New York Rangers trade tiers as we hit 2023 holiday roster freeze

The New York Rangers and the rest of the league are about to hit the NHL Roster Freeze period for the holidays. From December 20th through the 28th, players can’t be traded or placed on waivers.

As the team continues to be a contender for the Presidents’ Trophy, it’s a good time to update the trade tiers for this season. Let’s take a look at how the roster players and some key prospects are ranked into three categories: Not Going Anywhere, Probable, and Trade Bait.

Note: Players on their Entry-Level contracts, and those that have trade protections are indicated in parentheses. Additionally, their contractual status at the end of the year is also indicated.

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New York Rangers trade tiers: Trade Bait

The Rangers list of players likely to be moved is minimal due to their cap situation and the number of no-move clauses in effect.

At this time, the list is small with Zac Jones standing out as the team’s best asset that I feel they’d be comfortable moving. With Erik Gustafsson cementing himself as Braden Schneider’s partner, should he receive a contract extension, it makes moving Jones even more likely.

Meanwhile, Tyler Pitlick is proving to be a valuable depth player for the Rangers this season, but his status as a UFA, along with Riley Nash in the AHL makes him expendable.

Probable for a trade

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This list below is comprised of players that Chris Drury may trade due to future cap considerations and some prospects that may be used at the NHL Trade Deadline set for March 8th, 2024.

The New York Rangers have been able to maintain success without Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko in the lineup. Both players remain on LTIR with no definitive date to return. While it’s unlikely that they are going to be traded, I struggle to put them in the Not Going Anywhere category. Should the right player be available at the deadline, it’s possible one of them could be on the move.

When it comes to my inclusion of the Rangers first-round selection in the 2024 Draft, it’s simply for the possibility that Drury could use that in order to get a team to eat the max of 50% of a player’s cap hit on a deal. Regardless, most high-end rentals, like possibly Steven Stamkos for example, will require you give up your first pick.

As for all the prospects on low-cost entry-level contracts, they’re probable sweeteners in either a cap-shaving deal or to outbid another contender for a player’s services.

Not Going Anywhere

This tier is pretty straight forward. These players are considered key pieces for this season and/or beyond. In some cases, the player’s contract has trade protection which automatically places them here.

I continue to keep the organization’s top prospects firmly in this bucket. Brennan Othmann, Will Cuylle, Adam Sykora, Dylan Garand, and now Gabe Perreault all have huge potential. Othmann looks like a top six-winger for the franchise in the near future. Meanwhile, Cuylle is already thriving in a bottom-six role this season. As for Sykora and Garand, they need more time to develop in the AHL. Lastly, Perreault has been amazing as a freshman in college and will represent the U.S. at the WJC starting on December 26th.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore