Updated Rangers trade board 3 days before NHL deadline

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The end is in sight and by Friday at 3 p.m. ET the New York Rangers will have their roster set for the stretch run and Stanley Cup Playoffs. But with no trades completed yet, the Rangers still have work to do before the deadline comes and goes on March 8.

The plan remains clear. The Rangers desire a top-line right wing to help get Mika Zibanejad going at 5-on-5. They also wish to upgrade at third-line center, filling the void left by Filip Chytil’s season-ending upper-body injury believed to be a concussion.

And don’t rule out the Blueshirts trying to acquire a third-pair defenseman, or at least a depth blue-liner.

So, that’s some heavy lifting for general manager Chris Drury in the coming days. And that’s without factoring in Drury doesn’t want to mess with solid team chemistry.

That said, let’s see what the Blueshirts trade board looks like at this point.

Related: Projecting moves Rangers will make before trade deadline

Updated Rangers trade board 3 days before NHL deadline

NHL: New York Islanders at Washington Capitals
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

10. – Kevin Labanc – F – San Jose Sharks

Previous: NR

OK, this would not be a popular move. Let’s start with that. Labanc has been scratched the past six games by the second-worst team in the League. He has only two goals in 37 games and is a minus-21. But the 28-year-old is a New York kid who’s been solid in even-strength point production throughout his career and could absolutely benefit from a change in scenery. San Jose would have to eat half his salary, but even with that, it would not cost the Rangers much to land Labanc. However, this is more of a last-resort option if better ones don’t bear fruit.

9. Yakov Trenin – C – Nashville Predators

Previous: NR

Trenin plays a heavy game, perfectly suited for the postseason. He’s not going to help the bottom six generate more offense but he’d be a solid add for his defensive smarts and physical play. He did score 17 goals two seasons ago, but has 10 this season, which is less of an outlier. The Rangers have scouted him and he’d be an affordable 3C option.

UPDATE: Trenin was traded to Colorado Avalanche on March 7.

8. Kyle Okposo – RW – Buffalo Sabres

Previous: NR

Okposo has recently been linked to the Rangers. At this stage of his career, the Sabres captain seems better suited to a third-line role than top-minutes on the ZIbanejad line. But Okposo is a pro’s pro, a solid two-way wing, who has 12 goals this season and had 21 two seasons ago. Okposo wouldn’t cost much to acquire, but the Rangers likely seek a more dynamic option on the wing.

7. Jordan Eberle – RW – Seattle Kraken

Previous: No. 3

Eberle fell quite a few spots in the latest Rangers trade board because rumors continue to swirl that he’s not on the trade block and could be a candidate for a contract extension. However, he remains an intriguing option if the Kraken do seek offers for the pending UFA. Eberle is sitting on 296 career goals and produces both 5V5 and on the power play, making him a good fit with New York.

6. Joel Edmundson – D – Washington Capitals

Previous: No. 9

Edmundson would be an excellent fit on the Rangers third defense pairing, providing defensive stability that Erik Gustafsson cannot. The 30-year-old is the best left-shot defenseman who’s also a rental on the market, steady and reliable and with a winning pedigree. He won the Stanley Cup in 2019 and played in another Cup Final, and said recently he’s hungry to play for a true contender again. It might cost too much to land Edmundson, though, since there will be many teams in on him.

UPDATE: Edmundson was traded to Toronto Maple Leafs on March 7.

5. Tyler Johnson – F – Chicago Blackhawks

Previous: No. 6

Johnson is pointless in his past four games after the 35-year-old had five points (three goals, two assists) in his previous six. But he’s an intriguing option. Johnson has value as the 3C and can also play wing, so the versatility in a long playoff run is worth keeping in mind. He’s also played 116 Stanley Cup Playoff games and is a two-time Cup winner. Haven’t heard his name pop up too often in regards to the Rangers, but he could be a real under-the-radar pick up.

4. Anthony Duclair – RW – San Jose Sharks

Previous: No. 7

The Duke gets a fairly significant bump here and it’s just a feel that a reunion with him could be the second best option at right wing for the Rangers. He has scored 14 goals in 55 games on a bad team, but was a key contributor for the Florida Panthers in the 2023 postseason, which has to be intriguing to the Blueshirts. He’s a fast, shoot-first wing, who’s not just a power-play scorer. That’s key when considering he’d play with Zibanejad if brought back to New York.

UPDATE: Duclair was traded to Tampa Bay Lightning on March 7.

Related: Why Rangers must acquire top-line right wing to spark Mika Zibanejad

3. Adam Henrique – C – Anaheim Ducks

Previous: No. 2

Originally, Henrique was No. 1 on this list after the All-Star break. Then he dropped to No. 2 a week ago. Now, he’s been passed by fellow center Alex Wennberg. That doesn’t mean Henrique wouldn’t be a solid fit as New York’s 3C. But it’d cost more to acquire Henrique than Wenbberg and there’s more salary at play, too. If right wing wasn’t their most pressing need, Henrique might be worth it for the Rangers. But that’s not the case. So, he’s dropped back another spot here, though still worth taking a close look at. 

UPDATE: Henrique was traded to the Edmonton Oilers on March 6.

2. Alex Wennberg – C – Seattle Kraken

Previous: No. 8

Wennberg was held out of Seattle’s 4-2 win against the Calgary Flames on Monday for “trade-related issues.” Reportedly, the Kraken are evaluating offers from the Rangers, Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche, if not another team or two. The Rangers likely need a third team to make the money work, but they are solidly in on the 29-year-old two-way center, who’s a more affordable option than Henrique.

UPDATE: Wennberg was traded to the Rangers on March 6.

1. Frank Vatrano – RW – Anaheim Ducks

Previous: No. 1

This is the player that’s made the most sense for the Rangers all along, and it appears they are trying their best to push this deal over the goal line. Of course, the Ducks do not have to deal Vatrano, who has one more season after this one on his contract. So, they could revisit the trade market this summer or at next season’s deadline. But there’s no guarantee Vatrano will duplicate his career-high 29 goals (so far), which means his trade value might be the highest it’s ever going to be right now. It’s going to cost the Rangers to get him, but Vatrano already proved in 2022 that he’s an excellent fit alongside Zibanejad and Chris Kreider.

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

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