New York Rangers top trade pieces now includes Nils Lundkvist
The New York Rangers are no fluke. As Ryan Reaves said not too long ago, “standings don’t lie.” He made those comments on the same day he scored two big goals to beat the Maple Leafs.
New York followed that up with tough one against the Hurricanes and a stinker against the Blue Jackets. Additional doubt was cast with a close loss to the Wild, where they arguably tied the game with 1 second on the clock before having it waived-off.
Of course, the Rangers also had wins against the Coyotes, Kings, and Kraken sprinkled in there. Teams they should beat. But last night, they quieted doubters with a rock solid 5-2 win against the Florida Panthers, who are the best team in the NHL.
As the league is about to embark on the All-Star Break, the Rangers are 4th in the overall standings with 64 points (30-13-4).
New York Rangers will be buyers at the Trade Deadline
Over the last two months, the Blueshirts have been mentioned on TSN’s Insider Trading, Sportsnet’s 32 Thoughts, and The Daily Faceoff numerous times. Everything points GM Chris Drury being really active at the Trade Deadline on March 21.
“New York is in (the playoffs) and Chris Drury keeps quiet, but I could see them taking a surprise swing,” Friedman said about the team on a recent podcast.
“Chris Drury, the general manager for the New York Rangers, is looking for a middle-six forward, which isn’t a term we use often in hockey,” Darren Dreger said before Thanksgiving. “That can be a third-line player or someone who can punch into the top six.”
Rumblings I’ve heard say that Drury may be looking at adding more than just a rental forward, but possibly two-three pieces for a playoff run.
Everything from a top six forward, to a left handed defenseman, and even another backup goalie are on the wish-list.
Rangers trade bait now includes Nils Lundkvist
There are two obvious pieces in play at the NHL trade deadline for Drury.
- Their first round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft
- Vitali Kravtsov
At this time, that first round pick holds more value than Kravtsov, which is saying something. The 2018 first round pick (9th overall) is playing in the KHL and has limited interest to date. I believe a second round pick is the highest anyone has offered and that’s why Kravtsov remains in the organization.
However, a new trade piece is in play and vaulted up the team’s trade bait board.
Nils Lundkvist, another first round selection from the 2018 draft (28th overall) is up for grabs in the right deal. The 21 year-old had four points in 25 games this season before being sent down to the Hartford Wolf Pack.
He’s a little small, but makes an excellent outlet pass and has an elite level shot.
“We’re starting to get to know Nils,” Pack head coach Kris Knoblauch said. “He does possess those traits Jones has, perhaps not as dynamic. Nils is a threat because his shot is dangerous and we saw that on the power play.”
To be clear, the Rangers are not looking to simply trade Lundkvist for a rental. Drury is in no rush to move him either. However, he is in play for the right deal involving a player with term.
Example: Lundkvist would be a logical piece for a player like J.T. Miller, Conor Garland, or Jakob Chychrun to name a few.
Emergence of Schneider makes Lundkvist expendable
Lundkvist struggled adjusting at the NHL level coming out of training camp. Yes, he and Zac Jones were neck and neck for the last spot, but Nils being right-handed was likely the deciding factor.
Braden Schneider meanwhile was solid at camp but certainly didn’t standout. It was probably the best thing for his development as he received plenty of ice time with the Wolf Pack. When it was his turn for a call up, he simply did everything right.
“I like him a lot,” Gallant said after the win against Florida. “Character guy. Tough, hard, confident with the puck. I knew he was going to be a good player, and he hasn’t played many pro games but he’s done a real good job.”
Schneider has three points in 10 games and is averaging a healthy 16:49 of ice time. However, since Adam Fox went down with an injury, the 20 year-old is playing top four minutes and has been outstanding.
When Fox returns, Schneider is likely to remain with the team as the third pair RD for the remainder of the season.
The other issue for Lundkvist’s potential future with the Rangers is that Jacob Trouba still has four year left on his deal. Thus making Lundkvist the odd man out on defense and a huge asset to use at the deadline.
Nazem Kadri heading to free agency. Plus latest on Coyotes and Predators in today’s NHL Rumor mill. Read more.