New York Rangers trade deadline outlook, post Vladimir Tarasenko deal
The New York Rangers already made their big move by solving two issues with one trade.
On February 9th, GM Chris Drury shipped a conditional first-round pick (2023), a conditional fourth-round pick (2024), forward Sammy Blais, and prospect defenseman Hunter Skinner to the St. Louis Blues for forward Vladimir Tarasenko (50% salary retained) and defenseman Niko Mikkola.
By doing so, the Rangers filled a huge need for a top-six right wing and upgrade on the third-pair left defense spot.
“It’s something we’ve been looking at for a while,” Drury said. “It gives the two new players a little more time to acclimate to our group, so excited to do it now and get them in the lineup.”
Now that the move is done, the Rangers are still expected to upgrade their fourth line. The NHL Trade Deadline in March 3, so there’s no rush to make a deal. Let’s take a look at the team’s current options.
New York Rangers trade deadline outlook
Before diving in, here’s the lay of Rangers-land.
|Current Cap Space||$1.15M|
|Deadline Cap Space||$1.6M|
Based off CapFriendly, the Rangers can easily make a deal for a player making anywhere between $750K to $1.5M without trading someone from the roster.
They can also take on more salary depending on other moves such as trading Vitali Kravtsov, who makes $875K. If he’s dealt, whether in the same trade or a separate one, the Rangers can take up to $2.5M in salary.
- Vitali Kravtsov, forward (pending RFA)
- Zac Jones, defenseman (pending RFA)
- 2023 Draft Picks
- sixth-round (2)
Realistic Trade Targets:
Nick Bjugstad, Arizona Coyotes: The 30 year-old center is big at 6-6′ and 210 pounds. He’s recorded 23 points in 54 games this season and only has a $900K cap hit. The Rangers don’t need to have the Yotes retain salary to make this move and it shouldn’t cost more than a third-round pick for the pending UFA. It’s also worth noting that he played for Gallant in Florida.
Nick Ritchie, Arizona Coyotes: This 27 year-old winger plays that nasty style you need in the playoffs. This season, he’s notched 21 points in 51 games but has a decent cap hit of $2.5M. Drury would need to ask the Yotes to retain salary on the pending UFA to make this one work.
Sam Lafferty, Chicago Blackhawks: The Rangers are going to be up against the cap next season, and they may want to look at low-cost players with term. Enter Lafferty, who has one year left at $1.15M AAV. The 27 year-old forward can play center and has 19 points in 45 games for the rebuilding Hawks.
Noel Acciari, St. Louis Blues: The 31 year-old center is having a decent year in the face-off circle at 54.3%. He could certainly add to the Rangers’ depth and the pending UFA only has a $1.25M cap hit. Acciari has 18 points in 52 games this season.
What a potential deal looks like:
The Rangers for the most part have the cap space and assets to add any one of these players. Aside from Lafferty, we are talking fourth-line rentals that shouldn’t cost the team more than a third-round pick.
With Kravtsov wanting to be moved he could be included in one of these deals. That being said, the acquiring team would likely be sending back a mid-round pick along with the rental in such a trade.
One more big swing?
When the Rangers made their big trade last week, Patrick Kane openly expressed his disappointment.
“It’s not like the happiest I’ve been to hear about a trade,” Kane said Friday via Mark Lazerus. “If things are going to happen, that was a team I was definitely looking at. It seems like they kind of filled their void and went ahead and made a deal.”
So what if Kane, who has a full no-move clause, only wants to go to the Rangers? Is there a path to acquire him? The answer is yet, but it’s complex.
In speaking with PuckPedia, if the Rangers were to send down Julien Gauthier or trade Vitali Kravtsov for a draft pick soon, they could have about $2.7 million in space for March 3.
They would then need the Hawks to eat 50% of Kane’s cap hit, plus get a third team to eat another 50% to drive down AAV from $10.5M to $2.625M.
It’s crazy and highly unlikely, but cap-wise actually possible. I mean, can you imagine this lineup for the playoffs:
- Kreider – Zibanejad – Tarasenko
- Panarin – Trocheck – Kane
- Lafreniere – Chytil – Kakko
- Vesey – Goodrow – Gauthier
Of course, that definitely means the Rangers will be trading their other first-round pick in 2023 and much more to get this deal done. That being said, if the Rangers trade Kravtsov to the Blackhawks for future considerations this week, well then the game is on.
Kane, 34, has 35 points in 48 games this season on a really bad Blackhawks teams.
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