Rangers get up close look at 2 NHL trade deadline sellers, but there’s a catch

NHL: New York Rangers at Montreal Canadiens
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

With the NHL trade deadline three weeks away, the New York Rangers get an up-close look at two sellers on the market this week when they host both the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens.

At first blush, that would appear to be excellent timing for the Rangers, who are most definitely buyers ahead of the deadline.

But a closer look reveals that there’s not much available on Calgary’s roster nor Montreal’s that fits New York’s needs.

Related: 2024 Rangers trade board

Flames, Canadiens not likely trade partners for Rangers after recent deals

NHL: New York Rangers at Montreal Canadiens
David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

At one point, several weeks ago, the Flames and Canadiens were serious options to swing a deal with Rangers. But when the Flames traded center Elias Lindholm to the Vancouver Canucks before the NHL All-Star break and the Canadiens shipped center Sean Monahan to the Winnipeg Jets two days later, that took a pair of key trade targets off the board.

The Rangers are interested in a middle-six center since Filip Chytil is out for the season with an upper-body injury. Either Lindholm or Monahan would have filled that need. 

Now New York has set its sights on the likes of Adam Henrique (Anaheim Ducks) among others to fill that 3C hole. And reunions with either Calgary’s Kevin Rooney or Montreal’s Lias Andersson obviously make zero sense for New York.

Neither the Flames nor Canadiens appear to have a fit at right wing for the Rangers either. Yegor Sharangovich would be an intriguing option for New York, but it’s unlikely Calgary will deal him. The 25-year-old is precisely the type player Calgary wants to build around. He’s scored 20 goals this season and the wing has a manageable $3.1 million salary cap hit through next season.

The Canadiens don’t have a right-wing option for the Rangers, logically assuming Joel Armia is not of interest for the Blueshirts. But the Rangers could have an eye on veteran defenseman David Savard.

The Blueshirts may be prioritizing upgrades at center and right wing, but don’t discount their interest in a third-pair defenseman. Savard is a Stanley Cup winner, making $3.5 million through next season. So, he’d be an investment and commitment beyond this season. But he’s also an intriguing option, who sits No. 14 on our 2024 Rangers trade board.

Calgary does have two top defensemen available ahead of the deadline. Chris Tanev is a right-hand shot and Noah Hanifin, who may re-sign with the Flames, is a left-hand shot. Each is a top-four defensemen, who’s not quite the right fit or price point for the Rangers.

Each team could trade a goalie before the deadline, too. Flames’ starter Jacob Markstrom is rumored to be on the block and the Canadiens are actively shopping veteran Jake Allen. Of course, the Rangers are set with Igor Shesterkin and Jonathan Quick between the pipes.

So, even though the Flames (25-22-5; three points out of second wild card in Western Conference) and Canadiens (21-23-8; 10 points out of second wild card in East) are sellers, their respective visits to The Garden this week shouldn’t stir as much trade speculation for the Rangers as once was expected.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny