilly Smith (19) during the warm up session before the game four against Montreal Canadiens of the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinals at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers could very well be in a playoff spot or close to it when the NHL trade deadline rolls around on March 21, 2022. If they are going to be buyers, keeping an eye on the Vegas Golden Knights would be wise after their acquisition of Jack Eichel.

On Thursday morning, Vegas picked up Eichel and his $10 million cap hit. In exchange Buffalo received Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs, a first and third round picks. Eichel is heading for surgery and will be put on LTIR, but should be back by late February or early March.

When he returns Vegas will be pressed to make a trade for cap reasons to fit Eichel in.

Rangers should target Reilly Smith

“By our calculation Vegas currently has $5.765M available in their LTI Salary pool,” CapFriendly tweeted. “Tuch being in the trade doesn’t change that amount as he’d come off both the relief and usage amount. Krebs takes away another $863K but that still leaves Vegas shy of the $10M in space they need.”

Vegas is going to need to clear out salary in order to make this work and one player that could be moved is Reilly Smith. The 30 year-old is in the final year of his contract with a $5 million cap hit. He’s a perfect rental.

So why mention Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith? A long track record of success with head coach Gerard Gallant in both Florida and Vegas.

new york rangers rumors
Jan 7, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Vegas Golden Knights right wing Reilly Smith (19) and New York Rangers center Vinni Lettieri (95) reach for a loose puck during the first period of play at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

It’s early in the season, but the Rangers have not received consistent production on right wing. Smith could certainly provide Gallant with more depth down the stretch and in the playoffs with a player he knows and trusts.

In the offseason, Elliotte Friedman was also contemplating the Rangers looking at Smith.

“One of the reasons Reilly Smith’s name is all over the rumor mill is because Gerard Gallant loves him too,” Friedman noted. And why wouldn’t he make this connection after the Rangers traded for Ryan Reaves and then extended him for a season.

The 30 year-old notched 14 goals and 25 points in 53 games last season and has 4 points through 9 games in 2021-22. While his regular season numbers won’t WOW you, his playoff stats shows he can score when it counts. He has 65 points in 84 post season games. In Vegas’ Stanley Cup run in 2018 he notched 22 points in 20 games.

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