New York Rangers stick to plan and make no trades at deadline

By Anthony Scultore
Mar 4, 2021; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Brendan Smith (42) celebrates his goal during the third period of their game against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL Trade deadline has passed and as expected nothing materialized that would take the Rangers off course. “We made a number of calls, took a number of calls, went through a number of scenarios, and it’s clear we have a plan in place.,” General Manager Jeff Gorton said today. “Nothing that came along was going to add to what we wanted to do and was something we felt was going to help us, short term or long term.”

Trade Deadline passes with no moves for Rangers

While the Rangers have played some great hockey going 9-4-3 in their last 16 games; they were not going to sacrifice youth or draft picks for rentals. That was made absolutely crystal clear to me on Saturday after speaking to a knowledgable source.

new york rangers trade rumors
Mar 9, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Brendan Smith (42) takes the ice to warm up against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

I also walked away from the conversation that they wouldn’t be trading away their only full time roster pending UFA in Brendan Smith. The veteran has done a great job of being a steady presence for young Libor Hajek on the the third defense pairing. Now with Zac Jones expected to come in, Smith can help the prized prospect settle in as well.

As far as the plan, the Rangers have been clear they won’t take any shortcuts. Their plans were made clear to me back in February. I’ve written about it several times already, but a well placed sources pointed me to the very fact all these prospects they’ve amassed won’t play here. Coupled with the tremendous amount of cap space they will have next season, a blockbuster trade becomes a real possibility.

There are plenty of other options for the Rangers to bring in a top center should Jack Eichel not be available. As I mentioned before, Evgeni Malkin could be a nice upgrade and not cost what Eichel would. Malkin has one more year left on his contract that comes with a $9.5 million AAV. There’s been plenty of talk about his future with the Penguins lately, and he could be had a reasonable price in the offseason.

When you look at other top centers that could be on the market due to cap issues, the Lightning’s Steven Stamkos is another. The 31 year-old has 3 years remaining on his deal with an $8.5 million AAV. This is a case where the package decreases the less Tampa’s willing to retain in salary.

Other options could be Aleksander Barkov, Evgeni Kuznetsov, and maybe Sidney Crosby.

Tony DeAngelo going to be bought out

Jeff Gorton was asked about Tony DeAngelo to which he said, “Yeah I’ve had some conversations with some teams about Tony, but nothing really every materialized, and nothing lately. So that will be a summer issue we’ll deal with.”

There was some thought that a team may trade for DeAngelo in order to expose him and protect other players to Seattle. Earlier today Renaud Lavoie noted that DeAngelo would not be traded and will be bought out this summer.

New York will expose him to Seattle and then buy him out for a nominal amount. DeAngelo makes $4.5 million this season and next but would be a 1/3 buyout because he’s 25 years-old. That would only be a cap charge of $383,333 in 2021-22 and $833,333 in 2022-23.

Other notes:

  • Gorton expects to call up Morgan Barron this season.
  • Nils Lundqvist expected to sign ELC for next season.
  • Won’t discuss Zac Jones until “he signs”.