The NHL Trade Deadline is set for April 12 and according to top insiders, the Blueshirts are being labeled as “neutral” heading towards it. That’s due in large part to the Rangers middle of the road position in the standings as of this morning.
They currently sit sixth in the East Division, 3 points behind the Flyers and 6 behind the Bruins for the last playoff spot. There’s still plenty of games to be played to determine just how they may tackle this trade deadline but the focus for this team remains to be a blockbuster move for a center this summer.
NHL Insiders provide perspective to Rangers trade deadline approach
TSN’s Frank Seravalli’s latest feature highlights which teams are buyers and sellers heading to the trade deadline. When it comes to the Rangers he categorizes them as a “Neutral Deadline Team” with the likes of Montreal, Minnesota, L.A., Chicago, Dallas, Florida, and Minnesota.
Matter of fact, the only Ranger on his trade bait list is Tony DeAngelo who debuted at #3 when the list came out on March 1st. As of this morning, DeAngelo is last on the list at 25. This goes back to what I’ve been writing about for awhile now. Jeff Gorton likely finds more value in exposing DeAngelo to Seattle in the expansion draft and then buying him out for 1/3 the contract cost this summer.
Semi-retired insider, Bob McKenzie was on last night’s NBCSN broadcast and described the Rangers approach to the deadline. “Jeff Gorton is going to be looking for hockey deals,” he explained. At this point he doesn’t see the Rangers as buyers this season and they don’t have much to sell.
The consensus belief around the team is that players like Brendan Smith, Kevin Rooney, and Colin Blackwell may have some value around the league. Collecting mid-level picks for any of them would be good asset management.
Vitali Kravtsov is essentially a trade deadline add
McKenzie wisely pointed out that the Rangers will in essence be making a deadline add with Vitali Kravtsov. Once his quarantine is completed, sometime next week the Blueshirts will be bolstering their lineup.
The 9th overall selection in 2018 had a strong season in the KHL where his work ethic and defense was praised. He finished the season with 16 goals and 24 points in 49 games. In the playoffs he kept up his strong play with two goals and four points in Traktor’s 5 game elimination. He finishes his KHL career with 18 points in 31 playoff games. The Rangers hope he brings his post season play to Broadway.
Kravtsov joining the lineup sometime next week could help Jeff Gorton with some decisions at the deadline and in the offseason. If Kravtsov exceeds expectations, it will make players like Colin Blackwell and quite possibly Julien Gauthier easier to move. Keep in mind, everything has to viewed with a focus on the expansion draft and who you will protect and need to expose. Gorton also needs to know which RW he should include in any deal for Jack Eichel should that present itself in the summer.
As we head to the offseason, Gorton will likely need to expose players like Gauthier, Brett Howden and maybe even Brendan Lemieux. So it would make sense, to move a player that could be lost to Seattle if indeed the Rangers are in a playoff hunt and may like to add a rental.
Check out the latest NHL Trade Bait Tracker
The list grows daily! Find out which players are rumored to be on the move, what teams are interested, and more.