How should the New York Rangers approach the trade deadline

The NHL Trade Deadline is seven weeks away and the New York Rangers hot play has them as buyers come March 3, 2023. While there’s 19 games to be played for the Blueshirts between today and that date, it’s always smart to plan ahead.

Last season, GM Chris Drury made a handful of small to medium size moves to acquire Andrew Copp, Frank Vatrano, Tyler Motte, and Justin Braun. Those players filled holes and helped the team depth that led to an Eastern Conference Final run.

This year, many believe the Rangers will swing for the fences and bring in a legit top six forward for a shot at the Stanley Cup.

Let’s take a look at what the Rangers may do this time around.

New York Rangers trade deadline approach

patrick kane rangers
Dec 4, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) controls the puck in the the third period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Blueshirts are likely to have around $6M to $7M in projected cap space by March 3. If they choose go for the gusto and trade for Patrick Kane, most of that space would be used up and limit them to maybe one more small move.

Kane, 34, has a cap hit of $10.5M and would require the Chicago Blackhawks to retain 50% for almost any contender to make a deal for him. The Rangers are at an advantage here because some other contenders would need to involve a third party to facilitate a trade.

Drury can take on more in salary if he trades current roster players as well. You can look at Sammy Blais ($1.5M), Vitali Kravtsov ($875K), Julien Gauthier ($800K), and Libor Hajek ($800K) as options.

Another thing that still needs to be determined is what route the second-year general manager will take. According to Arthur Staple, he believes that remains to be seen.

The Patrick Kane-Rangers trade possibility still exists and will until he’s either traded or decides to stay in Chicago. But the Rangers have bounced back from a mediocre first 25 games to put themselves in strong playoff position, so general manager Chris Drury may decide depth additions at forward and on defense may be the best course of action at the deadline rather than a home-run swing.

Arthur Staple, The Athletic (subscription required)

My assessment is that Drury will definitely look for a top six right wing and depth on defense and the bottom six.

Breaking down Rangers trade options

According to NHL Insider Frank Seravalli of The Daily Faceoff, he lists the following options for the Blueshirts:

  • Patrick Kane, F
  • Brock Boeser, F
  • James van Riemsdyk, F
  • Vladislav Gavrikov, D

When it comes to trade pieces, he rightfully mentions the Rangers two first-round draft picks in 2023 and Zac Jones. One asset I don’t believe is remotely available would be 2021 first round selection Brennan Othmann.

A quick analysis on those names posed by Seravalli has me ruling out Boeser immediately because he’s not a rental. The 25 year-old Canucks forward has two more years on his contract at $6.65M and does not fit the Rangers long term picture unless they’re trading a players like Filip Chytil or Alexis Lafreniere. Maybe if Vancouver would be willing to retain a decent amount of salary for two years, I might consider it.

The most intriguing name on the list is van Riemsdyk, who has the type of game that translates well in the playoffs. This season, the 33 year-old has been limited by injury but with a $7M cap hit, he may be a nice plan B if the Rangers miss out on Kane.

If the Rangers want to add some depth on the blue line, Blue Jackets defender Vladislav Gavrikov looks like a solid fit. The 27 year-old lefty has an affordable cap hit of $2.8M and an upgrade over Ben Harpur.

Although a cheaper rental option on defense is also out there in Dmitry Kulikov of the Anaheim Ducks. The 32 year-old makes a little less than Gavrikov at $2.25M and could probably be had for a third-round pick.

Is Vladmir Tarasenko the best option?

vladimir tarasenko new york rangers
Dec 5, 2022; New York, New York, USA; St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) celebrates after his goal against the New York Rangers during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

In a recent interview with NHL Network Analyst Mike Rupp with Forever Blueshirts, he really thinks that Vladimir Tarasenko may make the most sense.

Tarasenko, 31, is in the final year of his deal with an AAV of $7.5 million. This season, he’s posted 29 points in 34 games for the Blues and still has an open trade request that became public two summers ago.

The winger is currently on LTIR with a hand issue and is expected to miss at least four weeks. Which means, there should be no impact to his availability come the trade deadline.

One thing to make clear on Tarasenko, is he has a full no-move clause and reportedly was willing to waive it for only a handful of teams that included the New York Rangers. That should help Drury in what should be a very reasonable package that will include at least a first-round pick.

If Drury can get the Blues to retain 50% of his cap hit, it will allow the Rangers to go after a defenseman. Better yet, it could even lead to the fruition of some rumblings I’ve heard of a reunion with Tyler Motte.

Early Trade Deadline Prediction:

  • Rangers acquire Vladimir Tarasenko (50% retained) for a first-round pick and Vitali Kravtsov
  • Rangers acquire Dmitry Kulikov for a third and seventh-round pick
  • Rangers acquire Tyler Motte for a Julien Gauthier and a sixth-round pick

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