New York Rangers trade tiers: Who could be on the move in 2022-23

new york rangers kaapo kakko
Nov 13, 2022; New York, New York, USA; Arizona Coyotes goaltender Connor Ingram (39) deflects the puck after a shot by New York Rangers right wing Kaapo Kakko (24) in the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are closing in on Thanksgiving in the U.S. and currently hold the last wild card spot with two games to go before Thursday.

Why is that significant? Well, teams that usually are in playoff position come Thanksgiving make the playoffs around 77% of the time. With games against the Kings and Ducks this week, the Rangers will be pushing hard to get those wins.

Another unwritten rule about Thanksgiving is it’s considered the first benchmark for general managers to assess their teams and prepare for possible trades.

For this article, I will rank the current roster and prospects into three categories: Untouchable, Probable, and Trade Bait.

This could very well change for Chris Drury from now until the NHL Trade Deadline for March 3, 2023. Let’s take a look at where players land.

New York Rangers trade tiers: Untouchables

The untouchables tier is pretty straight forward. These players are considered the foundation of the team this season, and many go well beyond that. In some cases, the player’s contract has trade protection.

This list has 8 players that have either a full no-move clause or a modified no-trade. They also happen to players the Rangers consider important for any run they make for a championship this season.

Also named here are young players like Alexis Lafreniere, K’Andre Miller, Ryan Lindgren, and Braden Schneider. All can be traded, but they’re the foundation for the future of the franchise.

Igor Shesterkin does not have trade protection, but his elite goaltending makes him untouchable. Finally, I have one prospect on this list and that’s Brennan Othmann. He’s got future first-line right wing written all over him.

Probable for a trade

new york rangers filip chytil
Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the salary cap jumping to possibly $88 million in 2024-25, it’s only expected to jump by $1 million next season to $83.5 at this time.

The Rangers are up against the cap, and that means they’ll eventually need to make some hard decisions regarding certain players.

This list below is comprised of some of those players that Chris Drury may move due to cap considerations (in italics) and some prospects to sweeten trade deadline deals.

This is usually the hardest and most intriguing tier to assemble. Most experts believe the Rangers may be looking to add a top scorer as a rental for a long postseason run. It will take at least one player from this list to get it done as well as multiple pieces from the next grouping.

Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko are the top assets on this list, but only if the deal is right.

The Rangers are also in need of cap space, which is why sparingly used Ryan Reaves and his $1.75M salary are listed.

Correction: Kakko was mistakenly listed as an RFA. He signed a 2-year deal this summer.

Trade Bait – Likely to be traded

new york rangers lineup vitali kravtsov
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers likely to be traded list is very small. It includes their own first round pick in 2023, and the one that the Dallas Stars gave them (w/conditions) in the Nils Lundkvist deal.

  • 2023 1st Round Pick (2)
  • Libor Hajek (RFA)
  • Vitali Kravtsov (RFA)

Defenseman Libor Hajek has been in this spot for two seasons and I should wisen up and take him off. However, he will be an RFA and has yet to be a mainstay in the lineup.

The most obvious moveable piece is winger Vitali Kravtsov. He’s the 9th overall pick in the 2018 draft and has tremendous upside. Alone, he won’t be enough to land a Patrick Kane, even with a first-round pick attached at the trade deadline. Plus for cap purposes, the Rangers will still need to move out about another $2 million in salary to accommodate Kane at 50% salary retention.

That’s why I mention either Chytil or Kakko as being a key piece in such a move.

NHL News and Rumors

NHL Recaps. All the latest scores here.

NHL Rumors: Erik Karlsson on trade talk? Read more.

NHL Rumors: Jonathan Toews trade talk. Read more.

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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