New York Rangers will be active at the trade deadline
Patience is a virtue. The Rangers patience about trading assets like Alexander Georgiev, Chris Kreider, and Lias Andersson should not be taken as an unwillingness to make a move. Yet, that seems to be the takeaway from some top hockey insiders like Elliotte Friedman and Pierre LeBrun. Both of them have either on TV, radio, or print have discussed the Rangers at the deadline with a giant “IF”.
If they are still in the playoff hunt, if they want to trade Georgiev, if they want to trade Kreider so on and so forth. I mean, what do you expect Jeff Gorton to say? “Hell yeah we are trading those guys no matter what!” isn’t going to raise their value. Bottom line, Jeff Gorton is going to play this like he does everything else, tight lipped and close to the vest.
John Davidson knows where the Rangers are this season. They are at the crossroads of their rebuild with a commitment to stay the course. That means continuing to develop the talent they have and retool this lineup with those players. We are seeing it now with the promotion of Igor Shesterkin and the ice time given to Kaapo Kakko. Eventually, Vitali Kravtsov is going to play this season on Broadway, as this team gets younger and better.
Waiting in the wings are also two surefire blue liners in Nils Lundkvist and K’Andre Miller. That means Davidson and GM Jeff Gorton have to make room for them and ensure the best lineup heading into next season. It’s important because not making the playoffs could have job ramifications for David Quinn in 2021.
A Crucial Trade Deadline
There’s two players the Rangers have to move at the deadline, Chris Kreider and Alex Georgiev. It’s not because they aren’t valuable but exactly because they are. Here’s the problem with Kreider, his next contract will be in the neighborhood of 7 years and $7M, and while it would be fine for next season, it will be an albatross by year 3, if not 2. Gorton needs that money to pay the future of this franchise in Adam Fox, Tony DeAngelo, Kravtsov and Kakko soon.
As for Georgiev, he is simply the odd man out in a three goalie situation that boasts a Hall of Famer in Henrik Lundqvist and his heir, Igor Shesterkin. The Rangers could get a 1st rounder plus for Kreider, and possibly Kasperi Kapanen and a 2nd for Georgiev. It’s just good asset management.
Another possible Ranger who they may consider moving is UFA, Jesper Fast. In LeBrun’s latest he mentions that the Rangers have not spoken to neither Kreider’s or Fast’s agents about a new deal. However, the Rangers could easily sign Fast to a nice low cost extension this summer.
Need for Centers
While it sounds like I am telling you the Rangers should be sellers, I am not. The fall out from Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil’s inconsistencies at center shows Gorton should look to add another center to the organization.
First things first, they need to lock up Ryan Strome who will be an RFA this summer to at least a 2 year deal. He has locked up the 2C spot and earned it for next season already. Chytil could be better suited on the wing and Howden should be the 4th line center regardless of his solid play on the wing lately. And as far as RFA’s Tony DeAngelo and Brendan Lemieux they aren’t going anywhere and the Rangers aren’t giving up on Pavel Buchnevich either. So how can the Rangers be buyers at the deadline too?
The Rangers have a moveable asset in Brady Skjei with a cost controlled contract to 2024. They could use him, along with the likes of Lias Andersson to try and add an NHL center to this lineup. Of course, if Skjei is involved in any trade the Rangers need to extract maximum value and a possible 1st round pick to boot. There is no rush to move him and could wait until the draft of they think Nils Lundkvist or K’Andre Miller are ready next season.
Davidson and Gorton in the driver’s seat
This article is just scraping the surface here. The bottom line is that the Blueshirts are in total control at the deadline and can both buyers and sellers. Simply put, the Rangers are going to be players at this year’s NHL trade deadline.