New York Rangers Trade Tiers heading into 2023 NHL Draft

NHL: Florida Panthers at New York Rangers
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The New York Rangers currently enter the 2023 NHL Draft with five selections starting with 23rd overall in the first round. That is the case unless GM Chris Drury pulls off any trades today or on the floor of Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee tonight.

It’s been an interesting offseason thus far with the dismissal of Gerard Gallant and the hiring of new head coach Peter Laviolette. In my opinion, this was the Rangers’ big summer move thanks to limited cap space (under $12 million) and a number of contracts with full no-move clauses (NMC) in 2023-24.

If past is prologue, I suspect Drury will once again let his trade deadline acquisitions walk in order to use what precious cap space he has on restricted free agents (RFA) K’Andre Miller and Alexis Lafreniere. It’s fully expected that unrestricted free agents (UFA) Patrick Kane, Vladimir Tarasenko, Niko Mikkola, and Tyler Motte will hit the open market on July 1. Backup UFA goalie Jaroslav Halak has had conversations regarding an extension, but it’s possible he tests free agency too.

Let’s take a look at the Rangers trade tiers ranked into three categories: Not Going Anywhere, Probable, and Trade Bait.

Note: UFA’s will not be ranked.


New York Rangers trade tiers: Not Going Anywhere

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

Since the last time we published this list, very little has changed except for adding K’Andre Miller, Zac Jones, and Bryce McConnell-Barker in this category.

Per multiple reports, the offseason mandate for the Blueshirts is to sign Miller to a new contract. While they’re limited on what they can offer, a lot of what happens this summer may hinge on Miller’s deal.

As for Jones, the moment he extended for two-years bumped him up to this tier. The Rangers need low-cost talented players and his AAV of $812,500 is a fit. Meanwhile, McConnell-Barker’s strong season in juniors and the fact that he’s a promising center makes him someone the Rangers need to keep.

Now the last time this list went out, people immediately laughed at Ben Harpur and Jimmy Vesey classified as untouchable. Ergo why I’ve changed the tier to read: Not Going Anywhere. Both those players remain here because their contracts are $800,000 or less and I’ve explained ad nauseam that the Blueshirts have cap issues.

Finally, I continue to keep the organization’s top prospects firmly in this bucket. Brennan Othmann, Will Cuylle, Adam Sykora, and Dylan Garand all have huge potential. Othmann looks like a future top six-winger for the franchise in the near future. Meanwhile, Cuylle should be ready for a bottom-six role next season. Sykora and Garand need more time to develop in the AHL.

Probable for a trade

NHL: New York Rangers at Boston Bruins
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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 to move up in the 2023 NHL Draft.

  • 2023 First-Round Pick (23rd Overall)
  • Adam Edstrom (ELC)
  • Alexis Lafrenière (RFA)
  • Bobby Trivigno (ELC)
  • Brett Berard (ELC)
  • Jake Leschyshyn
  • Karl Henriksson (ELC)
  • Matthew Rempe (ELC)
  • Matthew Robertson (ELC)
  • Olof Lindbom (ELC)
  • Ryder Korczak (ELC)
  • Talyn Boyko (ELC)

Alexis Lafreniere is most likely going to re-sign with the Rangers. So why is here you ask? Well, there’s always the possibility that negotiations go bad and the Vancouver Canucks apparently want to trade for him. The threat of an offer-sheet is low, but can’t be ignored for either Laffy or Miller.

When it comes to my inclusion of the Rangers only first-round selection in the 2023 Draft, it’s simply for the possibility that Drury could use that in a package to move up to make a pick. There’s no chance that the Rangers deal that pick for a player or prospect.

As for all the prospects on low-cost entry-level contracts, they’re probable sweeteners in an either a cap-shaving deal or to get additional picks in this deep draft. The Rangers do not have any selections in the second, fourth, and seventh rounds tonight.

Here are Rangers current selections:

  • 1st Round – 23rd Overall
  • 3rd Round – 91st Overall
  • 5th Round – 152nd Overall
  • 6th Round – 178th Overall
  • 6th Round – 183rd Overall

Trade Bait – Likely to be traded

barclay goodrow
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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.

There’s no performance reason to trade Goodrow. He’s more of what the Rangers need and not less. Unfortunately, the versatile forward has four years remaining on a deal with an AAV of $3.6 million and only a modified no-trade clause. That places him firmly in this category, especially if Miller gets a deal north of $3 million per season.

If for some reason the Rangers can’t find a taker, Goodrow could be a buyout candidate come June 30th (first window closes). Per CapFriendly, the savings would be $3.841M (2023-24), $3.7M (2024-25), and $2.491M (2025-26) over the next three years. By the time the penalty kicks in, the salary cap will be well over $90 million to make it an afterthought.

When it comes to defenseman Libor Hajek, at some point this saga has to end. He’s been unable to crack the Rangers lineup after coming over from Tampa in the blockbuster Ryan McDonagh deal in 2018. The Rangers may even opt to not qualify him and let Hajek become a UFA on July 1. Should they qualify him, a trade is very possible.

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

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